With the late great DJ Roc Raida as his mentor, it's no wonder Harlem-based DJ Boogie Blind is known around the world for his exceptional scratching, beat-juggling, and DJ battle skills. After winning the 2001 Vestax battle, he was asked to join legendary DJ collective The X-ecutioners on the road, taking on many roles, including soundman and manager. Six years later, he officially became a member. These days, he acts as DJ for Lord Finesse and Pharoahe Monch, and tours around the world showcasing his talents on the turntable. We recently spoke with Boogie Blind about his time with The X-ectuioners and how to measure DJ skills today. He headlines 45 Sessions this Friday at the Legionnaire Saloon in Oakland.
What was the most important thing you learned from your mentor Roc Raida?
I learned that you have to build relationships and you always can learn more about your craft.
Do you still hang out with your crew (The X-ecutioners) today?
Yes. I just did the Nashville DMC with Total Eclipse and Precision. I'm still in contact with Sean C and LV, and Rob is in Connecticut.
What's your favorite memory of working with them?
Doing nonstop tours and still practicing for battles during my first year touring with them.
You've been doing battles for the majority of your career. How do you think DJ skills are measured these days?
Battling has changed with the technology. You can do a lot more, but you still have to practice. I think it's more business than talent nowadays. You have to be able to keep relevant in whatever lane you choose or create.
With social media a key factor in many DJs' careers today, what do you think is important in branding yourself?
Whether you have a website, blog, or just social media, you have to keep promoting yourself. People need to see what you're up to, because with so many DJs out there you can get lost in the mix very quick.
What are some current tunes we can catch you playing?
I like Hiatus Kaiyote and also Electric Empire. They're really good bands that I got put up on during my last trip to Australia.
What genres are you into that might surprise people?
Dubstep, trap, drum 'n' bass and broken beat (laughs).
What's next for you in terms of production?
I'm currently learning the new MPC Renaissance. I also produced a track for Pharaohe Monch on his new project with my homie Brandon Alexander on keys and bass. Be on the lookout for that.
Where can we catch you hanging out in the Bay?
I'm trying to connect with so many people I don't even know where to start! But mostly I like to try to go digging.