Each month Brooklyn Took It showcases some of NYC's most notable and up and coming DJs to add to the overall experience of the event. Whether they are world renowned or local, every DJ is selected based on skill set, play style, and energy. BKTI provides a platform for DJs to connect with an audience and to share their love of the art-form and culture with them.
"I'm an old-school party rock DJ. I just want to make sure that everyone is having a good time and I can entertain them through music. It doesn't matter where you come from or what your background is - I'm going to make sure you have fun. Period."
If you don't know who this man is, slap yourself in the face and go do some research. Not only is this man responsible for creating the Scratch and the Needle Drop techniques, but he's also been at the forefront of the DJ movement since the late 70's and early 80's.
Theodore was featured in the classic 80's film Wild Style, as well as Doug Pray's documentary "Scratch" - a must have for any hip-hop and DJ enthusiast on the planet, and has amassed an impressive 17 awards and 11 proclamations world-wide. He's been captivating audiences for over 4 decades and has no plans on stopping any time soon. Theodore's contributions to the art-form and culture run side by side with legends such as Kool Herc, Jazzy Jay, Grandmaster Flash, Kevie Kev, DJ Q-bert, and Mix Master Mike to name a few.
Aside from being a legend and pioneer of this art-form, Theodore's humble and down to earth personality is one to remember. We've known Theodore for almost a decade now and can truly say that he's part of the family. Plus, he can scratch with a blind fold and a record balancing on his head...at the same damn time...and still kill it.
Location: Bronx, NYC
Years Active: 40 plus
Genres of Choice: Hip-Hop, Funk, Soul, Breaks, R&B, and everything else under the sun.
Notable Venues/Appearances: Way too many to list...but it's safe to say the entire planet.
"My turntablist work is a big part of how I came up. I learned so much from Roc Raida about how to win DJ Battles. It was an honor to learn from the best. Now, I'm so blessed to be out rocking parties and festivals for big crowds. I've never had a complaint about my own versatility. It's a gift that keeps on giving."
The New York Native, dubbed "International Boogie Blind" by the DJs of Beatminerz Radio, produces original music, tours the world year-round and lends his signature scratches to records for recording artists who require his expertise during the mixing process.
Blind, who was inspired by his uncle that deejayed during his childhood, eventually met and was taken under the wing of turntablist legend Roc Raida of the X-Ecutioners. As part of the X-Men, Blind learned to execute the tricks and scratches that now leave lesser deejays scratching only their heads.
It's rare to find a DJ who can slay a crowd of Swedish club kids with the best in Techno, zip off to Australia to lay the smack down for MTV Garage, rock the revelers at MTV's Fashionably Loud, then return to his NYC home to wow turntablist crowds with his award-winning scratch and battle talents. Boogie Blind does it all - and lives every minute of it.
Location: Harlem, NYC
Years Active: Pretty much since birth - no joke.
Genres of Choice: Everything and anything - as long as it moves the crowd.
Notable Venues/Appearances: World-Wide - nuff said.
"I like to lighten the room for a good time and try to play to the girls as much as possible. It’s always a good time if you can get the girls dancing."
She moves easily among Fashion, Film and Music; she has emerged as “a role model for young taste-makers,” as the The New York Times titled her when they wrote about her in a Style section profile. Black Enterprise coined her “Vashtie Kola: Curator of Cool.” She is easily one of the hardest working creatives in the industry and has the chops to back it up.
Vashtie graduated from the School of Visual Arts where she studied film and has directed videos for Justin Bieber, Kendrick Lamar, Joey Bada$$, Kid Cudi, Gym Class Heroes, Theophilus London, Solange, & Jadakiss.
She started her own fashion brand, Violette New York, which is carried at boutiques, such as Colette in Paris. Violette New York has collaborated with various companies on custom lines & products, such as Brand Jordan, Puma Premium, Beats by Dre, G-Shock & more. Vashtie became the first woman in history to design a Brand Jordan Sneaker...that's so damn dope.
