Written by Jonathon Brown
Well known on the southern-California club scene and recognized as a viral promotion titan, DJ V.I.P. leads L.A.’s next generation of DJs. Although his style is without a doubt, hip hop, VIP believes what makes the difference isn’t the songs he plays, but the journey he takes his audience on. With his eclectic sensibilities and intuitive crowd interaction, DJ V.I.P. doesn’t just play records he creates environments. Known for a strong musical ear, V.I.P. has contributed to studio work by artists like Ya Boy, Nipsey Hussle, Clyde Carson, Bobby Brackins and recently completed a 28 city tour alongside Interscope’s Millenium. Along with mixtape hosting, production work and his monthly new music mixes, DJ V.I.P. continues to worker harder than most to be better than them all. Follow his journey.
DJ V.I.P. grew up in the Bay Area and describes his early path in life as dominated by athletics. Playing baseball & basketball and later soccer and track, his world was dominated by competition. Musically, he grew up to the sounds of the 70s, as his parent’s enjoyed artists like Kool & The Gang, Earth, Isley Brothers, and Earth, Wind & Fire. He’d tag along with his parents to concerts like Carlos Santana and WAR, exposing himself to an elite level of showmanship he’d draw from later in life. By fifth grade, he was introduced to hip hop.
V.I.P. had a set of basic turntables by the end of grade school and was soon spinning at athletic events, house parties and school dances. While still heavily committed to his life in sports, he found the time to develop his basic DJ skills and by 17 was playing at a nightclub. He was on a roll and loving his newfound hobby. Suddenly, it came to a screeching halt when he went off to school at Cal State University, Northridge on an athletic scholarship.
“My parents kept my equipment at home because they thought DJ’ing would have me in too many parties at college,” says V.I.P., who would go cold turkey for three full years. “After a while, I got the itch again so I started buying cheap food with my food money and saving the rest to buy equipment. Eventually I convinced my parents and started DJ’ing again. By then I was going into my senior year.”
V.I.P. got back in the swing of things and even utilized the recording studio at his school (where he was attending for radio & television broadcasting). There he coached artists and guide songs, using his now well-developed musical ear.
The next step was an internship at Power 106, which meshed well with his aspirations and thrust him into a plethora of opportunities. At Power, V.I.P. participated in music meetings, contributed to marketing initiatives and assisted on air personalities and DJs. Things were on the upswing, until an afternoon in August 2009 when he was involved in a serious car accident. Bed ridden for weeks, he had to walk away from the internship to focus on rehab and his final year of school.
“At that point, I knew sports wasn’t going to be my career,” admits V.I.P. “I took every gig I could, spent hours practicing on the tables and really focused on upping my musical IQ. I knew music was in my future.”
An intense networking grind led to shows with Tyga, Nipsey Hussle, E-40, Too Short, and more as V.I.P. climbed his way up the ladder. He established relationships with promoters, artists and producers and became known as a young DJ on the rise. V.I.P. credits DJs like Mind Motion, J Espinosa, Q-Bert, DJ Craze & DJ Fuze as key influences on his DJ style and music sensibilities. Music lovers can now find DJ V.I.P. in L.A.’s hottest clubs several nights a week and follow his monthly mixes at http://www.djviponline.com
But despite his meteoric rise, DJ V.I.P. doesn’t see himself even close to where he wants to be. He continues to hone his scratching and turntable skills, building his “muscle memory” just as he did for years in athletics.
“I’ve done a lot, but I have so much more to accomplish. I’m on the right track so I know if I keep working at this pace I’ll get there soon.”
Will you be there to witness it?