DJ Of The Week: DJ Alizay
DJ Alizay's rich family history in Hip-Hop gave him an instant advantage at a young age. Blessed with an ear for talent and a penchant for music, the New York native's family moved to the nation's capital where his name's become synonymous with the DMV music scene. The man who discovered D.C.'s resident ambassador spoke with HipHopWired about the foundations of hip-hop, why go-go will never go mainstream and how he plans to mix Alizay with Alizé for a perfect blend.
Origin: New York City
Current Location: Washington, D.C.
HipHopWired: With your father and seven of your uncles DJing, when did you get your first introduction to Hip-Hop?
DJ Alizay: I remember being three or four-years-old…house parties in Queens. Basement house parties, I remember hearing Chaka Khan, I remember hearing all those records.
HipHopWired: When did you first decide you wanted to start DJing? When did you have that moment?
DJ Alizay: That moment came in '92 when I saw Juice because I was either like 11 or 12 when I saw it. Omar Epps was GQ and when I saw him in his room and he was practicing, that joint made me really want to do it.
HipHopWired: Let's talk more about your transition into radio. You're at 93.9 right now….
DJ Alizay: I've been there for ten years. I never thought I'd be on radio, I never thought that would happen. But I'd never turn down anything like birthday parties, bar mitzvahs, anything I do would make me better.
HipHopWired: Tell me about how you discovered Wale…
DJ Alizay: Well I would always see him and his cousin and he would say "yo, I'm telling you…I'm nice." It was the same old story, "I'm nice, I'm the best, I can rap." Maybe like the fourth or fifth time of seeing him I actually put the CD in the car and I was blown away. From that point on, we built a relationship, I started putting him on different tracks on the radio. To me it's crazy, when you always hear in Hip-Hop that DJs are the foundation, you don't really feel that until you see something like that happen. I look at Wale now in the magazines and I'm like, damn all that came from me giving him a chance.
HipHopWired: And how does it feel to see your boy out there doing it like that?
DJ Alizay: It's weird because it's like I feel like it could happen so much more. I feel like people themselves wanna be stars. It's not really that I wanna be a star or anything but I love Hip-Hop. I feel like I can always give back to Hip-Hop because Hip-Hop gave so much back to me.
HipHopWired: So as a D.C. DJ do you play a lot of go-go?
DJ Alizay: Yeah I do, D.C. is the land of the go-go. It's not going anywhere, I love go-go.
HipHopWired: So when do you think go-go's gonna break out and go main stream? It's mostly an East Coast thing, you go to the South you don't hear go-go, you go to the West Coast, you don't hear go-go. When do you think it's gonna reach a national level?
DJ Alizay: For real, for real, it probably won't. It won't really go anywhere because it's raw. You can look at it two ways, alright it'll never leave D.C. or the Virginia area but actual bands that tour the city are making a living. So it's like it's a music that if it leaves, cool. If it doesn't leave, cool.
HipHopWired: With D.C. being the chocolate city, the Mecca, why do you think we haven't seen a big national artist from D.C. except now with the exception of Wale. Why do you think none of these D.C. artists are really breaking out like that?
DJ Alizay: Well you gotta start with somebody so why not Wale? I personally think in the next five years, it's a lot of stuff here. People love to come here, there's a lot of soul here, hands down I think we have one of the best cities for clubs. Black people are in abundance here. The only place that has more here is Atlanta. I just think it's time man, D.C.'s coming but it's not our true time yet. Once people know that I think it'll be a little easier to transition.
HipHopWired: Do you plan on breaking any new artists out of D.C.?
DJ Alizay: Yeah, artists, producers. For me I'm a DJ first but I think I'm a perfect A&R. I know what good talent is. I know what people's strengths and weaknesses are so I know how to make people stand out.
HipHopWired: Let's switch gears here, do you have any new projects coming up?
DJ Alizay: Actually I just got a sponsorship with Alizé liquor.
HipHopWired: Tell me more about that, you didn't get your name from the alcohol at first did you?
DJ Alizay: Naw, my real name is Isaiah. So everybody calls me Zay, Alizay just sounded mad catchy. I feel like everybody would know it. It was years of me thinking in my head, like damn I should do something with Alizé but I guess it wasn't the time. There's a time and place for everything.
HipHopWired: Right. So they just reached out to you?
DJ Alizay: Yeah, they reached out to me and they were like, Yeah we need that match. It doesn't get much better than Alizé with Alizay.
HipHopWired: With that sponsorship, do you actually go out to promote their product?
DJ Alizy: They have meet and greets that we do in different cities. Basically, I'm trying to make sure they pop in D.C. That's all I can worry about, D.C. I'm working on an album that's scheduled to come out in February.
HipHopWired: Let's talk about that. What can we expect from that?
DJ Alizay: It's called Loud Pack. I consider myself a weed smoker, a loud pack is basically the best weed on the street. So it's basically gonna showcase D.C. and the hottest producers and artists in D.C. It's really gonna be a story of me going through each country, each hood, and personally hollering at the producers, and it's gonna be a story of the whole DMV.
HipHopWired: So who's on the Loud Pack?
DJ Alizay: Of course Wale, Tabi, Raheem, Kingpin Slim, Southeast Slim, K Beta, it's gonna be all my favorite artists. I'm gonna try and get The Clipse on there too, they're from V-A.
HipHopWired: Sounds dope. Is there anything else you wanna say to your fans? Do you have a Twitter or Myspace so they can keep up with you?
DJ Alizay: My Twitter is @DJAlizay. I'm always on Twitter. My website is DJAlizay.net Basically if any artists or producers are trying to get at me, definitely hit me at my e-mail. It's on my website.
MORE ON HIP-HOP WIRED!