She grew up in Albany, NY (what up 518) as a first generation American of Trinidadian heritage and is by far one of the most down to earth and sweetest human beings we've ever known.
Location: East Village, NYC
Years Active: 7
Genres of Choice: 90s and 2000s Hip-Hop and R&B
Notable Venues/Appearances: DJ for Drake at Sothebys, The Orpheum in Paris for Asap Rocky, Webster Hall, Boiler Room set with A-Trak and Stretch Armstrong, DJ for fashion brands such as Chloe, Kenzo, Public School and America’s Next Top Model.
"I usually plug in my trusty DJ Starter Pack iPod controller joint and then that's all she wrote."
Considered to be one of the most skilled all-around DJs in NYC, J-Smoke has successfully reached a level of DJing that most of us, if not all of us, dream to reach. Simply put, the man has flawlessly infused the art of turntablism with traditional mixing techniques that creates the perfect balance of razor sharp cuts and super smooth mixes.
As a founding member of the prestigious DJ collective, the Allies, along with heavyweight DJs A-Trak, Craze, Develop, Infamous, Spictakular, and Klever, J-Smoke and company made DJ history forming one of the most dominant and influential DJ groups to ever hit the international stage. After scooping in a record-breaking number of world titles with the Allies, and performing all over the globe with the group and solo, J-Smoke continues carving out his own path and fine tuning his skill set to cater to a broader audience.
He's rocked stages with Busta Rhymes, Ludacris, Nas, Jadakiss, Kanye West, and Slick Rick, just to name a few, and has been the DJ for the internationally known R16 Korea World Bboy Championships for 4 years strong. Aside from all of this, J-Smoke has been a huge influence and mentor, whether he knows it or not, to all of us and we're honored to have him join the Brooklyn Took It family.
"I dunno, really. I play records. You dance. The End."
When you hear the words "Turntablist" or "Battle DJ", most people would automatically assume that the DJ in question would only have experience in this lane and not know how to properly rock a club. However, when you're talking about DJ Esquire, all assumptions and/or judgements are pretty much ignored.
Esquire is the true definition of a DJ: 2x DMC USA Champion, 2014 Global Spin Awards " Turntablist of the Year" nominee, Top 5 finalist in 2013 DMC World DJ Championships, 2012 DMC USA Battle for Supremacy Champion, 2012 IDA USA Champion, Top 4 finalist in the 2012 DMC Word Finals, and Top 6 finalist in 2012 IDA USA Finals.
He's sponsored by Orotfon and Reloop Turntables, has a massive corporate client list that ranges from MTV, HBO, Maxim, and Details Magazine, and has shared stage time with major acts such as Jay-Z, Coldplay, Run-DMC, Kanye West, Metallica, Pearl Jam, and DJ Tiesto to name a few. He's rocked venues all over the US including two 30 city tours with Mountain Dew And 1 Mixtape Tour, and completed 3 European tours that touched down in Denmark, Sweden, Germany, Croatia, Hungary, and Poland.
There really isn't much that this guy hasn't done already. Esquire's ability to read a room and play multiple genres is beyond impressive. Just one word of warning...don't go drinking with this man...he'll leave you picking up broken pieces of your integrity like most battle DJs he's faced in competitions.
Location: Brooklyn, NY
Years Active: 22
Genres of Choice: Bluegrass, Metal, Ambient House and Hippety-Hoppety Backpack Rap
Notable Venues/Appearances: Too many to name
"I'm a cross between Kid Capri, Larry Levan, Tony Humphries, and Giles Peterson."
With 25 years of experience in the industry, Emskee has delivered countless performances across the globe as both a DJ and Hip-Hop artist while collaborating with some of NYC's most legendary artists. His humble nature and laid back demeanor combined with his deep knowledge on classics is one for the books. No music snobbery here folks. If it moves the body and soul - he'll play it.
