Originally Published: October 27, 2014
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.
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.”
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.
DJ Afterthought gave a big shout out to Daily Bread, Hater Magnet, IPH Studios, ID Labs, and Pyrex Vision Entertainment.
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