DJ Soko

DJ Soko

简介:DJ Soko is still relatively young, but pioneers have already found odd ways to inject their influence into his craft. Meeting a Detroit rap icon lead to his first retail project, and that album earned kudos from the producer/turntablist legend that Soko idolized as a teenager. At this rate, the Detroit native’s respect for his elders may earn him a spot alongside them. “I liked the rawness and aggression of hip-hop. When I listened the first time, I got that feeling of ‘There’s no rules,’” Soko remembers about early influences like Wu-Tang Clan, OutKast and The Notorious B.I.G. “I hear a lot of people say hip-hop circles are intimidating, but I found hip-hop circles to be welcoming. Hip-hop embraces different cultures, you can tell how it takes certain elements from different things,” Soko explains. “When I got involved in hip-hop culture, I was a sponge and soaked up as many things as possible. I think hip-hop does that, even in the simplest form of sampling: taking from certain things and making it better.” Soko’s parents bought him his first set of turntables when he was 15 years old. In between mowing lawns and doing chores to pay back the costs, he hung out with a friend who shared his vinyl collection and taught him how blend and scratch records. After relentless practice, instructional DVDs and study of East Coast legends, he joined a group in high school. Soko later became the in-house DJ for Detroit emcees Nametag (cousin to Black Milk) and Journalist 103, while lending his skills to area staples like Invincible and Miz Korona. He earned his stripes by DJing a hectic regimen of gigs and lending cuts to the likes of Guilty Simpson, MarvWon, and Boog Brown and , and he also handled the tables for buzzworthy group Clear Soul Forces at the Brooklyn Hip Hop Festival. Still, his most important show may have been his very first performance. “I opened up for Proof of D12 at the Blind Pig, running the show of a CD, while I manned the turntables to do cuts here and there throughout the set” Soko remembers. He was DJing for a friend, who had kept in touch with the Detroit rap legend (known for his membership of Eminem’s group D12) from a previous show and nabbed an opening spot. “I met Proof that same day, I could tell he was a good dude. Looking up Proof’s music after that show, I got introduced to Journalist.” Soko would eventually become the in-house DJ for Journalist, and the duo teamed with uber- producer Apollo Brown to form The Left. The group’s debut, The Gas Mask (Mello Music Group), garnered universal critical acclaim, including a nod on his idol DJ Premier’s list of the year’s best albums. After The Left’s successful European tour with labelmate Oddisee that stopped in France, Germany, Belgium, Austria, Denmark and Switzerland, Soko has already knocked out or booked gigs in Canada and around the U.S., including one that involved the Brown Bag Allstars. His limited edition vinyl for Mello Music Group's 7 inch series which features Guilty Simpson, Apollo Brown, Gensu Dean, and Hassaan Mackey has sold out online at Fat Beats within only 24 hours of it's release. He is also prepping solo material with Mello Music Group that features Guilty Simpson, Apollo Brown, Magestik Legend, Sean Born, Hassaan Mackey, Kaimbr and other members of indie hip-hop’s elite. With each step, he plans to respect the past while cementing his own legacy. “A DJ dictates the climate or vibe of a live show, and it adds in a special element. DJ Scratch was a huge part of EPMD, and Jam Master Jay was the star of Run-DMC,” Soko attests. “The DJ element is lost, but it’s extremely important. It’s necessary based off of tradition, and how things are supposed to be.”