As a DJ, Emskee teamed up with the Legendary Easy Mo Bee for the "Recordnition" party which is an all vinyl throw down of some of the dopest records ever made for the dance-floor. He was an 11 year resident DJ on the world's longest running Hip-Hop radio show, J Smooth's "Underground Railroad Show", which is considered one of the most influential radio shows in NYC Hip-Hop. Emskee continues to deliver infectious sets on both the Controlled Substance Show (radiofreebrooklyn.com) every Wednesday from 5pm to 6pm and The Pen Joint Show on Bushwick Radio (nevasayneva.com) every Friday from 5pm to 6pm.
As an artist, Emskee has released several solo projects, provided verses on collaborative projects, and continues to release albums abroad with his group The Good People. In 2015 he linked with Grammy Award winning producer Easy Mo Bee and released the album "Two For One" on the UK label Fresh Pressing Records.
Emskee's goal is to provide a powerful soundtrack to any night for anyone regardless of race, color, creed, and everything in between. Whether it's Classic Hip-Hop, Funk, Soul, Disco, House...you name it...Emskee is always ready.
Years Active: 25
Genres of Choice: Anything that moves the body and soul.
Notable Venues/Appearances: Black Betty, APT, The Delancy, Coffee Shop, Kinfolk, Output, The Heath, Santos Party House, and The Little Big Chill Festival in Bristol, England.
"Short answer, I'm a club DJ that doesn't play shitty music. Long answer is too long to get into but I like to think of my DJ style as a balance of my two sides - the elephant and the tiger."
In his own words:
I'm a Native New Yorker who's been making music for as long as I can remember. Over the last 15 years, I have released a bunch of solo and collaborative albums, production for other folks, remixes, and DJ mixes - some of which have received a decent amount of critical acclaim.
For the better part of the last decade, I've DJed a couple hundred sets a year across North America and held residencies at some of the best bars and clubs in NYC. I'm currently the music director for The Blind Barber and Drexlers and a partner and the programming director at Friends and Lovers.
I also have a wife and a great dog and a baby on the way.
Years Active: 10
Genres of Choice: Hip Hop, Funk, Soul and especially the music where two or more of those genres meet.
Notable Venues/Appearances: Gov Ball & Camp Bisco (both w Das Raci), Panorama, Full Moon Festival
"I'm more of a blending DJ. I like to match beats and sprinkle in bangers you might have forgotten about."
New York based artist Miranda Maxwell has made a name for herself as a dj and taste-maker. For more than a decade she has had numerous NYC and LA residencies, and has spun with/for Flying Lotus, Mobb Deep, Lord Finesse, Donuts Are Forever, Magnum, Soul in the Horn, Lot Radio, America's Cup, and Samsung to name a few.
Her career as a DJ started in the early 2000's where she held down a 5 year long weekly residency at the W Hotel Group lounges in Manhattan. She was one of the first female DJ's to work with Scratch Events, and was the first female to be in the U.S. DMC Team Battle Championship with her crew The Stonekutters in '08. Miranda has created mix-tapes for The Goodlife!, Burton, Shade45, Rocksmith, Greenlabel, and Vanity Jukebox.
Currently she is curating and spinning events and parties in NYC, and is working on her clothing line and collective, Tomboy Feels.
Location: East Village, NYC
Years Active: 15
Genres of Choice: Hip-Hop, Funk, Soul, R+B, and Disco
Notable Venues/Appearances: Too many to name
"Classic feel good vibes mixed with dope B sides."
Ron Burt aka iRon Duks (prounounced eye'urn dookz) cultivated his ear for music growing up in one of the most popular cradles of Jazz music in the US, Kansas City, MO. This exposure would eventually play an important role in his DJing down the road.
Inspired by the legendary Johnny Dawkins and a love for roundball, Ron found his path would first lead him to Durham, NC where he was put in the national spotlight as a hoops walk-on for the 1992 NCAA National Champions Duke Blue Devils...yes...THAT team.
It wasn't until 2012 that Ron decided it was time to pursue his love of music and attended Scratch DJ Academy in NYC to further explore the art-form of DJing. Since then, he has humbly rocked several venues across NYC and DC and is a regular guest performer for Brooklyn Took It.
