Originally posted on Nahright.com
Words by Daniel Isenberg (@StanIpcus)
Last week, we published Part 1 of our Mixtape Memories interview with DJ Whoo Kid, which featured an in-depth history of his start as a mixtape DJ in Queens, a breakdown of his collaborations with Stretch Armstrong and his first historic G-Unit mixtape series, and some incredibly entertaining stories about everything from being kidnapped by Big Pun to getting put in a headlock backstage at Saturday Night Live by Diddy.
In Part 2, Whoo Kid continues the exploration of his career as a mixtape DJ as he discusses being caught in the middle of artist beefs, revisits some of his favorite mixtape hosts, and dissects the bootleg game and how the Internet changed things in the streets. Plus much more, including how he dodged a fight with fellow mixtape titan DJ Kay Slay, his X-rated studio sessions with Lloyd Banks, hanging out with a young Lebron James on the G-Unit tour bus, and the time T.I. pulled a gun out on him at a Rewind DVD video shoot. Pow!
DJ Whoo Kid: “My first CD I had hosted was by Busta Rhymes when he was at his peak, when ‘Put Your Hands Where My Eyes Can See’ was out. He had songs with Janet Jackson and all this shit, so he was impossible to get. But I DJ’d Chris Lighty’s yearly backyard party [so I was able to link up with Busta through him].”
“But to really go up against Clue, I had to start getting crazy hosts. Like movie stars and shit. You get Samuel L. Jackson to host your shit, and some dickhead from Europe can come here from Canal Street and go to those bazaars and flea markets and [want to buy your tape]. It was like a cool, cult thing, like when people would buy comic books and shit. So a dickhead from Paris or Russia will buy it because they relate to the star, like, ‘Oh shit, this motherfucker got Samuel L. Jackson hosting [his tape].’ And they’ll buy it just because of that, and then they’ll figure out, ‘Oh shit, this tape is hot.’ ‘Cause I always was like, ‘If you don’t know who the fuck I am, maybe you’ll get [my tape] because of who’s hosting it.’
“And I was the king of marketing. I’d get Floyd Mayweather to host a tape right before he was about to have a fight. So I’d use the whole energy of him being out there in the streets, and everyone anticipating his fight. I’d always use the mentality of what’s going on in society to market shit.”
“I had to DJ Dave Chappelle’s first Chappelle’s Show, his pilot. And he was a funny dude at that time. He had all the movies, Half Baked and all this shit. So I was like, ‘Why don’t you do some drops?’ I didn’t know he was gonna be this ill, $100 million motherfucker. But I thought it would be cool for him to host it.
“I had Lebron before he went to the NBA, so he introduced me to the white bitches. He’d be like, ‘Yo man, these white bitches love me.’ When we used to tour, we would go through Ohio, so he would always come to the bus. He was G-Unit first, before he was with Jay Z. Maybe I see why [he rolls with Jay now], but he was G-Unit in the beginning. So he was on the tour bus doing drops and videos and stuff. His moms was on the tour bus hanging out. His mom was young. So we always hung out with him every time we came through. We’re still cool. When I DJ in the clubs out here, he comes through.
“[Tracy McGrady] was hilarious. He was fucking up a million times [doing his drops]. I had to meet him in Atlanta, so I went to his hotel. He had the moisture in the room. He was like, ‘Yeah, you know how I do.’ He had the bitches in the room. I’m like, ‘Aiight! Let’s do your drops, though. I don’t want to fuck up your moisture.’ But he kept fucking up. He couldn’t curse. He didn’t know how to curse. That’s why I put all the fuck-ups at the end. He was like, ‘Yeah, it’s Tracy M-m-m-m.’ People were dying on the fuck-up shits.
“I had Arnold Schwarzenegger do drops. You name it. Hulk Hogan. Macho Man. I got all those guys. I like to stay far ahead of what other DJs were doing. Samuel L. Jackson loved it. He’s a cool motherfucker. He’ll do shit like that all day. And now, I’m wilding out. I got Avicii doing drops. It’s fucking hilarious.”
