I get a lot of mixes from DJs in my inbox – like lots! Every once and a while though, you hear something that stands out from the pack. That’s what happened last Friday afternoon when I came across an insane mix of Camp Lo’s Luchini blended with Bobby Shmurda’s Hot Nigga. I dug deeper into the catalogue of James “Biko” Gates aka Nappy DJ Needles – the creator of the blend – and discovered a ton of dope material. He’s definitely worth checking out.
Get to know a little more about Nappy DJ Needles in the interview below.
I’m Nappy DJ Needles from St. Louis.
How did you get into DJing?
I was asked by my brother to do a birthday party for one of his friends back in 1994. All I had was tapes and a few cds to play out of a boombox but I made it work. The response I got from playing my personal selections was infectious so I kept at it. During that time I was always shook that some kid was gonna call me out for not being a “real” dj since I was only working with tapes, so before that ever happend, after a few years, I got a cheap mixer and mis-matched turntables and learned to mix records. In 1998, I deejayed live with vinyl for the first time and it’s been on ever since.
Who were some of your influences?
My influences include Jazzy Jeff, Rich Medina, G-Wiz, DJ Alejan and Kid Capri.
Vinyl or Serato?
Both, but I’m a digger so vinyl will always trump Serato.
What is your fave albums in your collection?
I have so many favorites I wouldn’t know where to begin!
What tracks are you currently playing?
Kaytranada feat. Vic Mensa Drive Me Crazy, BJ The Chicago Kid feat. ScHoolBoy Q It’s True, Meek Mill Ice Cream Freestyle, Joey Bada$$ No 99.
How do you approach a mash-up?
It’s a pretty simple process to me. Most times the idea to mix an acapella over a particular beat will come as I’m deejayin live. I’ll have the track going first then I’ll grab the acapella and try it out in the cue. If everything pans out, I’ll run it right then. If it hits me a certain way, that’s when I decide whether or not to formerly make an official blend out of it in the lab.
Can you tell us about your projects?
I’ve been doing mixtapes (real mixtapes) since 1998. From Undreground Hip-Hop to indie soul, I was putting them out constantly. I started doing the blend projects in 2008. The first one was entitled American Gangstarr where I put Jay Z’s American Gangster lyrics over beats by Gang Starr. In 2012, I put out Blends featuring mix-ups of Whitney Houston and Thundercat, Mary Mary and Run-DMC, The Beastie Boys and Tyler, The Creator, Adele and Mr. Cheeks, etc. The last 2 I did were A Tribe Called Kast (Outkast over ATCQ) in 2013 and The Notorious Exchange (B.I.G. over The Foreign Exchange) in 2014.
How can people find you?
People can find me on facebook (Nappy DJ Needles or James Biko), twitter and instagram (@nappydjneedles), soundcloud.com/nappydjneedles, mixcloud.com/djneedles and check out my projects at ghettoblastic.bandcamp.com
Any last words?
Thanks for listening…stay tuned for more
Here are some places to check out some of Nappy DJ Needles.