As an avid lover of Hip-Hop, R&B, House, and innovative musicianship, iRon Duks is definitely one to keep your attention on. Let's not forget, the dude gets busy in the kitchen...trust...we know first hand. So lace up ya sneaks and settle in for a cocktail of sounds, beats, and lyricism.
Location: Brooklyn, NY
Years Active: 5
Genres of Choice: Classic Hip-Hop, R&B, and House.
Notable Venues/Appearances: Amarchi Prime, DL Lounge, Lady's NYC, Enid's, Mockingbird, Bedford Hall, Casablanca, and Friends and Lovers.
Slate Interview/Story: Blue Angel
“Traveling. I tend to hop from genre to genre while dropping material people may not know.”
Cali bred and currently a representative of Rock So Fresh, LEVE7SEVEN, and Mighty4, Loreto a.k.a Still1 has been a practitioner and student of both Djing and photography for over a decade.
Known for his ability to string together new school and old school classics from different genres, his skill behind the tables has managed him to play sound provider in various cities around the world such as Japan, Switzerland, Cypus and Canada.
Some of the notable djs and crews he’s spun with include Grandwizard Theodore, Tony Touch, Battlestar Djs, Rich Medina, Freddie Joachim, and Skeme Richards.
If Still1 isn’t behind the tables, you can catch him wrecking shop behind the lens photographing the different personalities and all the random cool shit that happens in and out of NYC
Location: Brooklyn, NY
Years Active: 15
Genres of Choice: Rap, R&B, Funk, Soul, Dancehall, Disco, House . . . If it makes your head nod or causes you to two step, I’m playing it.
Notable Venues/Appearances: Host and dj for It’s a Feeling party since 2014. Played the guest spot for various parties like More Than Enough in NYC, Chocolate Jungle 5 Year Anniversary in Canada, Motown on Mondays in Hawaii, and Friday Channel in Japan.
"What's a BPM?"
You might call Stadium Status a DJ-of-all-trades. He started his career playing respected NYC venues Kinfolk, Up & Down, and Greenhouse among others. It was at these spots where he performed along side the likes of Raekwon, Future, Bodega Bamz, Iggy Azalea, and Rita Ora.
In 2013, he took on tour manager duties for the nationwide Certified Trap Tour headlined by festival mainstays DJ Sliink and Loudpvck. All of this lead to appearances on SiriusXM's Sway In The Morning show, several events for Versace, and a mix commissioned by G-Shock watches.
Since 2015, Stadium Status has been part of the official Pizza Zoo party lineup where he regularly rocks crowds of over 2000 people. He currently programs Miss Wong's, a lounge in Jersey City and home to his le vibes party, where his aim is to change the negative connotation placed on Jersey nightlife. Special guests at Miss Wong's have included Cipha Sounds, DJ Wonder, Nina Sky, Nick Catchdubs, GETLIVE!, and many others.
"It's really about connecting with the audience and helping them relive a memory through my selection."
We've known TiffStarr for a couple of years now and have watched her grow as a DJ and overall incredible human being, so it was only right to add her to the extended fam.
Not only is she a dope DJ, but she's also a bad ass B-Girl and reps The Brooklyn Zoo Crew to the fullest! Don't let the sweet vibe and demeanor fool you - she's a beast on the decks and drops some of the illest music out there.
Her most recent mixtape L.O.V.E. has been in our heavy rotation for the past month and for obvious reasons...it's so damn dope
Location: Lower East Side, NYC/Los Angeles, CA
Years Active: 3
Genres of Choice: Classic Hip-Hop, R&B, Funk, Soul, Disco, and Freestyle.
Notable Venues/Appearances: Friends and Lovers, Blind Barber, The Village Lantern, Bowery Electric, Juke Bar, Trophy Bar, and Von Bar.
"I focus on smooth transitions and blends, and I believe a great mix reveals a special space where artists share the same musical frequency. I'm using music as my medium...so my goal is to share a body of work that is both entertaining and edifying."
