No requests

As I’ve stated before, I’m not really a DJ. While I do sometimes DJ at bars or small parties, I’m not skilled in blending or scratching. Luckily for me, I live in 2012 where all you need to be a DJ is a pulse, a Serrato box and I-tunes.
To be honest, it’s been a while since I spun anywhere cause , well, it’s simply never that fun. At it’s best, you play music for your drunken friends and , at it’s worst, you realize that the world as we know it has gone completely down the crapper. The problem with DJing nowadays is that you’re not allowed to have your own personality. Unless you’re a famous taste maker, you’re just kinda forced to play what people wanna hear (if you wanna keep people inside the place you are djing at). It would be easy to blame some huge corporation for this but, in reality, the blame falls squarely on the shoulders of the people. It’s them who want to ehar there shitty songs and it’s them who keep this ball rolling downhill into a world where people will make cases for why LMFAO aren’t THAT bad. As a dj, this is frustrating for any person with a speckle of taste and backbone cause you end up begrudgingly playing shit that you wouldn’t listen to on your own time at gunpoint.
I’ve always fantasized of a party where I could play what I like. Old soul shit, weird hip hop, classic obscure hip hop, random rock songs , old reggae…you know, the shit I listen to on my own time. There was a time when i was like “Hell, I’m a somewhat known musical guy (in some circles). I should be able to do whatever I want and people will be in to it…”
I could not have been more wrong about that. What inevitably would happen every time is that, I’d be spinning at some bar, playing music I like. People would be chilling and drinking. At some point I play a song that starts a few people dancing. That becomes contagious and leads to more people dancing. Now, in theory, this is great cause, as a DJ, getting people to dance is the goal. Better yet if they’re dancing to music you actually enjoy. But the problem is, the theory is flawed. Once people start dancing, that’s when the requests come in. This is when people decide “Okay, enough of this crap, time to impose my will on this human jukebox over here.”
From there, it’s all down hill. And much like the dancing, requests are contagious. Once a person sees another person asking, it opens the door for them to do the same.
I had forgotten about this hell until the other night when I went and visited a friend who was DJing at a bar. He needed a bathroom/smoke break so he asked me to cover for him for 10 minutes. I obliged and within minutes I remembered why I hated doing that shit. I was flooded with terrible people requesting terrible music in a terrible way.
So, with that in mind, let’s take a look at the different type of Song requesters:

1)Drunk girls

I seriously can not think of a worse human being than the drunk girl song requester. Maybe if drunken Hitler was requesting songs but , at least, his requests would be weird…And not Britney Spears or fucking Drake.
Drunk girls are relentless, reckless and entitled when it comes to talking to DJ’s. I think they assume because they own a vagina and I own a penis, I’m going to give a fuck about their opinion on some level. Unfortunately for them, I don’t. I’ve never fucked a drunk song requester girl and it’s not gonna start now. So, as you can imagine, they are less than thrilled when they’re bullshit flirting doesn’t work and they walk away without a single shitty song played.

2)The person with a list

Every now and then you get a person who will hand you a napkin with a list of songs they’d like to hear. They’re almost never polite and just sorta give you a look like “You’re welcome”. If anything on the list is in the ballpark of what I’m playing, I’ll consider it but, typically, it is not.

3)The “If you fail, try again” guy/girl

This is the person who will ask you for something and when you tell them you don’t have it, they sit by you trying to think of another song they could request. Cause, you know, them getting a successful request off is REALLY important.
It’s maddening. The biggest problem with people like this is that 9/10 times, they they don’t take the hint that you not having a song means there’s a good chance you might not have songs like it. For instance” Oh, you don’t have any Pitbull? Okay…You got any Reggaeton? Nope? bout Daddy Yankee?” This kinda thing can go on forever until they either give up or finally reach a meeting point where you, the DJ , agrees to play something just to get them to go away. Most arguments I’ve gotten into with people have stemmed from this type of dipshit. I’m a very calm person and always polite to people but the last time this happened to me, I screamed on some 21 year old girl and told her to get the fuck out of my face. It worked. Perhaps that is the go-to method of getting through to people…

4)The “I’mma just kick it” guy

This is always a guy. Girls come and flirt but they eventually go away. This dude will make himself super comfortable and just look over you shoulder and ask to scroll through your playlists. It blows my mind that anyone cause be that fucking annoying but they do indeed exist.

5)The four leaf clover

This is the person who , somehow, requests the perfect song. It’s happened maybe 2 times in my life and i was blown away. There’s also an off shoot of this who is the person who will request some awesome obscure shit that I know, but don’t own. I appreciate these people and they’re the ONLY people who get a pass.

