It had been almost a year since Natasha Johnson had lost her husband, DJ Whiz T, when she realized she was going to have to sell his beloved record and sports memorabilia collections. Whiz T, a beloved member of the hip-hop community and the official DJ of the Dallas Mavericks, had died suddenly in February 2015 from a heart attack. So when it came time for Johnson to move last December, she turned to a person she knew she could trust: her daughter's "DJ Godmother," Spinderella.
“I feel like this is what needed to happen,” says Spinderella, the DJ for legendary hip-hop group Salt-N-Pepa who now lives in Dallas. Since December, Spinderella and Beat Swap Meet Dallas organizer DJ Bryan Coonrod have been helping Johnson prepare for a massive auction of his record collection and sports memorabilia this Sunday at RBC in Deep Ellum.
Whiz T's connections spread far and wide in Dallas hip-hop. He had residences at several clubs, collaborated with Symbolyc One and, aside from being the Mavericks' official DJ for eight years, also worked for the Cowboys and Stars. Among his many friends who will be on hand at RBC is Headkrack, host of the syndicated radio show The Ricky Smiley Show, who's flying in from Atlanta for the auction.
"Whenever I see his face in my head, I see him smiling. He was always happy about something," Headkrack says of Whiz T. "Even when he was mad, I think he would smile before he went in to what he was mad about."
Whiz T's home DJ room had been left untouched with over 7,000 records, but now the family is preparing to move from their Garland home. “It wasn’t just a project,” Spinderella says. “We could feel his presence. It was a little bit supernatural.” But it felt right and as difficult as it was for Johnson, having people she could trust was an invaluable relief.
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Coonrod first met Whiz T as a customer at Coonrod's record store, Rush Records, in the ‘90s. Spinderella met him shortly after she moved to Dallas in 2010 and he set her up with guest DJ gigs at Mavericks games. Whiz T and Spinderella stayed in touch and became close. One day, he told Spinderella his wife was expecting. This was particularly shocking because Johnson had been told for over a decade that she would not be able to have children. “For some reason I felt like I had to do it,” Johnson says.
Whiz T was an only child, and this fact weighed on him. A few years after his mother passed away, DJ Whiz T had his first heart attack. “He said to me, ‘If I would have died, there wouldn’t have been anyone to carry my legacy on,’” Johnson says. “That just resonated with me. I felt like I had to do something about it.”
Badu, a friend of Johnson’s, was actually present when she was getting ready to go into labor. Assisting as a doula, Badu was bringing meals and even providing natural cures for ailments that couldn’t be treated with medication during pregnancy, doing everything she could to make her friend comfortable before and after giving birth.
Once Lyric was born, it was immediately clear that she loved music, says Johnson. Spinderella started creating mixtapes and sending them her way. Whiz T suggested that Spinderella become his daughter’s “DJ Godmother,” and Spinderella agreed.
“It seemed like as soon as I had her he was gone,” Johnson continues. “But she meant everything to him.”
So when it came time for the move in December and Johnson needed the help, it was only natural that she would turn back to Lyric's "DJ Godmother." As Johnson was preparing to move, she worried about relocating and storing the massive archive. She needed help, and finding someone trustworthy was a real concern. She had spoken with some other DJs, but didn’t feel comfortable with them going through a collection full of gems.
Sorting through the collection, Coonrod occasionally came across records bought from his old store. “He gave a lot of records away,” Coonrod says. If Whiz T knew a DJ who had their records stolen at a show, it was not unusual for him to give them hundreds of records.
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Besides the music, there is also a huge collection of sports memorabilia, as well as countless personalized jerseys and autographed items, including shoes signed by Dirk Nowitzki. Whiz T actually had a conversation with Nowitzki in German, a language he learned from the years he served in the U.S. Army.
A few choice records and Whiz T’s turntables will be kept for his 2-year-old daughter, Lyric. But everything else goes. Johnson needed assistance, but also needed people she could trust.
The “DJ Godmother” and her crew finished sorting through the archive just in time for Sunday’s event, as Johnson and Lyric are preparing to move. Whiz T might have left a void in their lives, but he did everything he could to make sure they could fill it.
THE WHIZ T RECORD COLLECTION sale with Headkrack, Spinderella and more takes place at 2 p.m. Sunday, March 13, at RBC, 2617 Commerce St.