(#Throwback Archive) DJ Afterthought Speaks On His Journey With Hip Hop [Exclusive Interview]

Originally Published: October 27, 2014

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The City of Pittsburgh is known for its blue-collar mentality and that it is home to some of the best professional sports teams in the nation, but what most people don’t realize is that this city is also home to some of the best Hip Hop talent in this country. Hip Hop has transitioned over the years and with that being said it has also repositioned itself throughout the United States. While Hip Hop was born in New York it soon made its way to the West Coast, and most recently you can hear a lot of today’s Hip Hop coming from Down South.

So…where is the heart of Hip Hop relocating to next? [Enter] Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

There is an abundance of musical talent in Pittsburgh and its surrounding areas. Wiz Khalifa cracked the door and now artists like Mac Miller, Boaz, and others are finding their way to stardom. Today up & coming emcees are flooding the streets of the Steel City, but what is an emcee without a DJ? Don’t worry; I’ll answer that for you. The answer is just a person with a microphone. The art of DJing is one of the most essential pieces to the Hip Hop culture. According to a 2012 study, there are approximately 1¼ million professional disc jockeys in the world, and with this article I want to introduce my readers to one particular DJ that is doing his thing in Pittsburgh.

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New Jersey native DJ Afterthought has been putting on for the city of Pittsburgh in a big way. His sets are ridiculous and he controls a crowd like no other in the Pittsburgh area. I spoke with DJ Afterthought a few days ago and we talked about his journey with Hip Hop and much more.

One of the things that stood out to me during my conversation with DJ Afterthought is when he mentioned that he had only been DJing since the age of 20 years old. The fact that DJ Afterthought has only been doing this for seven years is pretty impressive to me, because his skills are undeniable and he gets the job done like a true vet.

Once I found out that DJ Afterthought had only been working on his craft for just a few years I then had to ask him what influenced him to try his hand at the art. He replied, “I went to audio engineering school and I did a lot of different things with music there. I did a good bit of engineering and producing, but I spent most of my time dealing with sound at like shows and in the studio. I ended up DJing because my buddy would have people (DJs) cancel on him all the time and I had a ton of music on my computer and I had the Djing programs already on there. So I went to him and told him that I have the music and also the programs. He then turned to me and said, Well damn…you’re just an afterthought if you’re just doing sound. I was like there ya go, he pretty much just gave me my name and I started Djing from there. It started out by just going to parties and little bars and then I started to evolve a little bit and I ended up going to bigger bars and even bigger shows.”

When I asked Afterthought where his passion for the art form comes from he replied, “I grew up during the 90’s era listening to a lot of Hip Hop and I just related to it. I would see a DJ and say to myself that the DJ is the soul of what is going on. I really found that to be pretty cool and unique.”

DJ Afterthought has become the go-to-guy in Pittsburgh. With honing his craft in just a few years I was curious to find out exactly how he earned that title. “I started out doing very small stuff, trying to get on shows and work with other people, but there wasn’t enough going on. At that point I finally decided to do my own shows. We brought Bubba Sparxxx and the Ying Yang Twins to Butler, Pennsylvania. I then began doing Hip Hop showcases and other events in the Butler area. By working hard, networking, and doing good business with people I slowly but surely worked my way into the Pittsburgh Hip Hop scene,” said Afterthought.

As our conversation continued, DJ Afterthought once again wowed me as he spoke about the numerous mainstream and local artists that he has worked with and/or opened up for. “I have worked with a lot of great artists,” said DJ Afterthought, “Bubba Sparxxx, Ying Yang Twins, Talib Kweli, Ludacris, Chevy Woods, Mac Miller, Wiz Khalifa and the list goes on. I have opened up for artists like Kendrick Lamar, French Montana, J. Cole, Juicy J, Travis Scott, Danny Brown, and Action Bronson to name a few.”

DJ Drama & DJ Afterthought

DJ Drama & DJ Afterthought

Afterthought’s talents has not only led him to work with some of the industry’s finest, but it has also taken him all across the continent. “I’ve performed in probably 45 of the 50 states and every providence in Canada.

