Why Is Everyone So Upset With DJs?

We've long considered the deejay an essential part of the Hip Hop tapestry, whether he was an actual group member spinning for the MCs, actually producing the records or debuting select tracks on mixtapes and radio stations and turning otherwise unknown acts into the next big star. In recent days, the DJ has been blamed for everything from the death of Hip Hop to global warming. What gives?

A couple of months ago we asked if radio deejays were still relevant, but questioning relevancy is quite different from flat-out disses. Lil' Wayne was furious at mixtape deejays last summer when one of them supposedly leaked tracks from his now double platinum The Carter III. Jermaine Dupri would later declare the deejay dead. And Diddy recently blamed deejays for the poor state Hip Hop is in:

"People have figured out the formula when they make records for radio, and DJs ain't DJs no more," Diddy explained to MTV. "DJs don't break records no more. DJs don't play album cuts. DJs play what is going to move the crowd. DJs, they don't expose you to the newness. That was the DJs' thing. Hip Hop is in a recession also. It's not dead, it's definitely way better than where it was at, as far as with 'Ye, T.I. and with Jeezy. It's so much great stuff out there, the responsibility has to come with the DJs."

It can be argued that some of mainstream Hip Hop's current wack aesthetic can be directly attributed to him, but that's beside the point (and Doo Wop already addressed the matter). Today's deejay has it rough. While I don't feel a great deal of sympathy for the obnoxious types that shout over records and present themselves as artists (DJ Khaled, anyone?), I know that the traditional deejay (that's hired to rock crowds and spin records) is gradually being phased out by software and shiny devices. As for mixtape deejays, is there any such thing as an exclusive anymore?
What are these guys being blamed for, exactly? Not being able to get a good job? What's the point of complaining about deejays instead of working with them and taking things to the next level? They are an integral part of the culture; throwing them under the bus when many of them are responsible for the Diddys of this world being multi-billionaires is awfully counterintuitive. 

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5 Responses

  1. I blame the artist who keep spitting the stupidest sh** you have ever heard. I mean come on superman dat hoe??? from the window to the walls, till the sweat falls off my balls??? weak rappers, a bad command of the english language, lack of education = the current state of hip hop.

  2. i actually have to agree with diddy on this one. the djs job used to be breaking records, but now it djs are all to quick to only play top 40 hits. put a little work in.

  3. AS A DJ, who has been in the game for 20 years (street and commercial radio) I agree with Diddy. DJs are to blame, to a certain extent.
    The DJ has become lazy. Tecnology (which I love by the way) allows us to have access to more music than ever. Unfortunately, most "tech DJs" have become nothing more than playlist followers who swap each others hard drives. Gone are the days of diggin' for the perfect beat to break on your crowd. Gone are the days of covering up your labels from people leaning over your equipment to say what new gem you are playing. Enter the days of taking requests, playing ti safe and pleasing the promoters.
    The new DJs are SCARED little boys and girls who undercut each other to get the next gig. I mean how hard is it play Top 40? My 2yr. could do that. Further, people don't dance anymore so they are not at most clubs for the groove, they are there for the booze (and VIP, and bottle service, yada, yada...). They want to hear what they know from the start of the party til the end.
    So I think it's fair to be mad at some DJs because most don't even know how much THEY control the party, not the promoter. As far as radio, DJs have no control, neither do their Program Directors. .
    Ok, I know I'm just rambling so allow me to stop here before I REALLY start venting.

  4. The quickest way to be out of a job in the radio game is to try to break records.
    As Drack pointed out, DJs have a combined total of 0% control in radio. When DC's WPGC recently tanked in the ratings, the first thing they did was cut the mixshows. And these mixshows were already programmed to death with what the jocks could play and what they weren't allowed to play.
    The club game gets a bit murky. It's not as bad as radio but DJs are definitely at a huge disadvantage. Audiences have been conditioned by technology to expect their own personal iPod experience in the club. That means all the hits, all night AND an expectation that they can directly (and often rudely) dictate what you play. The promoters feed this mentality.
    True DJs can circumvent this. True DJs can keep overbearing audiences at bay, drop the hits, make the promoter their money AND still be creative. There are cats doing it, it can be done, but it takes dedication and a high level of skill, which is an increasingly rare combination these days.
    Technology has allowed a lot more cats to get into the game with none of the apprenticeship that was built into the craft in earlier times. Lots of these folks are lazy. They've never carried a crate. They have instant access to any tune they could possibly want. They haven't paid dues. I'm not mad at 'em. It just forces me to be even doper.
    Oh yeah, f*** Diddy and Jermaine Dupri.

  5. People need to decide what they want to hear and stop blaming the DJ. Do some research and figure out your musical taste and stop bothering the employees. Would you go to a sushi restaurant if you don't like seafood? I hope not.
    DJs are being blamed for doing their job. Currently, I would say that a popular club/radio DJ's job is to keep people moving, purchasing, and returning. In these situations, the DJ is going to play the tracks that have had success on the radio. Often times these popular clubs broadcast on popular radio stations. So, what is the popular DJ to do; they are going to play the tracks the masses have already approved.
    It is up to the public that wants to hear different music to seek out the venues and radio stations with DJs and programmers playing what they want to hear. If you don’t like popular music don’t listen to it.
    People could find a DJ, venue, event, media outlet and support that entity and stop worrying about what's going on somewhere else and blaming anyone other than himself or herself.