Deejay Mike B behind the decks
Karl X Ramos
Hip-hop’s pulse is strong in Dallas and Deejay Mike B wears his love of the genre on his sleeve, although like any hard working DJ, he plays a little bit of everything.
Although Mike B has deep roots in the crate digging world of vinyl, he’s also interested in what newer technologies have to offer. Recently he’s been working as a VJ and he even ran visual production at Erykah Badu’s Bomb Factory birthday bash at the end of February.
For this week’s tape, Mike B delivers a multi-genre mix of downtempo bounce.
Dallas Observer: How long have you been a DJ? How did you get started?
Deejay Mike B
: I’ve been deejaying for a little over 14 years. I grew up surrounded by great music. My dad was the lead singer in a blues band growing up, so I always had a love and respect for music. Focusing on sports for most of my youth, it wasn’t till later in life that I would find my own musical passion.
While in college at a house party, I touched Technics turntables for the first time and fell in love. In those next two weeks I had a tough decision to make: Take the money I had saved and use it to join a fraternity, or buy DJ gear.
The latter was the best decision I’ve ever made. I hooked up my new setup in my dorm room and, with the help of a DJ 101DVD, I taught myself to DJ between class, basketball practice and homework. One month later I booked my first gig, a weekly spinning vinyl at a college bar in town called Oasis and never looked back.
How was this mix made and was there a theme behind it?
I made this mix using 2 Technics 1210s and a Pioneer S9 mixer setup in my home studio. Just to keep an organic feel, I recorded this mix live in one take as if I were performing for a crowd. I’m not really into mixing using editing software.
Being a multi-genre DJ with an emphasis on hip-hop, I decided to just put together a very lightly planned, organic mix of music that I would enjoy listening to. I wanted to blend many different-sounding tracks that all had an emphasis on lyricism. Something that would jam but also provoke thought, you know?
What drew you musically toward hip-hop?
My dad owned a small club when I was around 7 years old. I remember getting dropped off there by my babysitter at the end of the night and hearing Big Daddy Kane, Salt-N-Pepa, Rob Base, Slick Rick and all the late ’80s jams. It wasn’t till the age of 13 when I discovered Wu-Tang — via the Method Man Tical
album — that I transitioned from a novice rap fan into a hip-hop head in training.
How did you start veejaying?
I grew up watching MTV, Rap City
and The Box
. I’ve always been intrigued with the visual aspect of music. I feel that the music video gives the song another dimension of depth and insight into the creativity of the artist. I happened to get my start in veejaying while over at veteran Dallas DJ TDK’s crib. We were there practicing mixes and playing around with different ideas and he showed me a few new video-mixing programs and tricks that just blew my mind.
I was determined to use the knowledge and tools he blessed me with to elevate my DJ performance and creativity to the next level. I have since branched out into full visual production. My most recent work was running the visual production for Erykah Badu’s sold-out Sauceizm B-Day Bash at The Bomb Factory. I’m also booked for three days of video production for a large mainstream concert series at SXSW. I plan on taking the visual production aspect to new levels in the coming years.
Where do you like to dig for tracks, online or in stores?
Seeing as I DJ mostly music videos, I spend a significant amount of time researching and downloading videos from a few different VJ pools I subscribe to, one of which requires a Canadian address to enroll. Even though I mainly spin videos, I love my vinyl. Whenever I want to dig, I connect with my boy and local vinyl gem dealer Bryan Coonrod and pick through his massive collection of high quality wax. Josey Records is a good spot for some vinyl therapy as well.
What is your most treasured digger find of the past year?
I recently got my hands on a limited edition 7-inch box set of the classic debut album from Wu-Tang Enter The Wu-Tang (36 Chambers)
via GetOnDown.com. Also while digging late last year I picked up an original 1987 first pressing of Eazy-E Boyz-N-The Hood
with the original Ruthless Records album art. A few minutes later, I came across Soul II Soul’s Keep On Movin
12-inch. It was a good day.
Which new producers have been getting you excited?
Man, all of the local Dallas producers out here making national waves! Sikwitit, S1, Tha Kracken, B. Barber, J Rhodes, Blue the Misfit, Reezy Tunes, Glo Gaines, Freddy Bruno, Lonestar Music, Scotch N Dough, Medasin, Dream Child(DC), Zach Witness, Tony Slomo, Champion Bond, Keis On Da Track. Word on the street is Dallas has the best up-and-coming producer scene in the country. My excitement runneth over for these guys.
What has been your most significant music experience of the past year?
Man, that’s a tough one. I would have to say putting in the work and seeing the growth of my Friday night weekly called “The Fix Fridays” at Drugstore Cowboy. There’s something special about manifesting a situation that you believe in into a successful venture. I started The Fix with a vision of having a melting pot of people having fun together while simultaneously forgetting about their weekly grind — a place they can come get their “musical fix.” Now we have over 400 people pass through a coffee shop in Deep Ellum every Friday just to hear good music and dance. Working visuals with Badu was pretty epic as well.
What gigs do you have coming up?
I’m at Drugstore Cowboy in Deep Ellum every Friday from 10 p.m. to 2 a.m.
Thursday, March 9: Back to the Roots @ RBC 8 p.m. to 2 a.m.
Saturday, March 11: Art, Music, Food showcase @ Taboo Lounge midnight to 2a.m.
Thursday, March 23: So-So Topic Farewell Show @ Trees 8 p.m. to 2 a.m.
Thursday, March 30: The Lyricist Lounge Hip-Hop Open Mic @ Drugstore Cowboy 9 p.m. to 2 a.m.
Thursday, April 6: The Get Down Hip-Hop Experience @ Drugstore Cowboy 9 p.m. to 2 a.m.
1. “Hey DJ” — World’s Famous Supreme Team
2. “It Ain’t Nuttin (DeeJay Mike B Rmx)” — MF DOOM
3. “Nakamarra” — Hiatus Kaiyote
4. “False Prophets” — J Cole
5. “Waves” — Joey Bada$$
6. “Honey” — Erykah Badu
7. “Kick Push” — Lupe Fiasco
8. “We The People” — A Tribe Called Quest
9. “Colors (Drop It Like It’s Hot) Dennis Blaze Remix” — Ice T/Snoop
10. “Erase Me” — Kid Cudi ft Kanye West
11. “Everybody Loves the Sunshine” — Roy Ayers
12. “Listen Up” — Erule
13. “Slick” — The Hue ft. Ladybug Mecca
14. “Canto De Ossanha” — Jurassic 5
15. “Come Down” — Anderson .Paak
16. “Hey Mr DJ” — Zhane
17. “Pass the Plug” — De La Soul
18. “Children’s Story” — Slick Rick
19. “King Kunta” — Kendrick Lamar
20. “Dang!” — Mac Miller ft. Anderson .Paak
21. “I Can’t Go For That” — Hall & Oates
22. “A Rollerskate Jam Named Saturday” — De La Soul ft. Qtip
23. “Do I Do” — Stevie Wonder
24. “Beverly Hills Cop Theme Song (Alex F)” — Harold Faltermeyer
25. “You’re the One” — Kaytranada ft. SYD
26. “White Noise (Full Crate & FS Green Remix)” — Disclosure
27. “Down On My Luck” — Vic Mensa
28. “Day N Night (Andrew Luce Remix)” — Kid Cudi
29. “Exhibit C” — Jay Electronica
30. “Everything Was The Same” — Fabolous
31. “Putty Boy Strut” — Flying Lotus
32. “A Fan’s Mail (Tron Song Suit II)” — Thundercat