Right now you can catch DJ Afterthought on his usual grind…doing it way big in Pittsburgh. We talked about some of his upcoming events, which included Smoker’s Club with Redman and Method Man, King of the Burgh, and also DJing for Young Thug. “There’s so many events coming up,” said Afterthought as he chuckled, “We got a Wiz show coming, we got Jeezy coming, we got Y.G. coming, we have Kirko Bangz and Snootie Wild coming…we got so many things going on right now.”

“Honestly it has all been a great experience, from the beginning up to now. It’s a good feeling every time. It’s the same feeling, but every situation has been unique and it has been awesome; even the bad stuff. Looking back at it all, it’s like I still got to do that,” said DJ Afterthought.

To conclude my interview with DJ Afterthought I asked him what kind of advice he had for those also striving to make their dreams a reality. He replied, “Just go and do it. Just make sure that you don’t waste any time doing something that is not going to be productive. A lot of people don’t work hard enough and a lot people just don’t follow through. It’s really really hard to keep working hard when you are not getting anything in return, but if you keep working hard it will eventually payoff.”

DJ Afterthought is a great example of what the Pittsburgh area has to offer, so keep an eye open and one ear to the streets; you’ll be sure to catch this DJ in a city near you.

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DJ Afterthought gave a big shout out to Daily Bread, Hater Magnet, IPH Studios, ID Labs, and Pyrex Vision Entertainment.

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[Hip Hop News Now] Official Trailer to “Atlanta” Released by Donald Glover

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Donald Glover, also known in the rap game as Childish Gambino, has given the Hip Hop community a reason to put the headphones down and turn on the television. The sometimes actor/sometimes rapper has taken Hip Hop from the streets to your living room with his new show Atlanta.

Glover, the executive producer of the show, recently released the official trailer to his new series.

The show is based around Glover’s character who gets involved in the rap career of his cousin, played by Brian Tyree Henry. Atlanta premieres September 6 on FX.

 

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[Hip Hop News Now] BlackSandz Music Group is Taking The Game By Storm

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Founded nearly 20 years ago, BlackSandz Music Group is still making waves. The brand’s founder, Chris “Blendz” Hardison, is the man with a plan and the driving force behind the organization.

“It’s been years of trial and error, tests of loyalty, and the process of elimination,” Blendz said. “We’re in a real good spot now.”

BlackSandz has lasted over the years, matured, and is now expanding, said Blendz, a western Pennsylvania native.

Currently the BMG squad is gearing up for a major run for the industry. Its roster includes Blendz, Versatile, C-Sextion, Metafor Metty, Burg City Twins, Bree Cake, Dange Dizzy, Dumbway, DK, and Nic Angelo.

Helping Blendz on the production side is Trilla G. The duo creates the unique BlackSandz sound and goes by the name Sandboyz Productions.

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Recently BlackSandz Music Group has been busy at work dropping new music weekly. “We Dem Boyz” is a new single that is catching fire with time. The standout track is from the upcoming BlackSandz compilation project Black Mafia. The song features Blendz, C-Sextion, and Metafor Metty.  While I could go into details about the track, I think the title is self-explanatory.

 

Blendz recently released a mixtape titled The Island. The mixtape boasts lyrics and production from the artist, with appearances by his BMG cohorts. Check out the mixtape below and let us know what you think.

“We’re here for longevity. We’re not looking for no one-hit wonder. We’re just trying to keep hitting people with new music — and different music. Everything sounds the same right now, cookie-cutter stuff.  We got our own sound and our own lane. We’re just grinding right now,” Blendz said.

C-Sextion, who’s currently working on his first official solo album, said, “You got to respect our music because we’re telling the truth, it’s real life struggles, real life stories. We’re giving it to you raw…there’s no acting over here.”

Blendz and the BlackSandz movement celebrated a recent accomplishment with the launch of their own radio show. The Plug is a new online radio show that supports indie and underground artists. Download the Support District Radio app to listen in.

The Black Mafia compilation album isn’t the only thing to expect from BMG in the near future.  A new fashion line is coming soon and a film division is in the works.

