(Photo: Courtesy DJ Suss One)
The DJ plays a variety of rolls in today’s music game and New York’s DJ Suss One is proving he can fill them all. Suss established his name in New York’s club scene before parlaying that into a weekly gig on New York’s Power 105 (Weekends 10 P.M. to Midnight). Next up is his own album, The Feature Presentation, which will include his newest banger “Champion.” The star-studded track, featuring verses from NY heavy hitters Jadakiss, French Montana and Lloyd Banks as well as reggae star Junior Reid and boxing champ Floyd Mayweather, hit the Web on Monday [December 12]. But a hit record and album are only the beginning for the jack-of-all-trades, who says his next endeavor will be movies. For a preview of things to come, BET.com spoke to Suss about the making of “Champion,” his attempts to unite New York rap and the ever-changing role of DJs in music.
BET.com: There are so many different characters on “Champion,” how did that track come together?
DJ Suss One: I’m working on my project so I’m always going through beats and I was going through a bunch of beats from my boy Reefa. He had this joint that Junior Reid had already cut the hook to, but it had no drums or nothin’. I told him, “This could be hot.” I like motivational music, so I had him work on the drums, made the phone calls to French (Montana), Jadakiss and (Lloyd) Banks. It actually went to a few artists before those artists got on it. I sent it to Rick Ross, I sent it to Fabolous, I sent it to Jeezy’s people. But at the end of the day I ended up getting Kiss, French and Banks on it. And then I was like, “How can we spice this record up to make it a movie?” When you think of champions now-a-days, who do you think of? And (it was) obviously Mayweather because he’s the undefeated champion of today’s society. So I met up with my boy P-Reala, Mayweather’s right-hand man and Mayweather’s artist. I flew me and my team out to Vegas, I met up with Mayweather, we got in the studio — it ended up being me, 50 Cent and Mayweather in the studio — and Floyd was cool about it. He liked the track, he heard it and got on it. It was all love.
Does Floyd seem like he’s serious about getting into music? Are we gonna start hearing verses from him next?
On the track he’s just talking, doing his Money Mayweather thing; the money, the cars. But he has a label and he’s definitely trying to focus on music. But not him so much, just his label and his artists.
There are a lot of different lanes for a DJ to make a name today — radio, clubs, making records. What defines a DJ in hip hop today?
The DJ is the crowd motivator. The DJ is also the person who makes the public aware of new talent and new music. I consistently break new records in the clubs for artists and on the radio. I feel the DJ is the center of the party and he’s the reason a lot of talent gets heard and pushed. The DJ is always gonna be needed in hip hop; in music period.
Most DJs emphasize bringing artists together. Was that your aim on the “Champion” track?
I really wanted to unify New York. With the history of DJ tracks, you see that they unify a lot of people. Like, Khaled has it on lock. He has all these artists collaborating that might not have on their own. Clue did that, Flex has done that before, and Kay Slay. I’m just trying to do my take on that. And I wanted to unify New York. When is the last time you heard a real unified New York track like that?
It’s been a minute. Speaking of unity, nowadays you don’t see those collabs unless someone like Khaled is behind them. Why do you think that is?
I don’t know exactly what’s goin’ on, but one thing about hip hop in general is it’s very competitive. And in my opinion it’s a lot of petty beef going on in hip hop. But it’s very competitive and some artists don’t like working with other artists but I just know I’m trying to make New York unified so we can all stick together and make great music.
Do you like the direction New York music is headed? 50 Cent is making a comeback and young guys like A$AP Rocky show a lot of promise. Is New York in a good place right now?
Yeah, I like a lot of the new music. We’re stepping our game back up. We just need to unify more. Like A$AP Rocky is definitely hot. Fab has consistently been doing his thing. Nicki Minaj is from New York — whether people know it or not — and she’s on top of the game right now. She’s from Queens. Red Café got his record coming out and Maino is doing his thing. I just feel like I’m trying to get all these artists to unify and really mess with each other and really stick together as a team. I’m trying to do a record with Fab next. I’m gonna try to unify all these artists to work as a team and bring good music back to the East Coast.
The title of your upcoming album is also a reference to your love of movies. Can we expect to see you get into the movie game next?
I named it The Feature Presentation because of my whole love for movies in general. And plus, that’s just the thing in music now. Every time a party’s poppin’ people are like, “it’s a movie.” I have a genuine love for movies.… Look for me to do some movies in the future. Mastermind Music and Mastermind Cinema. I’m doin’ thrillers and horror flicks, that’s my love right now. It’s something I don’t really say too much because it doesn’t really connect with hip hop music but I’m really into horror flicks and thrillers.
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