When you look up the words "Hard-Working" and "Humble" in the dictionary, a picture of Twelve45 comes up, flashing that Colgate smile. Don't sleep though...this girl can throw down. With a smooth mix of everything from R&B to gritty southern Hip Hop, Twelve45 had the entire spot rocking for our April installment of Brooklyn Took It. Not only is she a dope DJ, but she's also a music production instructor for Building Beats in Brooklyn. When she's not teaching, she's DJing, and when she's not DJing, she's making dope tracks of her own. Speaking of which, you can get familiar and check out her original work and smooth selections in the links below.
Location: Queens, NY
Years DJing: 1.5
Genres of Choice: Hip Hop, R&B, Future, and Soul
Notable Venues: Von Bar, Elvis Guesthouse, Trophy Bar, Friends and Lovers, and Drink Lounge.
"My style is heavily influenced by my Jamaican heritage, so I infuse Reggae and Dancehall into my Hip-Hop and R&B sets. I have this affinity for heavy bass and percussion so it's only natural that I mesh these genres together.
As one of the first guest DJs to join the Brooklyn Took It lineup, JayRicks solidified his spot and became part of the extended family after his February performance. He absolutely crushed his set and took a capacity crowd on a whirlwind of classic Dancehall and Reggae tracks balanced with the right amount of "house party" style classics. As a bonus to his performance, JayRicks also released a limited run of crew neck sweatshirts on his Bricks line that can be copped here.
I like to pay homage to the classic party tracks while shedding light on some of the newer releases as well. If it makes people dance...I'm playin' it".
Location: Brooklyn, NY
Years Active: 2
Genres of Choice: Hip-Hop, R&B, and Dancehall.
Notable Venues/Appearances: Output, Verboten, Friends and Lovers, Casablanca, Hudson Terrace, PHD, The DL, The Delancy, and The Attic.
"I like to play on the cuff but a little off the cuff too. I like to play deep cuts alongside noticeable ones people might remember. A mix of classics with a few newer songs I like sprinkled in."
DJ. Label Owner. Curator. Mentor. These are just a few things that come to mind when you're talking about the homie DJ Soko. Hailing from Detroit, Michigan, Soko has been a key player in the growth of Detroit Hip-Hop for almost a decade and has plans to expand this even further with his indie label, Left of Center.
Taking note from his own personal mentors, Soko has contributed to the growth and expansion of Detroit Hip-Hop into areas that wouldn't necessarily be in tune with it. He's worked with numerous artists such as Guilty Simpson, Clear Soul Forces, Invincible, Nolan the Ninja, Apollo Brown, and Journalist 103 to name a few, and was the official DJ for The Left (Apollo Brown and Journalist 103) whom released the critically acclaimed LP "Gas Mask" on Mello Music Group.
As a DJ, Soko is able to infuse his years of experience in Detroit and now his new home, Brooklyn, to create the perfect mesh of both worlds. Aside from his technical ability to destroy a set, he's one of the most humble cats we've ever met, and upon first introduction to him - thanks to the homie Dread Solo for that - we considered him family from the start.
Location: Brooklyn, NY by way of Detroit, Michigan
Years Active: 8
Genres of Choice: Hip-Hop, Funk, Soul, and some Disco
Notable Venues/Appearances: A bunch...US and International.
"Classic Hip Hop is the foundation. However Hip-Hop has dropped the needle on so many styles. From Rock to Jazz, Country, Soul. Whatever. I try pull from all my influences and blend them together for a journey you will never forget."
Aside from being one of the coolest brothers on the planet and having a record collection stacked with classic Hip-Hop and rare soul records, DJ Alias has been able to maintain a steady balance of playing what he loves while delivering current hits to his crowd for the last 10 years. His style is smooth and funky and his selection is always on point. You can pretty much put the man in any setting and he'll be able to deliver without pause or hesitation.
From corporate clients to your straight up every day music head, Alias posses that unique skill set that allows him to connect both crowds flawlessly. On top of that, he can play a mean bass and is one of the nicest guys we've ever had the pleasure of knowing. He's also got this dope blog where he posts up those hidden gems that some of us...ahem...have been seeking for quite some time.