50 Cent/G-Unit Beefs
“I don’t know why, but I was always not around during the shootouts, or the beef, or the craziness. Maybe it was fate that I wasn’t there. Even the most recent beatdown at the BET Awards when they beat up Rick Ross’ boy [Gunplay], I wasn’t there either. It’s like I was never meant to be there. The only thing I’ve ever seen was maybe the smacking of Fredro Starr or some shit, but I was never there for the real altercations, or the snatching of the chains. I’ve never been there.
“There never was really any plotting [when it came to 50 Cent and G-Unit making diss songs]. It would just be like, ‘Yo Whoo Kid, we got the record.’ Then I would just figure it out when I heard it. I’d never be there when he’d be like, ‘Yo fuck this nigga, we gonna diss this nigga.’ Because the way they do music, they literally do the shit overnight. They all meet up—Banks, 50, and Yayo—and they’d just knock out songs. Then Buck came into play, and Game, and it was the same shit.
“In those days, everything was moving too fast for me to figure it out. Even the Ja Rule thing. I thought it was a joke. I never knew it was that deep. But then, on the tour bus you start hearing the stories. 50 loves talking. You can’t even get no sleep, B. He’s like, ‘Yo, I was doing this, and doing that.’ I’m like, ‘Huh? I’m trying to get some sleep here. I’m trying to watch my Scooby Doo.’ Everybody knew I had my Scooby Doo DVDs on the bus. I got my porn and shit. I’m in the bunk, like, ‘Leave a little nigga alone.’
“But 50’s like, ‘Yo, wake up nigga. You know what I used to do? I used to do this, and do that.’ It’s like, ‘Uh oh, here we go again. More gangster talk.’ And I went to Catholic school. Everyone else is like drug dealers or street niggas. I’m just this fucking Catholic school guy. What the fuck am I doing here? I’m not supposed to be hearing these fucking stories. A lot of stories went in one ear and out the other, but you’d be surprised at a lot of the shit I know.”
“That is 50 Cent’s camp. I did not do any of those dissing [covers]. [Laughs.] That’s all 50. They did those Game joints, and they sent them to me, and I’m like, ‘Aww, man.’ Remember, I brought The Game to G-Unit, so I always had some sort of relationship with him at that time. It wasn’t that bad, until it got really worse. And I was always in the middle. It was like, ‘You tell him he’s a fucking asshole.’ Then Fif be like, ‘Well, you tell him he’s a piece of shit faggot.’ So I’m like, ‘Damn, why did I get myself involved in this shit?’ Because Game is really a cool guy. I never understood why it went so sour like that. But he wanted his own identity, and his own image. Everyone feels ill when you sell two million records. So, he wanted to go run the West Coast. He didn’t want to intertwine with the East Coast, G-Unit shit. He wanted the West Coast identity.”
“I started that DVD mixtape [wave] with Rewind. Then you’d see Smack and everybody killing it. Back then, it was very meticulous, but now, I could probably do it all day, every day. But it was catching people to film, and do exclusives. So he had to kill them to get the song, and then film them [performing it].
“We used to film on tour, and flip the hotel rooms up. Lift the bed up and move shit around, because we didn’t want it to look like a hotel room. So [my videographer] Dan The Man is chilling, getting the lighting setup. T.I. comes up in the hotel room without letting me know, because I was in the bathroom taking a shit. But we had the door open, because were waiting for the managers and everybody to come. So T.I. opens the door, and I’m coming out of the bathroom, but he see the plastic on the floor, and the bed is flipped over, and he’s thinking it’s a setup, like, ‘They’re gonna kill me.’ [Laughs.] So he [pulls out a gun], and I’m like, ‘Ahhhhh!’ And his manager is like, ‘Yo, what are you doing? It’s Whoo Kid! This is for the video!’ So if you look at Rewind, you see him with the .38 he had. That’s what he pulled out on me. At the time, I think he had beef with the world, and thought everybody wanted to kill him.
“We sold a lot of them shits, like 90,000. But then we got a cease and desist, so we had to stop. Yo, we had Nelly high on that shit. Nelly was the spokesperson for like children’s education. But he’s higher than a kite on my DVD. But I didn’t know! It’s not like I knew that and I did him dirty. But the fact that we had so many people on there [is crazy].
