Impact: DJ Vlad & Dirty Harry Connect for Notorius B.I.G.
Monday, Apr 28, 2003 12:00AM
One of the hottest mixtapes on the streets, besides Green Lantern's Conspiracy mixtape, is DJ Vlad and Dirty Harry's collaborative effort, The Notorious B.I.G.: Rap Phenomenon. The mixtape features hot blends of classic Biggie verses over new millennium beats such as 50 Cent's "What's Up Gangsta" and the Nas' "Oochie Wally". Also included on the tape is almost Big's entire catalog featuring classic appearances and freestyles.
Being that DJ Vlad is a SOHH.com member, there was no doubt that we could get the DJ on the horn with his partner, Dirty Harry to talk about the collaboration, their history and the current status of the mixtape scene.
How did you and Dirty Harry meet?
DJ Vlad: We met through a mutual friend. I had been a big fan of Dirty Harry's work for a long time - so when we met I gave him one of my mixtape and we exchanged numbers. He liked my work also, so we started talking about doing a collabo.
What inspired you and Dirty to connect and work this Biggie mixtape?
Dirty Harry: We had the same vision for making an ultimate Biggie CD, paying tribute to him. I always try to play a Biggie track on every mixtape that I've done, and I had accumulated a few Biggie acapellas that no one else had. DJ Vlad approached me on the idea of making this mixtape and we started work on it.
DJ Vlad: My manager, Animal Steele, was connected with a bunch of magazines and TV stations. The anniversary of Biggie's death was coming up, and we figured that if we created a classic Biggie mixtape, we could get a lot of media exposure. It was a good move, because the mixtape was shown on MTV's Direct Effect, The Source, XXL and now SOHH.com.
How did it feel to be nominated in the Mixtape Awards last year?
Both: Big shout-out to Justo.
DJ Vlad: I got nominated as 'Best Reggae DJ' last year. This was the biggest 'Hip-Hop moment' I've had in my life. I had moved to NY a couple of months before to pursue my mixtape career. I had never been around all these rappers and DJ's before, and suddenly I'm sitting in the front row at the Mixtape Awards, as a nominee, around all these legendary cats I had been listing to all my life. That shit blew my mind, I still think about it all the time.
Dirty Harry: I won the Brucie B / Starchild award - a lifetime achievement award. I never thought I would win, because I had been nominated in several other categories in previous year - but had never won. It came as a big surprise to me. It was a big moment for me, and was definitely the biggest recognition I've received for doing mixtapes.
How did you get into DJing?
Dirty Harry: My uncle was a DJ, and he passed his records down to me. I started DJ when I was about 14.
DJ Vlad: I grew up a hip-hop kid, originally into break dancing. I then moved into music production, but got too frustrated working with rappers. One day I decided to make a mixtape, and I realized I found my niche.
What kind of struggles have you had to go through to get to where you're at now?
Dirty Harry: The bootlegging in NY is crazy.
DJ Vlad: No doubt - I've seen my CD's with black and white photocopied covers, with 2 second gaps between all the songs. It's the worst.
What kind of goals do you have for DJing? Do you to be in radio, be on tour?
Harry - I've done the touring, parties, mixtapes and even production. I've DJ'd for Slick Rick and Mr. Cheeks. I've done production for Nas and Run DMC. I want to keep doing more production. Radio is an option that I'm looking at.
Vlad - I DJ for reggae artist Barrington Levy. I'd like to get into radio and slowly get back into the production area again.
What mixtapes DJs are you're favorite?
Vlad - Black Chiney, DJ Rectangle, Green Lantern, Whoo Kid, DJ Break...
Harry - Doggtime, Grandmaster VIC, and Green Lantern
How do you go about making your tapes not sound like everyone else's?
Vlad - I approach a mixtape in the same fashion as I make beat - meaning my tapes are produced. There are usually tons of my blends (remixes) on there, and the transition from one song to another is very important. A typical DJ Vlad mixtape is about 60 or so songs.
Harry - I like using old-school beats for my blends, I do a lot of interlude skits, try to make creative intros, and make innovative remixes by mixing the old with the new.
What do you think your signature sound is?
Vlad - I'm from the West Coast - Oakland, Cali to be exact - so I will always represent the West in whatever I do. You will almost always hear some classic Dre or Pac in my music.
Harry - My rap figures series - where I'll have a bunch of rappers doing 4 bars one after another. Flipping beats - where I'll play several beats at the same time.
What do you want to see more of in the mixtape circuit? or what is it lacking?
Vlad - I got no complaints. I'm still amazed at the love the mixtape circuit has shown for me in such a short time.
Harry - Can't knock the hustle.