by Minister of Information JR
Recently, the Bay View newspaper won the SF Bay Guardian’s 2009 Best of the Bay Award for best local newspaper because we are a “fight-back” publication. While at the party, I ran into my media-making buddies from Distortion 2 Static, a local Hip Hop TV show, who had also won a 2009 Best of the Bay Award, theirs for best local TV show, and I thought about the fact that I had never written anything to expose our readers to what they do.
I went to college with Static’s DJ Haylow, who lived down the hall from me, but over the years Beats Me has been the one I’ve kicked it with the most. I’m going to let this charismatic media-maker, whom I plan to work closer with in the future, introduce himself. Check out Beats Me of Distortion Static in his own words.
M.O.I. JR: How did you get involved with Distortion 2 Static? Can you describe your role on the show?
Beats Me: Distortion 2 Static, or D2S, is a TV show documenting hip-hop in the Bay Area and around the country. After seeing the show for the first time, I ran into the producer, R.E.L., at my job one day. I told him how much I liked the show and, since I make beats, asked how I could get featured.
He agreed to feature me as a producer. Then after a few years I started DJing for their parties in the freestyle room. After D2S blew up from public access to WB, they needed more help with the show and the rest is history. My role is to interview artists and people on the streets of the Bay about hip hop culture. I feel I bring a fun energy to the show.
M.O.I. JR: Your TV crew won the SF Guardian’s 2009 Best of the Bay for best local show. Why?
Beats Me: This is the third time we’ve won for best local show. We have a great multi-cultured crew of very talented people working on the show that love what they do and that people can relate to.
M.O.I. JR: How do you see hip hop media in the Bay specifically, where just about all the popular artists are Black and most of the writers, media producers and journalists are non-Black but documenting a Black experience? Where does hip hop media need to go?
Beats Me: Seems like this dynamic is the same all over the world. Most media is controlled by non-Blacks and the few that were Black-owned eventually get sold to white coporations. The Bay is one of the meccas of Black leadership, so all we can do is what we’ve been doing, keep our independent grassroots hustle up.
M.O.I. JR: How did you get into DJing Frisco clubs? Let me ask the same question I asked but in the context of DJing: How do you feel being a DJ in an area where they don’t get their just recognition? Is it harder or easier in your opinion to be a Black DJ in the Bay?
Beats Me: I started DJing here in the Bay with Distortion 2 Static and have been getting booked all over the Bay since. Being a Black DJ is kind of like being a Black basketball player; people may want you on their team because of a particular image they are trying to fulfill, but you still have to work real hard to stay on. Some clubs rather see their own people DJing, but if you’re great at and love what you do, no one can really hate on you. A lot of the time, no matter how good you are, what matters is who you know, so it’s important to build a network.
M.O.I. JR: Where do you want to take your DJing in five years? Where do you want to take your media-making in the next five years?
Beats Me: Right now I DJ about twice a week in the city. I’d like to be DJing all around the country and teaching people all over the world about hip hop culture. I would also like for it to pay my bills. As for the media, I would like to have a TV show showcasing and teaching hip hop all over the world.
M.O.I. JR: How do people get up with you?