“Lil Wayne is like thirteen spitting verses [on the Rewind DVD]. And Wayne [gave me material for my Max Payne mixtape]. He was doing Squad Up [series] at the time, so he had hundreds of verses. I was DJ’ing this Jazz festival in New Orleans, and there’s all adults there. Lil Wayne was like a superfan, so he drives up to the club with like thirty little kids. The promoter is like, ‘Yo, we booked you, but who’s this little kid here?’ I’m like, ‘That’s Lil Wayne.’ He’s like, ‘Well, why does he have like thirty little kids [with him]?’ And these are adults with suits and ties, and here are these kids with baggy pants looking crazy. Me and Lil Wayne go way back.”
Working with Southern Artists/Replay Machine
“The first Southern artist I DJ’d for was Juvenile. He taught me about the replay machine. I had to do Juvenile’s mixtape, so I flew to the South. And Juvenile respected me, because no one was caring about the South then. This is when New York was the shit. So I was like, ‘For me to get the South to love me, let me get some of their artists to freestyle.’ Juvenile had ‘Ha’ and a couple joints out, but I went down there to get exclusives from him. And he had a studio on his tour bus. So he was like, ‘Why don’t you just hang out on my tour bus for two weeks, and just knock this shit out and you can learn about the tour life.’ So he introduced me to the white bitches, too. I didn’t know nothing about the white bitches at that time. So we toured Iowa and all this crazy shit, and I was fucking bitches everywhere, cumming in girls and stuff.
“Juvenile’s uncle was the DJ, and [he had the replay machine]. I was like, ‘What the fuck is that?’ He played ‘Back That Azz Up,’ and pressed the button [and started it over]. The one button had the song, and it never skipped. So I was like, ‘I’m just gonna get two replays.’ I gave 50 the idea, like, ‘Yo, since you’re the gangster rapper, you don’t need all that scratching. Let me put the gunshots on here, and put all your songs on all the buttons.’ I don’t know [how to scratch] or none of that shit. I’m the Diddy of this shit. I cut checks.
“It’s not as easy as you think. There have been other DJs that have tried to DJ for Fif, but they just can’t do it. They got beat up, or water thrown at them, or chased. There’s a technique. Volume control, gunshots, sound effects, in and outs. It’s easy for me, because I know how to use the replay [machine].”
Talking on Mixtapes/Gunshots
“In the beginning, we used to talk a lot because we didn’t want anyone to take our exclusives. That’s also why I created the ‘Whoo Kid’ drop. But then, it went from shouting out uncles and homies, to shouting out industry cats that gave me the songs, showing them love. And then, you’d be surprised, but a lot of artists would give me lists of dickheads to shout out for their mixtape. I don’t even like talking talking on tapes now. I just put the ‘Whooo Kiiiddd’ and keep it moving, and put the gunshots and effects and stuff like that.
“I put the gunshots because it felt more gangster. 50 is a gangster dude, he’s always talking about killing. And I like watching movies, and it gave it a theatrical feel. So I brought that to the mixtape shit. I got ‘What Up Gangsta’ for the first time [and put the gunshots in]. People were going crazy. It connected overseas with Europeans and Africans. These motherfuckers are twelve years old with big ass AKs. The Arabic dudes, and people in Saudi Arabia, they all love me. I remember Gadaffi’s son, I used to DJ his parties. He had like every mixtape, and had Uzis and guns and all this crazy shit. That’s all they did, so they loved it.”
Collaborating with Other DJs
“All the DJs I did tapes with are the ones I admired. [Me and Green Lantern] were both losers [when we did a tape together]. That’s why we’re so cool about it. We were nobodies. I used to DJ up in Rochester for like $400, and I would see him up there. We both started getting big at the same time. When we got together [to do the tape], he had a different genre of motherfuckers that liked his style. It was cool to bring both together. And I did a joint with Kay Slay. I did a joint with Clue, Envy.”
Beef with DJ Kay Slay
“I had beef with Kay Slay. He did a record dissing me and my baby moms. The shit is hilarious. My boy Splash who used to get me songs, he used to get me mad DATs. He’s Envy’s boy. Kay Slay hated him. He wanted to kill Envy and Splash forever. So Splash gave me a pile of songs and skits. So I heard a Raekwon [skit], like, ‘Yo Raekwon’s dissing Irv Gotti? That’s crazy.’ And I put it on an intro [to one of my tapes]. But I didn’t know [it came from one] of Kay Slay’s tape.
