Showing Out: DJ UNK
Posted: 11/10/2008 :: Author: St. James
DJ UNK "walk's it out" over to StreetCred.com to talk about his new album, helping the community of Atlanta, haters, making the transition from DJ to artist and more.
DJ UNK on the responsibility of Atlanta artists:
"If we are sticking together for something positive then that’s something to look up to. But us going out here and acting a fool and the kids seeing them on TV. I’m not trying to call names, but you know you see on TV, they have to serve time in jail, we have to get right too. We can’t preach it and we out doing it. That’s backwards. We have to stick together as Atlanta and do the right thing by the kids."
St. James: What’s good with you fam?
Unk: I’m feeling good, it’s a brand new day. I’m here for the second time with the new album coming hard called “2nd season”...it’s going down man.
SJ: This is your sophomore album, everybody talks about the sophomore slump. What is UNK going to bring to the table to shake that notion?
U: Man, heat, heat, and mo’ heat. More crunk songs and good music. I’m trying to stay on the charts, trying to grind from the top to the bottom. It’s round two for me and you know it’s hard being a sophomore, we put the album together and you are going to love it. It’s something that you are going to beat down your block, you going to love Second Season. The first single is called “Show Out”, it just got added to 106 and Park. Ya'll vote for that. MTV picked it up on Jams. Request that on your local radio stations. It’s going down.
SJ: What’s the backdrop of “Show Out”, what are you all doing in the video and what’s the concept of “Show Out”?
U: You know basically the words are self explanatory, I dedicate the song to my fans to let them know I’m back again. I put that record out for the fans. You going to love this one. You showing out. Whatever you do, your dance, whatever. If you just stay fresh your whole life you showing out. We are just trying to do it bigger and better. Take it further.
SJ: Who did production on the album and did you get to work with anyone this time that you weren’t able to work with the first time around?
U: I got top quality production, you know DJ Montay, the famous beat maker, he did “Walk it Out” and “2 Step”, Flo Rida “Low”. He did Dolla “Who the heck is that”, he’s all over the world. We just put together my second album. MC Assault, it’s a lot of people that I always dreamed to work with. 3-6 Mafia on there, Project Pat, Ray-J. That’s the second single “She Freaky” with my dog Ray-J. I got the Ying Yang Twins, Shawn Kingston, a new group called Blaze. Be on the look out for them. Killing them with the harmonies. It’s a go man Second Season we here.
SJ: You sound excited about the project! Tell the people about the Oomp Camp and the whole movement. A lot of people don’t know you guys have a whole movement going on.
U: Yeah Oomp Camp is a movement! It’s one of the top independent labels in the south west. MC Assault and DJ Montay brought the whole mix tape movement. I was just a kid in school and they been puttin’ it down. Like right now we have like 5 Soundscan stores in the hood. We have a TV show called “Vibe with the Oomp Camp” that comes on every Friday that has 2.2 million viewers. We have certified DJs. DJ Jelly, MC Assault, Montay, Me, DJ Shorty Rock. We have this new guy from Germany, one of the baddest white DJs out there. DJ Hot Sauce. We call’em Powder.
We a machine man. We’ve broken a lot of artists. From Lil Scrappy, T.I., Jeezy, Outkast. You know Outkast was one of Jelly’s things. Just a whole movement. I came up under the Southern Style DJs doing mixtapes with them. Jelly and Montay took me under their wings and showed me the whole mix tape game. I have learned a lot. I took one thing and tried another. They told me not to stay in that box and look what happened.
St. James: Those sound like some of the people that have influenced you. Who else has had an influence on your career and what knowledge have they given you as an up and coming artist?
U: A lot of people, the whole family. It was a lot of people that influenced me in this game. You know Kid Capri, I would watch him on the Def Comedy Jam when I was a kid mixing it up on the 1s and 2s. You know, Jazzy Jeff. The whole Will Smith thing. A lot of people. You know Run DMC is why I wanted to get into music. I had a lot things I had to do and a lot of things to overcome. And I did it. I stayed down and I’m just glad people love the music and accept it for what it is. I love to see people smile and have a good time. If you come and party with me, I’m going to leave you with a great time.
SJ: As you stated you are a DJ...what was the transition like from DJ to artist?
U: I had to find a way to get into the game. You have to find your lane. It’s all types. You have your Gucci’s that talk about dope all the time. Or people talking about killing all the time. People who have house bills and what not have a different lane and I just had to find a way to get in. And you know Atlanta has a big dance culture and clubs. It’s off the chain. So I’m down with that. I’m seeing what’s going and I’m seeing people that’s not making songs for what’s going on in the clubs. You can have a few of them. But you say to yourself as a DJ why couldn’t you make a song called “Grabbin’ ya balls” and everybody comes in the club grabbing their balls? So I just put my DJ skills into the mic. I deliver it straight club and straight street.
