Very often you can tell apart those who actually work hard for what they’re accomplishing from those who benefit from luck. DJ Bizzon is one of those people who is hard at work to build up his reputation as not only a dope DJ, but as somebody who authentically loves Milwaukee and it’s Hip-Hop scene.
If you pay attention to fliers and Facebook, it’s possible that you’ve come across DJ Bizzon’s name quite frequently because I honestly don’t think this guy ever turns down an offer to DJ anything. It’s that work ethic, and willingness to put in time, that got him an opportunity to step in as the co-host of the MadKids radio show that holds down the traditional Hip-Hop spot every Tuesday night on 91.7FM WMSE with the growing legend, Kid Cut Up.
I didn’t have a chance to chop it up with Bizzon until very recently and with tons of people telling me how dope he is and seeing his name everywhere, I knew it was time to hit him up for an interview so we could all get to know DJ Bizzon a little bit better.
Everybody loves going to a party where the DJ actually knows what he/she is doing on the wheels of steel. On the other hand, a place can clear out pretty quickly if the DJ isn’t connecting with the crowd. Have you ever had to get on the tables after somebody has completely stunk it up? How did you bring the party back?
Well luckily I haven’t had to clean up a mess but I have had to do multiple different types of parties in one night. Working at Brooklyn’s, they’d throw birthday parties for 50 year-olds and then start up the club night right after. So, I’d see all the young people come in when the party was wrapping up with a “WTF?” look on their face ready to go home. But, once the party ended I just had to bring it and transition from an old school set into newer stuff. I’d usually drop a sample/break and then drop the new song that sampled it, and that let people know what was up. Or, I’d show up and they’d surprise me with whatever random event was going on, i.e. Fashion Show, 70’s/80’s/90’s party, kids party…even baby showers!
Every DJ has some tricks up their sleeve in the form of certain songs they employ when wanting a certain reaction. What is your “chill” song, “party” song, “end of the night” song, and “let’s get the ladies into it” song?
Hmmm, it’s so much. I like to chill it out pre-party with “Selfish” from Slum Village, or any SV for that matter. My party song is the Nick Catchdubs remix to “Champions” by Kanye West. It has the “Mama Said Knock You Out” beat with some hype extra vocals. I love it. The end of the night song depends on where I’m at but maybe something like “Umi Says” from Mos Def. It’s still uptempo but people can just vibe and relax, sing to it (we all do), and ease out. Although, one night I played “Dear Mama” from Tupac and the entire club was singing it. I’ll never forget that. It’s one of my favorite songs and to see so many people knowing all the lyrics was cool.
If a person pays attention to what’s going on out there, they’d see your name all over the place. You are on the MadKids show now as well. How did you go about getting a lot of these gigs?
Really? People know my crazy name? Literally, just by asking. The dominoes fell pretty cool for me. I hit up DJ Madhatter about doing the Saturday Session on 88.9FM. That led me to do a fund drive party and I met DJ Erich and Kid Cut Up which led to some gigs. I asked Kid Cut Up about the show and just sitting in to learn radio and after some weeks, he asked me to do the show with him. All the while I was DJing poetry open mics, just because I asked to do it, which led to my spot at Brooklyn’s. I’m guessing people thought I was alright at DJing too, so the practice I put in definitely helped.
You are very vocal about Milwaukee Hip-Hop needing to grow and get back to a certain level of authenticity. Please, if you would, break down for the reader how you could see Milwaukee Hip-Hop reach a greater amount of success while maintaining integrity.
Just by being open to different styles of rap and not getting caught up in boxes created by the media and themselves. We all know about the segregation in the scene here but I feel it’s because people either don’t know, or choose to ignore, all that’s going on. I’ve learned so much from talking with and listening to other DJs and I wish other artists would too. Also knowing the history of the music and where it comes from so you don’t make the same mistakes. People just try to do what they hear instead of what they really feel. I love checking out a DJ or rapper and after the set learning more about them as a person. If all artists would just tell their story, and not regurgitate what they hear, the success would come without sacrificing integrity. Money does not equal success.
Serato has been revolutionary in the world of DJing. Some people argue that it’s allowed a lot of people to DJ that shouldn’t be doing so while others champion the technology for what it can do for the seasoned veteran. How do you feel about the DJ moving further and further away from vinyl?
