Thursday, February 12, 2009
Been lookin for good music? DJ KJ Butta always delivers the hot mixes. He is on steady rotation on my shuffle. Download his joints here.
As a native of Cerritos, CA (and now a transplant in NY), Butta was a major player in the Fil Am mobile DJ/turntablism scene in the 90s. His DJ crew Grand Groove was a dominant force in the area. He eventually united rival DJ crews to create the now internationally famous Cerritos All Stars. His 90s hip hop background is evident in his mixes. I think his music sensibilities stays true to a "boom-bap" 90s hip hop aesthetic, but he also interweaves it with a neo-soul theme. He plays John Legend, Platinum Pied Pipers, and Erykah Badu alongside Lootpack, Dialated Peoples, and Dilla. Honestly, half the artists he lays down on these mixes I have no clue who they are. That's why I'm spotlighting him because I think he has an ear for quality joints.
Pulling from the Cerritos All Stars website, here is a little snippet of his role in the creation of CAS, which produces probably the best, longest running online hip hop mix show:
"By the time the mid to early 90s materialized, the Cerritos D.J. scene was dominated by three groups: Audio FX, Grand Groove, Icon Events. The competition between the three groups was intense, and claimed more than a few lives. The future of Hip Hop looked grim, until D.J. Butta of Grand Groove decided to put an end to the silliness, and unite the three powerhouses. The troika put away their differences and united, behind the Funky President, becoming the Cerritos All Stars."
Butta was also the Director of Sales for the popular Mixwell fashion clothing and helped it become an international brand. So the next time you're at a hip hop event and see a fool wearin a Mixwell shirt, yup, Butta is the marketing mind behind that fashion line.
Butta is also compelling because he seems to bridge the deep-rooted Filipino mobile DJ scene with the newer radical, protest soundscape of current hip hop created by Fil Ams. He became exposed to the latter after he linked up with members of the poetry group Balagtasan Collective, a Pinay/oy troupe in LA which many of today's Angeleno artists grew (Kiwi, Bambu, Kat Carrido, Alfie Numeric, Johneric) out of. He evokes a variety of genres in the Fil Am hip hop tradition. Cleverly (almost subversively), he inserts a lesson-giving Native Guns, Bambu, Kiwi, and/or Blue Scholars track into his mixes. Oftentimes, especially with Bambu, Butta drops an unheard of, non-album track that I guess is only available on his mixtapes. I love, love, love the Bambu/Lauren Santiago on Butta's "Transitions Mix."
DJ KJ Butta spins at Pop Burger in Manhattan. Me, Boogie Brown from the Get Down, and Kristia from Doorknockers stopped by to say hi to him over the summer. Hooked us up with some burgers and drank. Roll through and see him every Thursday and Saturday night.