“We’re working over here, no question. Who knows, we might be popping bottles of own liquor come this time next month,” Blendz said.

In other words…stay tuned…

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[Hot New Music!] Vain – “Hello” (Exclusive Interview)

 

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Queens-based rapper Vain has paid his dues and now it’s time to pay homage to the emcee.  The underground hustler has a gem on his hands with his latest single entitled “Hello.”  The new track is already catching fire on radio with spins on Sirius XM’s Shade 45, New York’s Power 105 FM, and more.

To truly appreciate Vain and what he brings to the game, you have to respect his journey.  To respect his journey, you have to understand his hustle.

Since making a name for himself in New York back in 2006, the NY native has opened for Hip Hop greats like the Wu Tang Clan, Snoop Dogg, and DMX.  He’s also collaborated with mainstream artists like Tony Yayo of the G Unit, Fabolous, Slim of 112 and more.  

“My first record hit radio in New York in 2006, but I’ve been rapping since I was 9-years-old,” Vain said.  “My mother used to make me do old school records on stage.  I used to perform at the parks and do all of that stuff.  I was just one of those kinds of kids.”

From there Vain would embark on a journey that would soon include awards and accolades, but it wasn’t until he went to college that he would truly push himself. “My mother was pushing me like ‘Yo you need to do this music.'”  

In 2006, Vain’s “Toss Da Paper” landed on the radio.  “That’s how I really got started, and I haven’t stopped since,” Vain said. “It’s your ambition after a while.  It just keeps driving you and driving you.”

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Vain defines his sound as educated street music.  “I’m going to give listeners more of what I grew up listening to,” Vain said. “There was more substance to it. It would give you a gauge of what was really going on in the streets.” 

The New York emcee’s music is influenced by rappers like Tupac, Nas, Canibus, Jay Z, and 50 Cent.

During his musical journey he has worked and collaborated with some major artists and Hip Hop vets.  “I got records with Jim Jones, Red Cafe, Slim from 112, Lil Mo, Tony Yayo, the legendary Jazzy Joyce, and I’ve opened up for a lot of major artists,” said the Queens-bred emcee.

“All of this work that I have put in has me to this point right now,” Vain said.   He is currently gearing up to release a new mixtape and has been heating up with the project’s debut single “Hello.”  The new single has found a spot on the charts as it appears in the top 115 songs on urban radio in the country.  

“Come see me on social media,” Vain said.  “Everything is ‘Its Vain’.” “Follow me and you can see me ballin’ out.  I be in the clubs.  I be at the radio stations.  Come check out my life.  I be playin’ sports, I be liftin’ weights, I be eatin’ good,” Vain said laughing.

Check out Vain’s new record “Hello” below and listen for him as he is scheduled to appear on the radio with DJ Self and also on “Sway in the Morning.”

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[Hip Hop News Now] 2 Chainz Drops “Pocket Full Of Money” & Has One Of The Illest Smoke Sessions Ever (Must Watch!)

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Atl rapper 2 Chainz links up with DJ E Feezy for the new collab joint “Pocket Full Of Money.” Currently the single is not slated to appear on 2 Chainz upcoming album or on a compilation album, however, one thing is for sure…the new single is dope. To compliment the new single 2 Chainz is back with his highly entertaining GQ segment, “Most Expensive Sh*t.” You can watch as 2 Chainz samples half a million dollars worth of weed, bongs, and dabs, and takes the most epic hit of all time. 

Listen to “Pocket Full Of Money” and check out the “half a milli” smoke session below.

 

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[Hip Hop News Now] Watch Desiigner Perform “Panda” And Make “Late Night” Debut

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Earlier in the year we had no idea who Desiigner was…I mean c’mon, let’s be honest. Now with the #1 spot atop of Billboard’s Hot 100, Desiigner has already become “2016’s Breakout Artist of the Year”.  After recently dethroning Rihanna’s “Work” single from #1, Desiigner made a “Late Night” appearance with Stephen Colbert and performed his smash-hit “Panda”. 

Watch Desiigner make his late-night debut below.

