Thursday, May 1, 2008

ARTIST SPOTLIGHT: A Tribe in the East with DJ Mike Rizzy

Come vibe with Deejay Mike Rizzy, who be bangin out the hottest ride out jams while bring us back in the day of high top fades and rat tails at Don't sleep on the New Jack Swing mix!

Who is Deejay Mike Rizzy?

What's going on? I'm DJ Mike Rizzy 1/5 of the Kuya Tribe VA DJ Crew from Virginia Beach. Lived In Virginia all my life from a military family. Other than that hip hop is basically my life with a little bit of nba basketball and food on the side.

Who is the Kuya Tribe?

Kuya Tribe actually started around the mid 90's. I'm actually not an original member i'm just kind of carrying the torch. But the whole inspiration behind Kuya Tribe is DJ Kuya D. Kuya D and Delinger are from Queens New York and later moved to VA where i met them. But Kuya D had a large impact on the filipino party scene in NY in the early 90's and carried it over to VA. Kuya D used to be in a crew with DJ Roli Rho of 5th Platoon before 5th Platoon was around and they used to do a whole lot of parties all around New York. So basically it mostly started in New York with Kuya D, Delinger, Ir-Y, Mad Ryan, J-Rule, and Rik Guyver who you know now as the famous film director Rik Cordero. They had a pretty large buzz of their own with their mixtapes during the late 90's and spinnin at a bunch of spots. Eventually i linked up with Kuya D and Delinger and we did pretty much all the clubs around the Virginia Beach/Norfolk area then added Disko Dave and DJ Vaperz to our roster.

Why do you take time to make mixes for

I was fortunate enough to have an extremely talented circle of friends around me that excel in all different types of professions. A few of my friends founded a very succesful Forex trading website ( The other DJ's in my crew (Kuya D, Delinger, Disko Dave, Vaperz) are some of the most talented dj's i've ever seen. My roomate Josh Verdes ( is an extremely skilled musician. And another good friend of mine happens to be a pretty well known blogger by the name of HappySlip. So being around these people really inspired me to find my own outlet to express myself musically. Also like i said earlier, i'm really a hip hop junkie to the fullest extent so i wanted to find a way to showcase the music that i personally like and not play just what's on the radio.

Who introduced you to hip hop?

What really introduced me to hip hop was MTV and BET. I was that little kid at home standing next to the VCR recording all my favorite hip hop videos. I was lucky enough to come up and witness what they call the "golden age" of hip hop. Rakim, Boogie Down Productions, Kane, Lyte, Latifah, Slick Rick, Public Enemy, the whole native tongue movement, the list goes on and on. That's all it took. No looking back after that. I really didn't start dj'n until about 98. I met DJ's Kuya D and Delinger and the rest of the original Kuya Tribe crew around 95 or so and I would always try to learn on their set. It took me to graduate from high school until i could finally afford my own set of turntables and do my thing.

We know about Chad Hugo, Timbaland, and Missy Elliot but not many people know that they are from Virginia Beach. Why do you think that is?

The hip hop scene in Virginia Beach is big. This city is mainly a military town so you really have a big melting pot of people from all over which is why we can listen to Dre and 2pac, then listen to Nas and Jay, then onto TI, Wayne, etc. But the thing is that i think we get overlooked a lot. All those artists you just mentioned Chad, Missy, Timbaland they all got their starts from being discovered by other major artists. Teddy Riley discovered Chad and Pharrell, Devante from Jodeci discovered Timbaland and Missy and that's another i noticed about Virginia Beach. I read interviews from Phonte of Little Brother and he mentions how your home state really doesn't support you until you get noticed everywhere else and i kind of feel the same way. I know it's probably not like that as much in New York or California but i know for a fact a bunch of these other states don't want anything to do with you unless your on MTV or something like that. Which is why i decided to make the podcast because i know there's people out there that's into the same music that i am.

How are Filipinos involved with hip hop in Virginia Beach?

In the hip hop scene most of the filipinos i've come in contact with are either DJ's, Graff Artists, or B-Boys. I don't really know too many filipino mc's. I probably know a lot more singers and dancers than anything else. Photo: Ir-Y, Mad Ryan, and Rik Guyver (Rik Cordero) of Kuya Tribe

Do you think there are big differences in Filipino DJs in California and those in VA Beach?

In my opinion there's a huge difference between dj's in California and Va. Beach. For one there's a much much much larger DJ community in California. There's a large filipino population in Virginia Beach but there really isn't that many DJ's. A lot of the DJ's from this area don't really do it anymore. There were definitely a lot more DJ's in the late 90's than now. But the styles between us and Cali are really different. A lot of the west coast dj's i've heard have more of an upbeat club style to their mixes. I can really only speak for me and my crew but we're more New York influenced and play mostly boom bap type stuff. We don't really play a lot of crunk or snap music. Honestly i can't stand it but that's just me.

How do you think being a military town makes VA Beach unique in terms of your hip hop community?

Being from a military town really gives you an appreciation for all different types of cultures and music. My crew has has been spinnin all over this area for a long time and we get all types of requests from all eras of hip hop, to reggae and soca, to house, electronica, you name it. So i think to be a succesful dj in this area you really need to have a well rounded knowledge of music.

What would you want people to know about the hip hop scene in VA Beach?