“I was big and popular at this time or whatever, so I really went to Japan, [unlike my previous lies I was telling Def Jam to get free records]. I wasn’t lying, I went to Japan for the first time for a week [with my baby mom]. So I come back, and I think Kay Slay was trying to find me because I put the Raekwon shit on the intro, but he thought I was ignoring him. At that time, you weren’t supposed to steal other people’s shit. And it looked like I stole his skit. But I didn’t even know. People were texting me, and I was like, ‘What are y’all talking about?’
“So Kay Slay did a record [dissing me]. He rapped and everything. It was hilarious. He killed me and my baby mom on there. Everyone knew who she was because she went through all the mixtape spots with me. So I called Cam’ron, and had Cam’ron do some weird shit. I made it look like Cam’ron was dissing Kay Slay. And Cam’ron’s from Harlem saying ‘Whoo Kid.’ Kay Slay went crazy, yo! He wanted to kill me, son!
“He knew that I had to pick up my money from this corner store in Harlem, so I’m over here, like, ‘Oh shit, this looks kinda weird. I think I’m about to get set up.’ So I get out, and all of a sudden, Kay Slay pops out of nowhere. And I had my boy with me, too, but my boy didn’t have nothing on him. So Kay Slay got this old, grimy dude, who looked like he had something. And Kay Slay’s like, ‘Yo, man, 101, you’re gonna try to play me?’ And I’m like, ‘Yo, I didn’t even do anything! This is crazy! This is a misunderstanding, yo!’
“I tried to joke with him like, ‘Yo, I got this new Polo and shit. I’m not trying to fuck up my Polo right now. Why don’t we save this for another day?’ And he paused for a second, and he’s like, ‘Nah, we fighting right now, man!’ And he starts taking off his coat.
“So my boy, he put his hand in his pocket like he had something. And Slay’s like, ‘Yo, my boy got something right now, too. You wanna do it like that? I just wanna do 101.’ I’m like, ‘Yo, man. I just got this new outfit. I am not fighting right now. I’m not fucking up this outfit, God.’ And he’s like, ‘You fuckin’ pussy. You’re an asshole, man.’ He kept calling me names. But I think after a while he was like, ‘Yo, this guy’s a fuckin’ dickhead.’ I don’t even remember how it ended. There was a stare down, and my boy had nothing but underwears on. He didn’t have a gun or nothing, he just had his hand in his pants like he had one. So I got in my Benz, and him and his boy got in his Jeep or whatever, and they just drove off.
“It’s funny, because at Chris Lighty’s funeral, I saw Kay Slay. And I was like, ‘Yo, remember my baby moms?’ It was hilarious. He felt kind of bad, but it was funny. Me and him are like the coolest of cool now. We probably look back at that shit like it could’ve went really bad. [We were about to fight each other over] a mixtape that’s not even legal. To this day, Kay Slay probably thinks I’m the weirdest motherfucker out on the planet. And we’re like best friends.
“If you look back at a lot of events, like dude from Clue’s crew who got killed over mixtape shit, [it was serious back then]. But now, no one’s making money off mixtapes—$30,000, $50,000. It’s bullshit. It’s free. Can you imagine the guy who’s in jail for killing that motherfucker? Like, ‘Damn, I killed somebody for this mixtape shit.’ It was like some mixtape rumor or something. I don’t know the real story behind it, but they probably look at that shit now like, ‘My boy died during that mixtape era?’ It’s free, and promotional now. It’s not some big money shit to fucking die for.”
CD Hustle/The Internet
“It came to a point where the bootleggers were getting bootlegged. It came from it being like $5 a tape, then it went down to $3 because the CDs came in. So it was $5 a CD, $3 a tape. Then it went even lower, because the bootleggers had their own dubbing machines, like, ‘I’m gonna do this shit on my own.’ The Africans and the Asians really fucked it up even more, where the tapes became obsolete, and it became just CDs. I did like 20,000 copies in order to make some real dough.
