CORE MAGAZINE…DJ CHILD INTERVIEW
………DJ CHILD INTERVIEW IN THE VIRGIN ISLANDS BASED CORE MAGAZINE………
Where are you from and your background?
Originally I grew up in a rural farmhouse in Central Pennsylvania in the village of Oak Hall as a naked little hippie. My father is one of 5 sons of a Lutheran minister and my moms family escaped the pogroms in the Ukraine for being Jews. I spent my teenage years between Philadelphia and Boston riding a skateboard, smoking and selling weed, and making music. At 18 I went to Berklee College of music in Boston for playing bass. I graduated University from Naropa, a Buddhist school in Boulder, CO. And now I’ve been in Oakland California for almost 5 years.
What started you in the Ras Tafari Movement?
At 15, I read The Autobiography of Malcolm X. That book changed my life. Malcolm has been one of the greatest insprations in my life, which is why I continue to pay homage to him through my music. From that book I started reading a lot about the Black Panther Movement, The MOVE Organization, Huey P. Newton, Bobby Seale etc. Those teachings lead me to Marcus Garvey—The Philosophies and Opinions of Marcus Garvey opened me up on some whole new levels. That’s what introduced me to Selassie, Rasta & the Resistance. I wanna make it clear though that I don’t claim no titles. I’ve been influenced by many philosophies and religions. I don’t believe in separating myself into a category just so someone can label me. I’m fine just being me.
What was the inception for Project Groundation Massive (PGM) movement?
In 2001 I published a book of poetry, prose and essays called “Abstraxioms”. And also a 12″ record with 3 tracks under the name Project Groundation.
Those were the first official projects,,,but I had been using that name for performing at shows and writing graffiti for years before that. When I would do collaborations with people I would put PGM,(M) to represent the massive. Really the name developed from my love of words. I used to study words, write them, disect them, create new ones…Project Groundation became and is my mission. I was influenced by the word Groundation more so from the Count Ossie & the Mystic Revelation of Rastafari Album “Grounation” than what the word actually represents in the sense of the mystic Rastafarian ceremonies. My Project is Groundation and the Massive is the Massive. Now there is no separation between PGM and my life. That’s what I think people get twisted sometimes—This is not something I’m trying to be or do…this is what I am.
What types of music does PGM concentrate on?
Music for the Peoples & for the Streets. We make roots music for farmers to plant their crops to,,,we make block music for the souljahs grindin’ in the streets day and night,,,we make music for the youth of tomorrow to understand the youth of today. I’ve received a lot of feedback from peoples sayin PGM = too much gunshots, cussing, gangsta business etc. Most of these comments are coming from “Rastas.” Most rastas would agree that only God can judge a man. So how you gonna judge me for just doin’ me? Funny thing is, I’ve never received no feedback from all the “gangstas & hustlas” who support my music sayin “why do you put out so much of this conscious shit—we want pure grimy shit.” Like most things in life, I find it best to take what’s useful for myself, and leave what’s not. If I’m not fulfilling the expectations of some of my listeners to their ideal of what my “true potential” is—so be it. Just let me be me—and you be you.
As a DJ, do you prefer the mix tape/recording industry or performing in events and stage shows?
I love aspects of all of the above, it’s just dependant on the situation. But overall I’ve been puttin’ most of my time into bein’ a studio gangsta. I’m striving for that prolific status, like Tupac or Sizzla. When I was rappin’ I was performing in clubs 3-5 times a week between 1999-2001. That’s how I built a lot of my street credit and connections. But at the end of the day I didn’t have much to show for it. Now since I’ve started the whole mixtape/remix thing, I got over 100 projects on the streets bein’ sold in over 20 countries. It’s a no-brainer for me as far as where to focus my time and energy. Performing live is my shit though. In February I went to Mali, West Africa to perform with my boy Jah Dan of Noble Society (reggae artist for Boot Camp Click & Dead Prez). We did 3 performances with some of Mali’s heavyweights including Zani Diabate & Abdoul Doumbia. (Big Up my family KSK for that one). I brought all vinyl for those shows. A lot of the people had never seen turntables and records before. It was a blessing to be able experience the whole vibe over there. Those are the kinda performances I’m tryin’ to be doin’ more of.