Okay, Now that we’ve covered the types, let’s go over the worst types of requests…

1)”Can you play some (insert Genre here)?”
To a Dj, this is the most offensive shit ever. It’s basically saying “Hey, i don’t like what you’re playing so play this completely different style of music”.
The amount of times I’ve been playing a set of old soul shit or 90’s hip hop and had some stupid cunt come up to me and be like “Hey, can you play some house music?” in enough to make me go on a killing spree. I think what gets me is the disconnect that person must have from grasping the idea that a DJ is a person and not a monkey there for their amusement. The two problems with this question are a)The requested genre ALWAYS sucks. b)Requesting an entire Genre is pretty fucking vague.
For instance, you ask me if I can play some Reggae. What does that mean? You wanna hear some Toot and the Maytals? Bob Marley? Buju Banton? Or do you just wanna hear Shaggy? I have no idea. Luckily, I don’t give a shit and go fuck yourself.

2)”Can you play the song you just played again?”

Nah bitch…I can’t.
This is especially infuriating when someone requests a song you just played, you tell them you just played it and they’re like “Oh, but I was outside smoking hen you played it”
Oh really??!??!?!?! Lemme just start the fucking entire night over for you then, princess! I wouldn’t want you to miss out on hearing “Crazy” by Gnarls Barkley for the millionth time in your life.

3) “Can you play something I can dance to?”
This is only annoying when I’m playing something very danceable. Granted, I understand that they really mean “can you play a song I’m familiar with cause I lack the ability to dance to something I’m not 100% comfortable hearing”.

4) The new pop song hit requested in an empty bar/venue
I get that you wanna drunkly dance with your friends to that new Rihanna song. It’s invigorating to hear her rationalize dating the guy that beat the shit out of her. I get that. But, if it’s dead inside, no one is dancing and people are just kinda chilling, why try to turn it into a club? It’s a bar. Lemme just play good music and save that club shit for the clubs.

I think I’ve told this before but once I was djing and it was the end of the night. Like 3:30. And there we like 5 people in the bar. This drunk dude comes up to me and requests “Jump around” by House of Pain. I just looked at him and said “Dude, do you REALLY want to hear “Jump Around”? Have you not heard it enough in your life?”
He looked back and me and was like “Huh…i guess your right…”
Right then I realized that people who request songs don’t do it cause they have to, they do it because they can. Some are more level headed about it and some are complete lunatics. But, just know, the next time you’re out at a spot and you’re about to go talk to the DJ about whatever shitty song it is you wanna hear, don’t do it. Let him be. Let him do his job. If you don’t like the music, you can leave. Then, you both win cause you don’t wanna hear his music and he doesn’t want you’re dumb ass breathing Vodka tonic breath all up in his ear talking bout “On my god! How do you not own a single Katy Perry song?!?!”
Also, get some taste you fucking ingrates.

The plight of the DJ.

A common misconception about me (in the music world at least) is that I’m a DJ. While I do, in fact, “DJ” in the ‘I-play-songs-at-bars-for-people’ kinda way. I possess none of the skills of an actual DJ: I can’t really blend records, I don’t scratch, all I can do is pick songs and play them. Pretty simple.

Due to this misconception about me I’ve been given opportunities over the years to “DJ”, which has allowed me to make some easy money going to a bar and playing music for people while they drink. Sometimes it’s been in a bigger forum but most of the time it’s some low profile type shit. I prefer it that way cause, like I said, I’m not a DJ.

When I first started getting these gigs I really didn’t have a clue about the mindset one must enter when going into DJing. “Rocking A Party” was something I had never considered. To my mind it was; “I’m gonna play what ever I like and people will like it cause I have good taste.” This was my first mistake.

My first consistent gig was a party called ‘Block Bleeda’ the premise of which, was that I would play only ignorant and offensive rap. I was all about this, so I made a shit load of CD’s (they had CD turntables) of rap you couldn’t play around your mom and, about halfway through the night, I realized this just wasn’t gonna work. The first thing I learned was that people leave a place when they don’t like the music. Secondly I learned that in most cases, girls dictate what music you’re playing and girls, for the most part, are not crazy about Geto Boy album cuts about slapping women, who knew?

I also got my first taste of something that in the past few years has become the bane of my existence as a DJ, requests (I’ll get back to this later). All of these things combined caused me to seriously reevaluate my whole approach as a DJ. The truth is, a DJ is only as good as his crowd and nine times out of ten you’re playing for the lowest common denominator. When I started I thought I could play shit people had never heard and on the strength of the songs goodness, it would go over. Boy, was I ever wrong.