SJ: So DJ Unk makes soundtracks for the club.
U: Yeah man, as long as I’m coming out of the speakers or whenever you play the record people get their ass up out their seat...that’s what I’m here to do.
SJ: Jermaine Dupri made some comments earlier this year about DJ's being dead. What are your views on the current position of DJ's in the game?
U: DJs rule. If there were no DJs there would be no artists. Who’s going to play the records? You have to support the DJ. The DJ is the party. I’m glad that a lot of people are waking up to that. I was feeling like the DJs weren’t getting that respect. A lot of artists ran over DJs. Say this, say that. A lot of artists don’t know how to talk to DJs. You have to make the DJs comfortable playing your music.
SJ: Real game. Say that one more time.
U: I can’t remember the words, but you have to make sure the DJ is right. He has to be comfortable playing your music. It could be off the chain but if you don’t know how to approach the DJ, show that respect and network then no one is going to play your sh*t. And a lot of people are trying to get in the game. A lot of people fresh off the street, may have a hit and they put aside the hard role and they get with the program. They say this is the way I can make some money. Shout out to all the DJs around the world man.
SJ: So we always have to address the haters, what do you say to those who say your music is not hood enough or has pop content?
U: They ain’t talking about nothing. Without the haters there wouldn’t be anything to talk about. It wouldn’t be no comments, youtube, myspace. Something to go forward and feed off of. It’s a bad thing if you’re a hater. But it’s a good thing because it helps that push. It helps people realize who you are, because people talk about you so much. It’s a wake up call. So for all the haters they can get up off this dick! If they don’t like my music, the kids love it, it’s everywhere. You can't stop a movement so get with it!
SJ: Is there anybody on the album that you didn’t get to work with?
U: The album...there are people that stay busy but they could do what they could. I’m not going to go that deep. If it come down to making another album I’m going to ask them again. But if I keep making this good music without them, I don’t need them. I just take it for what it is. I’m just glad that I’m stepping my game up as an artist and a person. I’m like ya'll. Soon as they play yours they going to come right behind it with that UNK sh*t.
SJ: So let’s talk about the community and specifically what you’ve done to give back and show love to the community.
U: We do the event every year at Moses Park. We do it big...all the kids are out there. Free event. Our whole label, Big Oomp Records and we have the big balloons that the kids play in, free food and it’s a big cook out and anniversary thing that we do. I go to schools and talk to the kids about education. I do free shows and I take care of my family. I know that. Everything that I have to do to help out my community I’m going to do that.
SJ: How can we do better for our children?
U: Home. It’s they parents and they homes. It’s not just about the artists going to talk to kids, the parents have to be right. They have to know how to raise their kids. A lot of kids do those things now because of lack of home and love and direction. Staying on your kids and making sure they are involved in positive activities. That’s one thing I see missing and what I talk about. If you can’t control home how are you going to survive out?
SJ: Do you think the scene in the ATL is together and showing a positive example to those how may have broken homes?
U: If we are sticking together for something positive then that’s something to look up to. But us going out here and acting a fool and the kids seeing them on TV. I’m not trying to call names, but you know you see on TV, they have to serve time in jail, we have to get right too. We can’t preach it and we out doing it. That’s backwards. We have to stick together as Atlanta and do the right thing by the kids.
SJ: So do you think Atlanta is sticking together in that fashion? There are a lot of successful people there. Do you feel the camaraderie is still the same?
U: I can honestly say that I don’t think it’s a cover up or whatever and you saying one thing and you have your people out doing what they do. But you have Ludacris, T.I., Jeezy, Big Oomp, they go out to these schools, hold charity events, and reach out...which is a blessing. For them to set that aside and give back. Outkast and everything. We talk about each other on the rhymes all day but when it comes down to doing some real stuff, and doing something for the city we go in. We make sure it happens.
SJ: Who in the game do you admire?
U: I’m from Atlanta, and I love a lot of people in the game. But just seeing the growth of an artist from nobody to somebody, guys like T.I., Jeezy, Ludacris, Outkast been kicking ass. I’ve just seen their whole growth and how they handle their business and oversee everything. Make sure it’s all on point as far as the music, community and making the world love them. That’s what I would say in one big gumbo!
SJ: Tell the people something they may not know about UNK?
U: A lot of people don’t know I got a family man. I have three girls that I’m raising and this lil' knuckle head right next to me. I take care of my kids man and after work it’s all about them. It’s like the new rule in this house.
SJ: Well I appreciate it UNK, best of luck in all you do.
U: NO doubt! Streetcred.com, it’s a movement!