DJ EZ Eddie D has been a Dallas staple for just short of three decades. His vault of music is vast and wide beyond the hip-hop he is most known for. Eddie can still be heard on the radio every week spreading the musical word on his Knowledge Dropped Lessons Taught show on 89.3 FM KNON, the second-longest-running hip-hop show in the country. Very little hip-hop made it into his mixtape this week, but the track list is definitely that of a true crate digger — the kind of digging one would expect from someone who has been a part of the scene from its infancy.
Dallas Observer: How did you get started DJing? How long have you been at it?
DJ EZ Eddie D: Well as a kid I would go rollerskating and to teen dances in Cincinnati and I was always amazed at the connection between the DJ and the crowd — the charge that went across the room when a great song such as “One Nation Under a Groove” came on. Fast forward to adulthood and and I moved to Dallas in 1982 and was introduced to Troy Glover aka The Master Mixer. He taught me the art of blending, and this was at a time when everyone was wanting to cut and scratch, and I took a different route.
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How did you get into radio and how long have you been in that game?
My good man Troy took me up to KNON (90.9 FM back then) back in 1984 and for a brief stint I was on Cisco Soul & the Party Patrol, which was the first hip-hop show here in Dallas, I believe. Cisco featured five different DJs at the time. It wasn't until 1987 when, after having my mixes played on Nippy Jones' Friday afternoon show Funky Fresh Freaky Friday Show, I was asked to become his “right hand man” as his mix DJ after the All Hearty Def Party got their own show. After about six or seven months I was offered my own show which was called Down by Sound and the rest has been a journey that I am still embarking on after about 27 years. (I was off the air during that time for about 3 years total, at different times.)
How was this mix made? Is there a particular theme for the track selection?
It was made using the Numark NV and Ableton Live. I will sometimes make a different version of a song in Ableton, then use it in Blend, and I like to use the four-turntable option. It's a technique that I have been doing in one form or another since I have been DJing. As far as the selection, I wanted people to hear what I might play when I DJ at a bar or whatever. I play from all forms of music but the common denominator is that it has to be funky. Of course hip-hop is always the foundation because it's the only form of music that can be created from any other form of music, provided it's funky — and if it's not, we will make it funky in the blink of a sample chop.
Who are some of your fave DJs or producers as of late?
Well two of my favorite DJs are from Dallas, DJ Spiderman and DJ Love. As far as producers right now, I would say Bronze Nazareth and a gentleman who is a part of my radio show KDLT Vol2 and goes by the name of M Slago. My mellow is crazy fresh!
You are mostly known for hip-hop. What other music outside of that do you also enjoy?
Any song by Curtis Mayfield. I love anything from the Dusty Fingers collection. Triumph's "Fight The Good Fight." Rush's "Tom Sawyer." Anything by the Jackson 5, KRS-One or Mantronix.
Where do you like to dig for music?
I do a lot of digging on the Internet now. There is so much music that is just released this way, so a-digging I will go. Of course Half Price. I still find the occasional gold mine [laughs]. Spinster, Bill's and have yet to make it to Josey Records. That's next on the list!
How has the Dallas DJ scene changed over the years from your perspective?
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With all the labels moving their offices out of Dallas a few years ago that hurt a lot, but we seem to have survived that moment unscathed. With the addition of the microwave DJ and Pandora and things like that, it's run a little interference with people who are really into the craft of being a DJ or knowing how to rock a crowd. People who used to send me music to break on my show now seem to just need a Facebook and ask people to like their music. They somehow think they don't need a DJ to play their music and in some cases they are right. Dallas does have some great DJs and I have always felt that we have been right on par with every other city, bar none.
What is in the near future for you as an artist?
I plan to take my Butta Blends set across the globe and to produce a few projects I am working on with a few artists here in Dallas producing. I also intend to continue doing my radio show until I have the longest tenure of any DJ on the radio who has always played true school hip-hop. Also can catch me at 8 Bells Tavern on Mondays.
1. Marley Marl - Marley Marl Scratch
2. David Bowie - Fame
3. James Brown - HOT ( I NEED TO BE LOVED LOVED LOVED LOVED)
4. REI - Trepidation
5. Whodini - Friends
6. Boule Noire - Aimer D'amour
7. The Floaters - Float On
8. Gorillaz - Dirty Harry
9. El Da Sensi (feat DJ Davastate & J57) Remix -Show Stoppa
10. Phantogram - K.Y.S.A
11. The Beatles - Hey Bulldog
12. Dusty Fingers - The Matador
13. Amy Winehouse & Nas - Like Smoke
14. Kid N Play - Last Night
15. Rick Derringer - Rock N Roll Hoochie Koo