I mean, there are times when that flies, like when people are just chilling and drinking in a sitting position. However, the second dancing starts, all bets are off, dancing forces a reluctant DJ’s hand like nothing else. I could be playing rare soul b-sides all night to the delight of a small yet faithful crowd but as soon some dumb asshole offers up a shitty request and I actually go along with it, it’s a wrap. As soon as a girl hears a song her and her friends love, a song that they have, in all likelihood, heard a bazillion times (and would skip over if it came on in their Ipod) and they start dancing the playlist is forever changed. As a DJ, it’s my job to keep these people here, keep them happy, keep them drinking, and keep them dancing. I am no more than a glorified juke box or a sorority girl’s itunes on random.

I recently considered making a sign to put above my head when I DJ that would read something like this:

“Requests will be heard but rarely accepted. Please save your breath and don’t bother requesting anything on this list:
-House Music
-Techno Music
-Lil’ Wayne/Drake
-Dancehall (Sorry, I just hate that shit)
-Any music I’ve had a part in making
-99% of music made after 2004

I don’t own any of this shit and, even if I did, I would not play it.

Also, try and stay within genre when thinking of requests. If I’m playing hip hop, it’s unlikely I’ll be mixing in some ABBA anytime soon. If I’m playing a dance set, don’t ask to hear some slow shit. Simply put, use your fucking head.

Thank you and please leave me alone.”

I’m sure it wouldn’t go over well (or even get noticed) but it would be fun to have to point at when one of those things was inevitably requested.

Requests almost always suck. 9 out of 10 requests are when some drunk girl walks up to you (almost always with her sheepish boyfriend trailing) fake flirting so you can play some jersey shore party boat anthem for her and her stupid friends. Other times, it’s people requesting songs that I simply refuse to believe anyone needs to hear. One time I was DJing and the night was waning, not much dancing going on and people were basically chilling. At which point, some dude requested ‘jump around’ and ‘Nothing But A G Thing.’ Both great songs, obviously, but do you REALLY ever need to hear them again? I actually said that to the guy and he was like, “Yeah, I guess you’re right…”

I know how drunk people are, something happens to a person when they get drunk and they only wanna hear the most familiar shit. Or, to take it a step further, they want to hear the most familiar and corny shit. Some of the most successful (at party rocking) bar DJ’s I know stick to strictly guilty pleasure songs. I’m not stranger to that, trust me when I say I’d way sooner play ‘The Thong Song’ than anything that’s on the radio right now.

It’s hard to have a backbone in DJing anymore because people are programed to only want to hear certain songs, any deviation from those songs and you’re walking on thin ice. Not to be too wistful, but back in the day, I could have sworn DJ’s broke records and people gave shit a chance before getting in a huff and requesting the safest song possible.

Here’s an example of what it’s like DJing nowadays:

I DJ’d the night Michael Jackson died. While I was bummed about his passing (not too bummed because, you know, famous people die too), I also knew that I would be playing a whole lotta M.J. that night, not a problem, M.J. made dope music. I usually play a few of his songs regardless of him being alive or dead. In a weird selfish DJ kinda way, I was relieved it was him who died and not some asshole like Mariah Carey or Madonna. The thought of having to play that bullshit for a bunch of weepy idiots would be enough for me to call in sick.

Anyway, I get on around 11 and immediately people are requesting MJ. I knew this was coming but I also had planned on doing an hour or 2 of his shit a little later. You know, let the people get drunk and then drop it on them like everyone in the room isn’t 100% expecting it. However, as these requests came in I had just got on and didn’t want to blow my load. I told all the people this and they were like “but I’m leaving soooooon!” In my mind, that meant “You’re not buying anymore drinks and thusly, are not of importance to me.” Eventually, I cracked and got into the MJ set earlier then I had hoped and, of course, people went nuts.

I was playing Jackson 5 shit all the way up to ‘Black and White’ (I draw the line after that). Now, here’s the revealing part; During this hour plus MJ set, no less than 4 people came up to me, WHILE I’M PLAYING NOTHING BUT MJ and said, “Yo, dude, you should really play some Michael Jackson.” Yes…that happened…over and over again.

The moral of the story is, most people are complete fucking imbeciles and most DJ’s are music snob-pricks and yet, in order for this to all work, we gotta meet halfway. To be a successful DJ, you gotta eat a little shit..but you also have to draw the line somewhere. So, next time you’re out and you decide it’s your duty to let the DJ know what you feel like hearing, take a deep breath and reconsider. If, after that breath, you still feel the need, do so as nicely and painlessly as possible:

Suggest a song.
If he has it, he might play it. If not, you tried and no harm was done.
DO NOT hang out by the DJ booth brainstorming the name of that Ashanti song you love because you need a “replacement request” for the one that just got nixed.
Let it go and accept your loss.

Trust me, it’s for the better.

With all this, you may wonder why I even bother. Well, it’s because when I DJ, at the end of the night, I feel like I’ve made a difference.
The difference of dance.

Just kidding, they pay me and I love money.