How was the connection made between PGM and VI reggae artists? Who was the first? Name those you have worked with thus far. Name the volumes that VI artists have been featured on.
As a rapper I had one single come out on vinyl in 2001 called “One” featuring Shaka Black from Monsterrat. He was playin’ in a group with Eddie Beazer (RIP) called the Hit Squad. I was performing a lot with Shaka at that time—we did a show with Midnite, and that’s what introduced me to the whole VI sound. They had just put out “Unpolished” which is still one of my favorite VI releases to date.
In 2005 I dj’ed part of the Talkin’ Roots II tour with Bambu Station, Pressure, Lady Passion, Ijah Menelik, Ras Bumpa & Black Culture.
As far as mixtapes, I’ve done;
—Talkin’ Roots Tour II Live Double Disc CD From San Francisco featuring Bambu Station, Pressure, Lady Passion, Ijah Menelik, Ras Bumpa & Black Culture, plus a live freestyle session backed by DJ Child. VIROOTS. COM says its the first live VI recording to be put out as an album.
—PGM vol. 21 “Nothing To Prove” 100% VI Hosted by: Niyorah, Pressure, Batch, Ras Attitude, Bambu Station, Lady Passion, Abja, Ijah Menelik & Ras Bumpa. It was the first mixtape any of them had ever hosted. I feel blessed for that. The mixtape was quoted as “Best of 2006 so far and by far” by Riddim Magazine (Germany).
—PGM vol. 25 “Da Takeover 2K7″ Hosted by: Pressure Busspipes featuring exclusives by Sizzla, Lutan Fyah, Jah Dan, 77 Klash, Tragedy Khadafi & Alias John Brown. This project got nuff Pressure exclusives we did together, truly showcasing his amazing versatility.
—PGM vol. 26 “Sense Enemy” Hosted by: Bambu Station, Abja, Ras Bumpa, Pressure & Niyorah. This is the newest project just released, and has exclusive & pre-release tracks from all of the hosts plus Midnite, Messenjah Selah, De Apostle, Batch, Army & more.
—“Stolen Scrolls” 100% Niyorah. This is legitimate, fully legal mixtape/album done in conjunction with I Grade Records spanning Niyorah’s dense catalogue.This is the first ever album put out legitamately for a single reggae artist as a mixtape.
Also I’ve done unreleased songs with Pressure, Bambu Station, Batch, Lady Passion, Ras Bumpa & Ras Attitude for PGM’s upcoming debut album.
Your clothing line has been seen on many VI and JA artists, how far are you planning to take that aspect of the business?
The clothing line I do in collaboration with Cory Shaw (Stat7 of GM5). He is responsible for clothing lines for Wu-Tang & Ice-T. To be honest neither of us are that interested in the “business aspect” of running a clothing line. It just is what it is. We’re just building it day by day, brick by brick. All of the artists that you see wearing PGM clothing are just my boys—it’s as simple as that. We all represent each other. Unity in strength—Strength in Unity. I want PGM to be looked at as Movement or a Brand way more so than a Record Label or a Clothing Line. Those realms are way too limited for our type of vision.
With so many accolades since 2004, to continually create hardcore music for the streets how do you stay in touch?
Accolades are blessed, don’t get me wrong—but really and truly an accolade or award is just the opinion of one person, one magazine, one media outlet, one association—I’m more interested in accolades from the masses.
I can go to Flatbush Brooklyn, Kingston Jamaica, Calaban Kora in Mali, Rock City, MIA, ATL, Germany, Japan and meet family I’ve never met before, who rep me hard—those are the accolades I’m in it for.
List upcoming projects?
I’ve listed projects in interviews before and seen people in my own backyard in Cali bite my shit. So I ain’t gonna make shit easy for no one.
But HEAT—TRUST ME…Keep it locked…Worldwide Family—Stand Strong!!!