 

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[Hip Hop News Now] Watch The Trailer For The Nas Produced Film “The Land”

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Last year, it was announced that a new skate film produced by Nas starring Erykah Badu titled The Land was in motion. The icing to this cake is the soundtrack, which features contributions from Kanye West, Pusha T, Nas, Erykah Badu, and more. Today, the first trailer for the movie was released and it looks pretty dope. Peep the clip below.

 

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[Hip Hop News Now] Drake Claims That He Sold Over 600k Copies of “Views” In One Day

Just a few days ago October’s Very Own, Drake, released his highly anticipated album Views. Last night while at a Views listening party in Toronto, Drake boasted to the crowd that he sold around 630,000 copies of his new album in one night. You can hear him in the clip above.

If comparing Drake’s album, What a Time to Be Alive sold 375,000 first week and If You’re Reading This It’s Too Late moved 535,000 units in a three day span.

Views will surely debut at No. 1 next week and mostly likely hit platinum status soon after. The “One Dance” single is already crushing records on the U.K. charts and has quickly become Drake’s first No. 1 hit on the Canadian Billboard Hot 100. Only time will tell what heights this album will take the Toronto native. One thing is for sure, over 600,000 copies sold in one night is phenomenal and once the album hits Spotify, the insane numbers of streaming will continue to soar. The question I have for you is, “Where does Views fall in comparison to Drakes previous releases?”  

Is this Drake’s best work to date?  Let us know by commenting below.

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[Hip Hop News Now] Pittsburgh’s Slick Guruzee Is On Deck And He’s Ready!

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Pittsburgh’s hip hop scene is not much different than those of other major cities, however, what makes the Steel City’s scene stand apart from the next is clearly it’s talent. Earlier in the month I attended a Hip Hop event in Pittsburgh called “Battle For The Buck” and while all the competitors were great, one particular emcee really grabbed my attention. The young man’s name is Slick Guruzee and even though he did not win the overall event, he was the true winner in my eyes.

Slick Guruzee hit the stage for his set and totally controlled the crowd. His set was lit and he had total crowd participation. It was great to see this youth look like a true vet on the stage. To top it all, he will be attending West Virginia University in the fall, where I am sure he will be making quite a name for himself. I decided to catch up with Slick Guruzee after the event and we had a great conversation.

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The Pittsburgh native is a high school senior that first began freestyling at the age of 8. He started out at such a young age because of his father’s involvement in Hip Hop. Slick’s father is the vice president of raphead.com and works to promote Hip Hop talent across the globe. “I just wanted to be like him in some sort of way,” said Slick Guruzee.  “He’s Big Slick and they called me Lil Slick. I just flipped it on them and became Slick Guruzee. The root word of Guruzee is “Guru” which is like a master, teacher, or prohet. Guruzee is not a gang in any way, it’s a lifestyle.”

When I asked Slick about his rapping style he said, “I consider myself very diverse and I like to speak to everybody. I never really want to limit myself.” “One of my top musical influences is Tupac and its only because I look at Tupac as not only a rapper but a teacher.  I watched his speeches on youtube and I knew that his mother was a part of the Black Panther community.  So I just always wanted to affect people the same way he did,” said Slick Guruzee.

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Currently Slick is staying busy putting the final touches on his debut mixtape entitled Who Is Slick Guruzee, so be on the lookout for that.

In the meanwhile you can watch some of his recently released videos. Check out his videos for “Run it Up” and “White Iverson” below. The “White Iverson” remix features another Pittsburgh emcee by the name of Young Bagz. Peep the videos and be sure to comment below.

 

 

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[Hip Hop News Now] Drake Drops Two New Singles, “Pop Style” ft. Jay Z & Kanye West and “One Dance” ft. WizKid & Kyla

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Drake’s Views From The 6 is set to drop this month, so with that being said, it appears that Drizzy season is finally upon us. Today Drake officially kicked off the highly anticipated season with the release of two brand new singles. The first track is titled “Pop Style” and features Jay Z and Kanye West aka ‘The Throne’ and the other features WizKid and Kyla called “One Dance.”

The songs aren’t streaming just yet on Apple Music, but you can preview “Pop Style” here, and “One Dance” here.

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