“I knew like, every African. You’d be surprised. I remember I was in Vietnam in like an African bazaar, and I was just standing there. And the guy was like, ‘Oh my God! I can not be-lieve it! DJ Whoo Kid! I have all your stuff right here!’ Because you know, all the Africans all over the world are all connected. Really the Africans blew up 50 Cent and Lil Wayne and whoever else. The Africans really are the reason why motherfuckers are famous. They bootlegged the shit everywhere. They’re out there in the wintertime, selling durags and mixtapes.
“I made it a system for me. I didn’t fuck with everyone. I fucked with four top African dudes. It was like a Mafia line. You take care of this African, then he’s got a hundred guys from here to Florida. And there’s a guy in L.A. Then the Asians came into play. And the Internet and websites started coming. And all the websites were run by Irish and Russian motherfuckers that were a little smarter. The Africans weren’t into websites. They were in the streets. But those white dudes, like the Irish dudes, were running the Internet.
“I was out before the downloading came. That was more of [a situation where you could get in trouble with the] RIAA. They’ll ban you, and you’ll get fucked up. And [in the streets], it was like 99 cents a CD. It came to a point where I was like, ‘You know what? They’re bootlegging me, they’re killing me. I’m gonna reverse it and let them bootleg me, and get my money from getting shows, and my popularity. And I can promote something, like if I’m doing an album.’ And now, the sponsors pay for you to do tapes. You tell Pepsi, ‘I just did your mixtape. Let me get $20,000, I’ll make sure it’s everywhere.’ And it’s gonna be everywhere.”
Recording with G-Unit and Mobb Deep/Mixtape Favorites
“I used to be in studios for free, because I knew all the mixers. Then 50 got a studio in the crib, and I was like, ‘Hey, I can do that shit, too.’ Now, all you need is a laptop, and a mic. 2 Chainz did his last album in his hotel room. But [all those G-Unit mixtapes] were done in a real studio, because the technology wasn’t out for you to be so compact. I started doing the hotel shit during the G-Unit Radio series, like 2050 we did in a hotel room. That was mixed in a hotel. 2050 is probably one of my favorites. International Ballers is another one of my favorites.
“Mobb Deep had so much music. I felt like I was in a goldmine. They kept going in, nonstop. Bang bang bang. And Banks was cool because we had bitch breaks. So every time we finished a record, we’d just go fuck some bitches, or have some bitches on the side and we’re just getting some head. Those were the illest. Banks had all the bitches. But the fact that he could still hold his composure [after the bitch breaks was amazing]. [Laughs.]
“I was there, and all the candy was handed off to me, and I just did what I wanted [with it to put the tape together]. I did over a hundred songs, like calling people to get on songs [and kind of A&Ring projects]. But then Banks started being his own A&R. Mobb Deep, I gave them mad shit, Young Buck I gave him mad beats, [mostly] from Red Spyda. But I never made beats.
“I did side tapes, too. I did everybody’s shit. I love the [Kool] G Rap mixtape. And I like the Saigon tape I did, too. That’s when Just Blaze came in and signed him. And I did a tape with Miley Cyrus a long time ago, but that shit never really popped off. But one of my all-time favorites is a tape I did a long time ago where I had DMX and Aaliyah host it. I think it was one of my Afterparty joints. That shit was kind of cool. RIP Aaliyah.”
Return of The Body Snatchers Series
“We were at a turning point, where we were figuring out how to come back, because there were so many new genres and styles. It was all organic. Even ‘I Get Money,’ that was organically brought back in. It was really just 50 being hungry. I think the more he’s hungry, the better the music is that comes out. Because you make $20 million, $30 million, it’s not that you don’t give a fuck, but you just think differently.
That [‘Rider Pt. 2’], I knew that was crazy. I think it was [originally] a 40 Glocc beat, and then 50 rhymed over it. And then he was like, ‘Yo, this shit is hard. We’re taking this shit.’ Any G-Unit song you hear has some sort of story behind it, but it’s always some organic shit. And we’d be like, ‘Oh shit, that’s a hit!’”
“The Internet is one of the reasons that I can DJ all over the world, because 50 Cent was a world entity. Then, I started doing European mixtapes, doing all the artists in France, and UK artists. So instead of me going there and being known for 50’s tapes, I’d go there, and they’d be like, ‘Oh, you did Tinie Tempah’s shit. You did Skepta’s shit.’ That’s how I keep staying away from these DJs. ‘You’re doing all this shit in America? I’m getting the fuck outta here. And I’ll just keep touring.’
