The Master of the Mix competition looks to keep the art of DJing alive. With the first season being a big hit for BET, they brought the reality show back for a second season. After quite a few grueling challenges, surprise eliminations, and childish spats, DJ P bested the other ten DJs to be crowned Master of the Mix. Though we got a chance to meet in Atlanta, DJ P and I spent the time being regular and talking about normal things like Tru Tv and people calling themselves DJs after downloading a DJ app on their phones. Needless to say, we hung out before he was crowned the winner.
I had the chance to speak with DJ P a few days after winning $250,000. Our conversation included his response to people accusing him of using being a vinyl DJ as a crutch, why decided to give $10,000 apiece to the other two finalists, and how he’s going to spend his winnings after Uncle Sam takes their cut.
TUD: First off, congratulations on the win. The first question I have is what made you decide to blend Fat Joe’s “Lean Back” vocals with Beastie Boys’ “No Sleep Til Brooklyn” beat during your winner’s set at the finale party?
DJP: You know, my mind is kinda twisted and I think of weird things. That’s just a blend I came up with. I was just playing around with those two songs. I don’t even remember how I came up with that, but it worked. That’s how I come up with most of my blends; just playing around and seeing what works.
Has the high of the win worn off yet?
I don’t even think it’s hit me yet. I’m still kinda numb to it, but I guess when the check clears the bank, then it’ll really sink in. [laughs] No, I’m just on cloud nine with the whole thing. It feels so good to have won. It will probably be a while before the high wears down. When the money’s spent, then the high will be gone. [laughs] But I don’t want to spend the money too quick.
What prompted you to give the other finalists, DJ Yonny and DJ Michael McPherson, $20,000 to split from the money you won?
I felt it was the right thing to do. I mean those guys worked really hard to get to where they were also. For me, it was kinda like, “A quarter of a million dollars is a lot of money.” The three of us built a friendship throughout that tour and I realized Yonny and Michael McPherson were really good guys. They are kind people. That means a lot to me because there are a lot of attitudes in the DJ world and a lot of hate. Those guys were really humble and the fact that they made it to the end just made it seem like the right thing to do. I’m not a greedy person so I gave them each ten grand.
Did you give them that money more on the strength they were great DJs or that you guys just had a bond?
Both. If I thought they were wack DJs or I thought they weren’t good people, I wouldn’t have done it. I did it because they are great guys and dope DJs. If they weren’t dope DJs, of course, they wouldn’t ave made it to the finale. We went through a lot together to get to the end. The fact there wasn’t a second or third place also played a part.
Initially, what made you try out for Master of the Mix?
Some friends of mine told me about it. Actually, two different friends told me about it on separate occasions. I checked out season one online and saw that Kid Capri was one of the judges and was like, “Whoa. If Kid Capri is one of the judges, then this has got to be legit.” So I flew out to Atlanta and auditioned and here I am.
What was the most nerve racking challenge you faced during the competition?
It was the blind challenge when I had to do all of those wacky songs using Serato. I didn’t like that. [laughs] I got through it though. Everything I wanted to do, I pulled off flawlessly. That was probably the most nerve racking. Then, I used Serato again in Chicago, but Chicago was nothing for me because that was house music. I didn’t have to do any looping or remember anything.
There were some people that felt like you use the fact you are a vinyl DJ as a crutch or a gimmick. How do you feel about that?
I think that is ridiculous! Honestly, it’s like, “Well, let’s give them records and see what they can do.” I know some of the DJs on the show said they came from vinyl and that’s fine, but how did you flip vinyl? Did you flip vinyl the way you flip Serato now? Were you able to mix the way you do on Serato with your loop points and cue points? Serato is great, but in my style of mixing and blending, it’s a cheating device for being able to get from one place to the other with smooth transitions. Not to mention, people on the show who were using Serato and still didn’t have clean transitions. If they couldn’t do it on Serato, how would they do it on vinyl? That’s my argument.
With reality shows, there’s usually a bunch of drama. Why do you think there wasn’t as much drama on Master of the Mix?
You weren’t on the bus! [laughs] There was drama, but I think there wasn’t a lot of it because everyone was busy focusing on the challenge at hand and staying in the competition. Energizer The DJ and DJ K-Sly aside, everybody else was just trying to be ready for that next challenge instead of sitting around trying to argue about “Cali swag.” That’s what K-Sly and Energizer wanted to argue about.
You’ve been DJing for 20 years. Did you feel like you had a little bit of an upper hand on the others because you had so much experience?
Yeah. I mean you had DJ Mell Star who has a lot of experience. I know Mell comes from vinyl. You had DJ Wicked and DJ Total Eclipse, who is a dope DJ and is a member of the DJ crew The X-Ecutioners. I felt like based on my experience with mixing and other things that I did have an upper hand on some of the younger DJs. I know there were other guys there probably thinking the same thing.
What did you learn from some of the younger DJs that were on the show?
Honestly, I can’t really tell you anything new I learned from the younger guys because I already knew the basics of Serato and that’s what they all used. I’m not trying to be cocky or act like I knew everything, but nothing really stands out in my mind that I can say I learned DJ wise from those guys. Wait! I can say DJ Total Eclipse showed me what buttons to push on Serato to turn your loops on and off.
When you were doing the boat challenge and your records started flying off the boat, what went through your head?
I sped the boat up! When I sped the boat up, the records flew off. When the records started flying off, I thought, “Oh boy!”Actually, I said something else, but I don’t know if I should say that during the interview. I was having a hard time that day because of the whole wind situation and the sun was blazing. So I just decided to start dancing. I break dance too. So I just put on a record and started dancing. That was like DJ Jamieson Hill picking up a mic. The difference is I was actually doing another part of the culture and not being a clown.
I was going to ask you what you thought of his freestyling to save himself.
When I finally saw it for the first time on tv, I could see why it was entertaining. It was THAT bad. [laughs] It was pretty funny stuff.
I know your schedule must be crazy. Are you DJing any shows around the country?
I’m doing a show in Seattle, Washington. I think the show is called Viva La Vinyl. It’s all vinyl. No computers allowed! That’ll be fun. After that, everything is pretty much open because I wasn’t sure what the show’s sponsor, Smirnoff, had in store for me. I’m holding back on taking any other gigs until I talk to them.
What exactly does being Master of the Mix mean to you?
It means a lot. It’s a big television show that came on BET. When people ask, “Who’s the master of the mix?” I get to respond, “Well, I’m the master of the mix.” Words can’t fully express it, I guess. To be given that title feels amazing and it means the world to me. It means the world because I worked so hard and I love mixing and the craft in general.
Lastly, what are you going to do with that $250,000 check?
I’m going to take care of what I have to with that check. Then, I’m buying my dad a truck. I’m going to fix up my old ’70 Chevy Impala and put a little money into that. Luckily, I’m already almost done with fixing up my Chevy. I’m just going to put the rest of it in the bank and tuck it away. I learned my lesson about blowing money in Vegas. I’m not doing that again. [laughs]