Join The FADER's newest weekly columnist, A-Trak, who will be sharing with us the life and times of a superstar DJ and globetrotting gentleman. His column is called Around the World until he tells us otherwise.
Part X: FADER 10th Anniversary, Funkmaster Flex's assistant, Cipha Sounds, Winnepeg, Vampire Weekend, The Hump, Twitter
I stayed in New York for most of last week and I went out on the town way more than I usually do. I'm usually a hermit caged away in my laboratory but I guess the tiger got out of said cage, so to speak.
Before any of that, on Wednesday I had an all-day photo shoot with the fabulous Angela Boatwright. This was a thorough operation, I needed press shots for many upcoming projects, lots of looks, lots of options so we got all the way funky to a soundtrack of Public Enemy and 80's R&B classics. My brother popped in quickly for some styling tips and then we dove in. The shoot was in an artist loft in Tribeca. I'm not sure who lives there but there was a decent record collection, some Neckface and Stay High 149 canvases and Scooby Doo figurines. That downtown New York shit, you know. The pictures we took were more on the fashion-y tip, though. I can't wait to see how they came out.
You probably heard that The Fader is celebrating their 10th anniversary. That evening there was a party downstairs at Santos with none other than Cipha Sounds and Funkmaster Flex manning the decks. Cipha held it down with the dancehall selection and then Flex got on and played a true-school hip hop set. His comments on the mic were hysterical: "If you remember the 90's let me see you put one finger in the air." I'm pretty sure everyone in the room remembered the 90's. I was just psyched to see Flex, I've heard stories for years but this was the first time I got to see him DJ in person. He had an assistant who loaded up the songs on Serato for him, which, when you think about it isn't that surprising. Cats like Kid Capri and Grandmaster Flash always had guys who pull records out of their crates for them. This is the Y2K version. And really, wouldn't Flex look funny if he was staring at a laptop? It would clash with his Avirex jacket. Cipha was telling me about how Flex never remembers the name of the songs, he just sings the beat. And then I saw him sing into his assistant's ear — it was too funny. Flex played a great set, he got deeper than the obvious cuts with his 90's selection, starting off with Main Source "Just Hanging Out". Armand came to meet us there and then we headed over to The Hump (DJ Lindsey and Myles' award-winning party) where Dave was the special guest. My brother then proceeded to play his own 90's hip hop set, to everyone's enjoyment. Dust La Rock even made a rare appearance. After that (what a Wednesday!), we dipped over to the Lower East Side to check out the first edition of Cosmo Baker and DJ Eli's new party, Bang.
On Thursday, Dave and I went to check out our buddies Vampire Weekend at Terminal 5. What a big venue, it was my first time going there. Apparently the sound isn't always good but they had it sounding great all the way to the back of the room. During their encore they covered Fleetwood Mac's superb "Everywhere". We stopped by their afterparty (again at Santos) and then went to the other extreme completely: watching DJ AM play a Nascar party at Marquee! I walked in and spotted DJ Premier and DJ Riz. Hadn't seen them in a minute. This was also the first time I saw AM since the accident and I was amazed and how good he seems to be doing.
Friday my homies Klever, Tittsworth and Daniel LeDisko from LA Riots were playing at Le Poisson Rouge. Daniel and I went to dinner with Treasure Fingers and friends, where we discussed the Twitter phenomenon at length. Then we walked in the dreadful cold to the club. I had an early flight and wasn't in top shape so I didn't stay for very long.
Saturday I flew to Winnipeg for a gig. By complete happenstance Sammy Bananas was also in town, but we weren't even playing the same spot. Boo to that! We went to dinner with our homies DJ Co-op and Hunnicut, whom I played for last time I went to Winnipeg, which was for the Sunglasses Is A Must tour with The Rub in 2006. The guys reminded me that I rolled into town wearing a Daniel Boone racoon-skin hat that time. I nodded in agreement. Winnipeg has the strangest laws when it comes to liquor licenses for clubs. Clubs can only get one if they provide "live entertainment", and DJs aren't considered that. So the way to get around that is, promoters get dancers to shake their tailfeathers at all the parties. Sure enough when I played there in '06 I remember there were dancers on either side of the stage, and this weekend there was a girl with a hula hoop. Apparently there's even officers who pop into all the clubs and make sure this law is enforced properly: dancers have to be on for a minimum of X minutes every Y hours. Amazing!
I also filmed a new installment of my Hotel Guides while I was in town.