“On my Instagram, you see me in weird countries. Like, who gets booked in Kazakhstan, and they know who you are? I can DJ anywhere in Saudi, anywhere in France, because I did the homework. Just how I went down South and did the mixtapes with Juvenile to gain acceptance, same formula. We started that whole movement, and they do mixtapes and shit, so why not? That’s an open doorway. Then I get them to do songs, like I put Tinie Tempah with Wiz [Khalifa]. It’s like a mixtape connection. I don’t like the flights, but the fact that I can stand here [in New York], then tomorrow be in Malaysia is like the weirdest shit. I was in Bahrain back when there were no buildings. I wish there was Instagram back then, I would’ve been posting the wildest shit.
“Now I’m getting into EDM and trap, because when I first started DJing, I was [spinning] house and club music. ‘Silent Morning,’ ‘Arabian Nights,’ and Madonna. When I was first around, there was no hip-hop [in the dance clubs]. I’m one of those ‘Last of the Mohicans’ that’s [seen it come full circle]. But all these dudes, Big Daddy Kane and all them, they know me and respect me, because I know everything that has to do with hip-hop.”
“The future is going to be radio and TV, and more non-urban. I have the urban shit on lock. So I’m going to Opie & Anthony, I do Howard Stern. I was a Top 5 interview of the year on Howard Stern for 2012. And he interviewed everybody. Will Smith, Brad Pitt. And I’m just a random guy. It was supposed to be ten minutes, and it was an hour. But the fact that I can do talk radio, then do regular urban radio, then do mixshow, it’s just me staying one step ahead again. SiriusXM is cool not just because you can curse, but you can be yourself. And I started that in the beginning with Sirius when we had a hundred truck drivers tuned in, to now four million idiots, to overseas, and now people got the app.
“I’m glad that I’m in a good space so that if I’m not overseas, I’m on radio on a Saturday, or I’m DJing in [New York]. If not that, I’m in L.A. I got a residency at the Supper Club, I’m in Vegas. You have to do ten things to stay relevant. And If I’m not doing shit, fuck it, I’ll do a mixtape. I’ll go hang with Snoop or Diddy and force them to do a tape. I’m doing Raekwon’s shit now. That’s the next tape that’s coming out. It’s me, DJ Skee, and DJ Drama. The next Raekwon CD’s outta here, too. His album is sick. [Other than that, it’s] the usual stuff, man. Naked bitches, fucking, and whores.”
Advice for Mixtape DJs
“You need creativity. And you need a hot artist that you believe in. It’s best to come out with a new artist, because then you’ll be like a revolutionary. That’s what I’m good at. I’d rather promote someone that I hear about from rumors or hearsay, then from you giving me a demo. Like Mac Miller, somehow his music got to me, and I started playing it before even meeting him or having him on my show. And that led to Wiz Khalifa. So you gotta also let things happen organically.
“If they’re paying you, take the money. A lot of people that paid me blew up too. But those kind of guys can be one-hit wonders. You don’t hear them again, but they got what they wanted from Whoo Kid. But at the end of the day, it’s best to be known for taking a chance, rather than just going with the flow.”
“I go by beat speeds, to get a human connection to the music. Usually it’s low, high, low. I start where the story’s at, then climax with the bitch records, then go back to the outro. A lot of people don’t think like that. They think it’s just like you put songs together, and keep it moving. But you just gotta do it in a way where there’s a momentum, and then a slow outro, where everybody’s like, ‘Alright, this motherfucker’s ill. I just went through a roller coaster ride, and now the shit is over. Let me rewind it.’
“And keep your tapes at ten joints, please. With 50, we treated the shit like it was crack. We’d give a little bit out at time, everybody went crazy, and everybody kept wanting more. Keep the shit to ten, maybe eleven if you want to do a bonus joint. But stop doing twenty-five songs. I’m not gonna be going through all that, especially if I don’t know you. Fuck outta here. I’m not going through all that shit. Fuck you. Keep it low. That’s my biggest advice. If you’re hot, your ten joints should be enough for me to be like, ‘You’re hot. I’m gonna cop the next CD.’ And look good. Stop being an asshole, and go to the gym. [Laughs.]”