I, personally feel, just rock the party. Technology makes people lazy in all forms of life. With that said, you just have to make sure to stay ahead of the lazy people and be more creative. If somebody can kill a party with Serato or wax, or a mixture…in the end they killed the party. I do feel a DJ needs to learn the basics too. Like I said before, in whatever you do, know and respect the history while you take it to the next level. But, it’s very easy to tell when someone is wack and not using it right, the same way you can tell the difference between real oven baked mac and cheese versus Easy Mac. The microwave is good for some stuff, but you know what tastes better.
What made you get into DJing?
Two things: First, I would be out at a club and think of so many combinations of songs that sounded cool. Second, I felt I could do better than most DJ’s out there.
I was always into music and DJing from an early age thanks to my Mom and Dad. Then, once I was able to go out and check out different spots, I wanted to be in control and get the place going…or just bring something different than what people usually heard.
DJs often find themselves with lots of different music in their repertoire, and not all of it is flattering. I have a few friends that DJ and it’s always funny to hear them mention some of the stuff they have in their collection. What are some records or artists that people would be surprised to know that you have, and listen to? Do you have a crazy obsession with Conway Twitty or anything like that?
Naw, not that crazy. I do like David Bowie and the Doors a lot though. Datarock is DOPE! Funny story though, I remember the first rap song I really got into was “Gangsta’s Paradise” by Coolio. In middle school I told this guy and he whispered to his friend, “man, this fool’s favorite rapper is Coolio”. You live and you learn.
Let’s talk a little shop for the DJs that are going to read this interview. What equipment did you start out on, what are you rocking now, and what is the perfect set up in your mind that you hope to have one day?
I started out on Numark HDXs. They were CD turntables with hard drives on them. It was perfect for me because when I started most of my music was digital. Also, it was built like a regular vinyl table so it had a real feel to them. I had a very basic numark mixer as well. Now I have Technic 1200’s for turntables with Shure M44 needles along with a Rane TTM57 mixer. It has great faders and Serato built in. I’m very happy with my set up now but I wouldn’t mind a Rane 68, which is a 4 channel mixer with Serato built in to have 4 turntables at once. An EFX-1000 would add some nice effects. Any MIDI control with multiple banks would be cool for easy access, and 2 1000 watt subs wouldn’t hurt.
Are that any artists in Milwaukee or beyond that you want people to listen to or check out?
Yes tons: Raze, A.P.R.I.M.E., Trellmatic, Frankie Flowers, SPEAK Eazy, One Self, J. Cole, Jay Electronica, Ali Ra, Sypher Squad, Ole P, Def Harmonic, Fresh Cut Collective, Black Milk, Blu & Exile, Madcon, Murs, and many others. Sorry if I left anyone out but just keep your ears open for good stuff so y’all can tell me who to check out.
If somebody wants to get ahold of you to DJ one of their events, how can they do so?
My number is 414-899-5359. Hit me up directly. My email is firstname.lastname@example.org. Or just come talk to me on Mondays at Timbuktu for Sucka Free Mondays. On Facebook, look up “djbizzon miller” or “true hip hop takeover of Milwaukee”. That group is for everyone to post events and information about Hip-Hop in Milwaukee. I just want to provide people with a place to find events they would be interested in and something else besides Top 40’s. I need all y’all help.
Any shout outs?
DJ Madhatter, Kid Cut Up, DJ E.Rich, DJ Webspinna, Him and Her, my uncle from yo mama’s uncle DJ JDL, DJ DMT, Why B, THOR, DJ D-Wood, Steve Marx, Cover Girl, Blackberry, Diva G, Papa Pro, K-W, Tre, G-Nana, Marcus Doucette, DJ Avets, Chalice in the Palice, One Self, WMSE, Radio Milwaukee, Ali Ra, Nigel Wade, Bobby Drake, Ecko…thanks for all y’all help.
Bizzon sent along a mix that he recent did that you can check out by downloading it RIGHT HERE.
DJ Bizzon is also the DJ for the Hip-Hop Hates Breast Cancer event happening this Saturday at the Cactus Club. If you have $5, hate Breast Cancer, love Hip-Hop, and have a free moment or two, stop on by!