He is one of the most sought after Tour DJ’s in the American Hip Hop community, having opened up for powerhouse acts like Busta Rhymes, Omarion, Ray J and Rick Ross. But that’s not where his story begins or ends. DJ Rampage is one of the industry’s most respected turntabalists, cutting it up on the 1 & 2’s like a speed demon, rocking a party, festival or concert stage like no other.
Starting out at the tender age of 13 years old, Rampage had no plans to become the internationally respected DJ he has morphed into, stating that his career choice was an accidental one. An accident of destiny no doubt as his turntable interest quickly opened up the mix-tape door and saw Rampage go on to achieve uber mix tape DJ status! From the mix tape to the DJ deck, Rampage clearly captured the club-goers and has gone on to secure a legion of fans that follow him from club to club, show to show, state to state and country to country. DJ Rampage’s moniker was awarded to him by none other than pioneering rap legend Kurupt and the rest as they say is history.
Proudly representing his native Los Angeles, DJ Rampage is West Coast to the core, always paying homage to his beloved city through his mixtapes, club sets, show gigs and now spearheading the development of his own management and artist booking agency called Five Star Republic. DJ Rampage does what he does for the love of hip hop and will be returning back to Australia this Long Weekend June 2013 for a series of live shows with Delta Bravo Tours in Melbourne and Sydney. A firm fan of Australia, Rampage brings his legendary turntablist skills down under and promises a show of illest proportions. It is safe to say that DJ Rampage is on the takeover, with his business savvy finger on the pulse of unbridled success. He remains true to himself, true to his craft and above all else true to Hip Hop!
What made you want to become a DJ and how did you get your first break?
I became a dj strictly by accident. I had a turntable attached to my mini stereo system, which were popular back in the days when I was a kid. A friend of mine and I were hanging out with nothing to so I had an idea to grab some of his grandfathers records and take them back to my house and “try” and scratch. We tried it and he was better than me lol. Shortly after we got bored of it and went back outside but later that night I was still determined and never stopped.
My first break I guess was when a friend of mine knew I was trying to be a dj and she asked me to dj her house party which I agreed to while have no idea how o even set up turntables and a mixer. I don’t remember how that party was but I went on to do more events at her house.
When did you realise that this was something you wanted to pursue as a career?
I actually never thought of it as a career opportunity. It was just for fun. I really just enjoyed the “scratching” aspect of djing. My career in the earlier days was pretty much guided by people who saw talent in me and put me places. Once one of those people gave me a tour opportunity and I went out on that tour, I fell in love with the stage and that’s when I wanted to make it a career.
How do you stay consistent and a strong favourite by your fans in this industry?
I was doing a lot of mixtapes that I was able to get sponsored by local vendors. That really boosted my name. While other djs were pressing copies at home I was at a distributer getting 10 or 20,000 copies professionally packaged to retail specifications. They were everywhere. In the streets, the record labels, grandmas house, everywhere.
Who would you say your musical influences / inspirations are and why?
At the time it was Kurupt (Tha Doggpound) and Snoop Dogg. I actually got the moniker DJ RAMPAGE from Kurupt when I was 12. We lived in the same neighbourhood and he was a local celeb even before he signed to Deathrow Records. I did a mix of The Isley Bros song Between the Sheets with a Snoop Dogg song called Bitches aint Shit and played it for Kurupt over the phone and he went crazy! He hung up and called me back a few minutes later with Dr.Dre and Snoop on the phone and the loved it also. From that point I was around Snoop a lot and Kurupt labelled me his dj, granted I was too young to even go out late nights lol. I never actually did a show with Kurupt but we did hang out literally everyday. I remember banging on the tree with drumsticks and him rapping for everybody. Good times.
What are the pros / cons to being a DJ, if any?
Lots of pros if you’re in the right situation(s). I’ve been able to get sponsorships, dj for exclusive events for top celebs; I’ve dj for Nike for 6 years and best of all travelling the world and getting paid to do it. For me there aren’t too many cons. I really have enjoyed all of this and what comes with it. Sometimes you may lack a lot of sleeping hours but it’s all worth it to me.
You have gained amazing success in the mixtape world, releasing Drakes first ever mixtape as well as touring and playing alongside some of Hip Hops most celebrated artists such as Rick Ross, Busta Rhymes and Ray J to name a few ……any tips / advice for DJ’s wanting to get into the mixtape / tour DJ game ?
Consistency is important when doing projects. When I started doing mixtapes the Internet wasn’t poppin like it is today. Any mixtapes that made the Internet were for sale. Now you can download everything for free. Djs have the option to make music or mixes everyday if they decide to and blast it to the world from their kitchen table. Also it’s very important to build and have your relationships in place. That’s actually to me, the most important piece. That’s the part that can make or break you. Unfortunately having actual talent isn’t as strong of a factor today. You just need to be marketable or have something sellable. Be smart, come up with a small business plan for your brand and execute.
You hail from the US but have been blessed to play in countries all over the world! What would you say would be your Top 4 favourite states / countries to spin in and why? (I know Australia better be one of them – lol ;o)
Yes I am from Los Angeles California born and raised. Playing in different places around the world has been such a blessing for me. The best times in the states would be all of the 35 cities I hit on Justin Bieber’s MY WORLD tour in 2010. There were 15 to 25,000 people in each arena. Definitely a career highlight. I’m more of an international boy though. I love France, Japan,Dubai and my new favourite Australia.
AMG, DJ Rampage & DJ Quik
You are heading down under soon for a series of club gigs with the Delta Bravo Touring Company …..What can we expect from a DJ Rampage set? What is it that you believe sets you apart from the rest of the DJ’s out there?
My sets are entertaining. I am a turntablelist at heart so I incorporate that aspect into my sets, which would be some mild scratching and “beat juggling”. Every dj has the same hit records. Its not always what you play, its also when and how you play it.
What are you currently working on? Your future projects?
I’m currently focused on my Concert and tour booking company Fivestar Republic. It’s been doing very well over the past few years and imp currently upgrading to a bigger office and more staff. Future projects I am working on are sponsored concerts on the west coast of the U.S. Ill have big name sponsors come in and sponsor the shows and build my brand along the way. I’m also in to artist management and tour management now.
What does Hip Hop mean to you?
Damn. REAL Hip Hop is what I grew up on. It was fun, it made you dance, it was full of life, it felt good to be apart of that community. It wasn’t jewellery, cars and champagne. I like a lot of what I hear today because as a dj you have to adapt, but ultimately it’s all the same. It lacks value and the artist lack that shock factor. There are a few that stand out but only a few.
For more information on DJ Rampage’s shows in Australia visit: http://www.itsdeltabravo.com
For more information on DJ Rampage DJ / Mixtapes / Artist Management visit: twitter.com/DJRAMPAGE1
Always Hip Hop,