I just really want people to notice that there's more than Timbaland and Missy out here. There's people out here that really live hip hop and have respect for all the elements of it. But at the same time I'm glad that innovative and trendsetting musicians like Timbaland, Missy, Neptunes are from VA and made a huge impact in the game. It could be a lot worse. D'Angelo, Skillz, Chris Brown, and Trey Songs are also from VA don't sleep on them.

What do you think are the new innovations made turntablism and DJing?

You know i was the first person in my circle to make the switch from vinyl to digital. And at first I would be a little bitter towards dj's that started on Serato and just copied hard drives from people. When i was coming up it was hard enough just to afford turntables then on top of that you had to save a whole bunch of money just to rack up enough records to do a gig. So to see people just people giving away like 20 gigs of music upset me at first but i got over it. But technology is really changing the game. They're coming with all these midi consoles now so pretty soon you won't even need turntables. I love my technics to death but i know how much easier life would be if i only had to bring a laptop and small console to gigs. I remember breaking my back carrying a coffin and 10 crates to each gig. There's also a growing popularity of Video DJ's so that might really be on the rise. But other than that i probably see a lot more people adding effects and synths and stuff like that to their sets and a bunch of other little things to set themselves apart from other dj's.

What's your next move in the DJ game?

I'll definitely be producing a lot more music for HappySlip. I have a bunch of artists i'm currently producing for so i'll be putting out a bunch of music in the future and also i'm going to be concentrating on doing a lot of out of town gigs. On top of that i'll still be giving the people new mixes on a regular basis so check for me.


gianacarmen said...

Growing up in VA Beach, I have manyyyyy fond memories of San Lorenzo celebrations and even Excess evenings with KuyaTribe on deck.. :) They really are an institution back home, so thanks for posting this! vA vA vA..

Anonymous said...

Whattup, DJ Delinger here, Mike Rizzy is doing it big!!! Thanks for the shout outs, and thanks for Interviewing one of the Tribe!!!


Anonymous said...

Mike Rizzy reppin the fam!!! Great interview!

Kuya Tribe fo' life....

Anonymous said...

Mike Rizzy is holdin it down no doubt out in VA. I grew up listening to Kuya Tribe when their mixtapes were in circulation. KTP's rep is undisputed in VA. I'd like to see you guys go worldwide That'd be outta control! And you're right. Cali got different flava when I came out here. But ain't nothin beats hip-hop the way it is back on the East Coast. Keep doin your thing homie.

MV said...

I'm constantly amazed at the interconnectedness of the DJ scenes in the mid-90s. The migration of DJs and dancers between NY-VA-CA-FL-WA makes my mind explode.

I have much respect for Kuttin Kandi and 5th Platoon, and Kuya Tribe definitely has been reppin hard for some time. Much love and respects to yall.

Was Kuya Tribe really called A Tribe Called Kuya in the beginning?

Anonymous said...

So when are you gonna touch down in the Bay Area? Whats good Mike!


Anonymous said...

Listen to Mike Rizzy.

KTP 4L from NY to VA to SF

Ken2Go! said...

Yo Rizz,

Good to see ya still on the climb, yo.
Gettin' mad props for yourself and yer boys.

Heard you got a crazy beat for happyslip going on right about now-- plus a new jam with Jarrell Perry on Deck as well.

Keep it crankin' bro.
Just doin' whacha luv!

Keep it real,

Christian said...

Keep up the great work, Mike Rizzy! I got all your mixes on my iPod and bump them all the time in my car.

Do you know if it's still possible to get the extra levels and audioptiks cds? Mine were taken when my car was jacked. So sad. I grew up on those mixes!

Christian, NJ.

gianacarmen said...

Mike (& Friends) -

Were any of y'all ever involved w/ the Zulu Chapter down in VA Beach? I remember they used to throw events over at Mt. Trashmore back in the day, but was def too young to go.

Also, any thoughts on how All Skool, 7 Deadly Cities, etc. came about? I know these events focused largely on b-boying (7DC particularly), but what was the DJ community's involvement in these events?

In addition, how has KTP's interactions with student groups (such as FIND, which Mark has previously highlighted in this blog as hotbed for cultural exchange) been over time?

Last, any word on how the surf and skate culture have shaped, if at all, the hip hop scene in VA Beach?

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Anonymous said...

hot damn. where'd that pic surface from?

keep up the good work boys.

Anonymous said...

Man when you were in California what were you listening to? You were probably in L.A or something because the dj's (except the Beat Junkies) there like playing that jiggy booty shaking music and all those retarded mashups. They are more on that Vegas style djing. You should come up to the San Francisco Bay Area if you wanna hear some good shit, no not the hyphy. Go to a Triple Threat Dj's event, Club 6 or Milk. The Bay has some of the Best Deejays in the World. Check it out!

Anonymous said...

Filipinos adopt customs and trends as most cultures do. However not realizing that Hip Hop is a social engineering plot to corrupt the youth in a narcissistic, thug-ready-for-prison mindset. Look at the clothing, the low-waist hanging trousers is indicative of male whores in prison who use that mode of dress to advertise they are ready for sex. The genre is not really something to be emulated and the music industry as well as Filipinos SHOULD BE AWARE OF THIS to reject this. It is a distraction ploy to ruin Filipinos to be easily manipulated and contaminated with bad a culture that was supplanted by the CIA and social engineering groups who wish to depopulate the planet of undesirable races. Filipinos should be smarter than this, not just go along with something because it is "trendy."