BROOKLYN, NEW YORK DISC JOCKEY & ENTREPRENEUR
VALIDATED: Where are you from and what's the story behind your dj name?
DJ AUTHORIZE: My name is LaQuan N. Castro, better known as your dj's favorite dj, DJ Authorize. I was born and raised in Brooklyn, NY and still reside in Brooklyn. The name DJ Authorize came about while playing in my hometowns basketball pro-league. I took a shot during an intense game and the emcee asked who authorized me to take that shot. From that moment I knew that when opportunities present themselves I need to be able to make them and put my heart and soul into it. And then be able to show the world that I can conquer anything.
VALIDATED: Growing up, what kind of music was played in your household and how has it influenced your ear for music?
DJ AUTHORIZE: Growing up as a kid there was only church music playing, no hip-hop. Mom dukes didn't play that all. But I did love the sound of the drums so I started playing them since I was 12. But like most kids in the 90's I used to sneak Biggies "Ready 2 Die" tapes into the house. Lol
VALIDATED: Which dj's influenced your style of dj'ing? What, if anything did you borrow from them?
DJ AUTHORIZE: Actually, no one influenced me as a dj because I was a die hard basketball player that happened to have an ear and a love of music. As I started to take this craft more seriously I studied Dj Clark Kent, Jazzy Jeff, Jam Master Jay and Kool Herc to try to fully understand what being a dj truly meant.
VALIDATED: What's your earliest memory of hip-hop, the culture?
DJ AUTHORIZE: My earliest memory was in the Bronx on Valentines Avenue, I was 5 and on my way walking to the store I heard Mona Lisa and that was my "I fell in love with hip hop!" moment.
VALIDATED: How do you gauge a hit record?
DJ AUTHORIZE: Usually, I can tell in the first 30 seconds when listening to a song if its a hit record by the intro, beat, word play, etc. Of course there are other measures like by how many times people request it, club play, radio play, streams, crowd reactions, etc.
VALIDATED: What was the first piece of dj equipment you purchased... first record?
DJ AUTHORIZE: My first piece of dj equipment was a Hercules controller, and of course the first record I bought was Biggie, "Ready 2 Die". And as I'm recalling this I am laughing because I can remember the first mix tape I made was trash! Lol I'm glad that that is in the past.
VALIDATED: Describe your first dj'ing gig.
DJ AUTHORIZE: My first gig was at a basketball tournament with Funsport Ricky River in Brooklyn. I wasn't nervous because I'm used to the crowds and attention because I played ball. However, no-one could believe that they would see me at a basketball tournament as a dj and not as a player and they were definitely shocked. I'm proud of myself actually because there were no mistakes, I knew to have the right sound effects, instrumentals, etc.
VALIDATED: How do you feel dj'ing has changed most due to technology? Is there a lack of skill with "push button" djs verses the "crates era" djs?
DJ AUTHORIZE: I think todays technology has most everyone believing they are a dj because all the guesswork is figured out, there is no thought to what to play and how to mix it. And of course if you try to put turntables in front of newer dj's they will be clueless. But hey, as long you can rock the crowd then who cares what they use at this point. It is not about the technology used but making sure that when the people leave your party they are happy, smiling, and asking when the next one is.
VALIDATED: Who's the better dj, the "crates era" dj or the "push button" dj? Why?
DJ AUTHORIZE: I will always say the "crates era" because thats where it originated from. To be a dj you had to actually study. A dj had to know every second of every record to know when to blend it and how to blend it. And having to physically purchase and then carry their records to parties I think made them appreciate the art form even more.
VALIDATED: Please explain the dj's role in hip hop and the importance of that role.
DJ AUTHORIZE: Being a dj is huge in hip-hop because we are the ones who in most cases can break a record. We are the connector between the artist and the listeners and if we are really feeling a song and play it often we have a way of convincing our listeners to love a song like we do. Also, people connect with music on deep emotional levels and when the dj spins and connects with their audience it makes for great memories for everyone. A lot of people remember the great parties they have been to and who the dj was.
VALIDATED: How is it dj'ing at the Barclays Center for the Brooklyn Nets?
DJ AUTHORIZE: It is an amazing experience to be able to dj for my hometown and for a team I enjoy watching. At one point I did want to play for them but God has different plans for me and I'm enjoying the journey thus far. It's also fun being able to entertain, and meet celebrities of course.
VALIDATED: What has been your biggest moment as dj?
DJ AUTHORIZE: Has to be opening up for DJ Khaled at the FootLocker on 34th street for his private Jordan Brand sneaker event. I don't even think I have to explain why that was huge. Lol You could name any celebrity you would think would be there and they were likely there. It was a great experience.
VALIDATED: If you could pick 3 artists that you would love to dj for, past or present, living or not, who would they be and why?
DJ AUTHORIZE: Who do you think I would say first? Yes, Biggie of course because he is my favorite artist of all time and from Brooklyn. And then naturally, Jay-Z would be my second choice as he is a living legend and he IS Brooklyn. My third artist would be Method Man because I have always liked his style, rawness, and his energy.
VALIDATED: Where can the reader support you and your movement online and social media?
Instagram: iamdjauthorize; iauthorizethis
Facebook: LaQuan Castro