Tools Of War 2016 Line-Up

On my way to the Big Apple to soak up some Hip-Hop Culture. The 2016 Crotona Park Jams line-up is crazy. Big ups to Christie-Z and PopMaster Fabel for bringing this old school flavor to present day.

Dj Spotlight-Melo

Resting Place-Phoenix
Steez-Beat Rocker,Tape Pimp,SuperStar

Darrell D-How did you get into dj'ing? 
Melo-My sister Adela has a son thats 6 months younger than me & growing up I spent a lot of time at their house. My brother in law Raul had turntables & they used to have parties all the time. At home i would tape stuff off the radio & eventually got a double cassette deck that I would make extended versions & pause mixes. 

What are your fondest childhood memories?
So many to name but I used to draw all the time & I would listen to mix shows on the radio. I broke a bunch of my family radios making pause mixes. Sounds weird but I'm glad I went through all that.

What was the first record you ever bought?
I remember my sister Chely bought me Michael Jackson's Thriller, that was my first record. I can't really remember the first one I bought, it could've been New Order's Bizarre Love Triangle 12" or Madonna's Material Girl 12". It could've also been the 7" of Prince's Let's Go Crazy. Not sure..

What's your top 3 favorite rap songs of all time?
Can't say I have any specific favorites, I like things in spurts so some weeks i'm really into something & then I can't listen to it for a few weeks or months. Maybe CVE's The Art Of War, or anything off of Project Blowed Comp. I've been playing Skinny Boys' Jock Box quite a bit lately.

What dj/record collector do you admire and why?
Locally, I would have to say either Djentrification or Smite. They both have tons of stuff that I've never heard of or will ever come across. Globally, I like checking out Real El Canario's 15 minutes of... mixes that he posts on line. I also enjoy 45 King's youtube mixes. They always play heat...

What's the weirdest thing that has happened to you while dj'ing?
This might seem tame compared to other DJ's stories but I rarely do weddings and was gonna pass on this one but the Bride was a big fan of mine. They pulled me aside during the reception & said you're doing a great job but we were hoping you would play more of your original tracks. That was pretty weird to hear, I played a bunch of my tunes & the people there were singing along & actually knew the songs. Best wedding reception ever... 

If you could meet anyone,living or dead,who would you meet? 
Maybe because he just passed away but it would be cool to meet Prince. I don't know what we would talk about except his music. It would be cool to meet Howard Stern too haha, I don't think he would be too much fun though.

What was your greatest dj moment?
I would have to say it was getting invited to play at South by Southwest at a Peligrosa party, i think it was in 2010 or '11. I got to meet a bunch heads that I knew online & we were all into the Latin, Moombahton, Global Bass kind of thing at the time. Playing in DC at Moombahton Massive is always great too.

What was your worst dj moment?
I wouldn't call it the worst but it was def crazy the time I played in NYC at a Que Bajo party. I got on the wrong train & was on my way to Jersey. Had to hop off the train & wait forever to get back into the city. Barely made it on time. The event was dope but getting there was a little scary.

What's your favorite break?
Again I don't think I have a favorite but I play MFSB's Love Is The Message quite a bit. Also I think Rhythm Heritage's Theme from SWAT is pretty funky. I like extending Wild Sugar's Bring It Here for days too. There are so many I could go on & on...

If you could be someone else for a day,who would it be?
I like who I am & wouldn't wanna be anyone else, but since you're twisting my arm I'll go with Prince only for the fact that he has always been so prolific & I would consider my mixtape archive somewhat like his Vault.

Who is your role model and why?
My Pops (rest in peace) & my brother Jose. Both are great husbands & fathers..

What's your favorite mixtape/why?
DJ Q-bert's Demolition Pumpkin Squeeze Musik is pretty awesome, nice mixing, classic breaks, pre crab scratching. Soundbombing II is great too, J-rocc & Babu did a great job with the Rawkus catalog. Actually I used to bump Funk Master Flex's 60 Minutes of Funk vol 1 all the time. 1200 Hobos had a crazy mixtape that I cant remember the name of anymore, it was really weird. I remember throwing it on at a get together a long time ago & all the girls there hated it. I'm sure I got a dub of it somewhere in a drawer at my Mom's crib.

What's the best gift you've ever received?
As a kid every Christmas I would always get a 10 or 20 pack of blank tapes. Nothing beats blank tapes.

What's next for Melo?
No huge plans here. Hopefully keep spinning at chill spots like Hanny's and Uptown at Rip's where I can play what I wanna hear. The 90's parties are still going pretty strong at Crescent we are back to weekly for rest of the Summer. I'm still doing remixes for Select Mix, they're kinda Pop & wedding DJ kind of remixes but it's nice to get paid for something I enjoy doing. Not sure if I will get back into producing original music, i like doing it but it takes a lot of my time & all I really get for doing that is props. I can't really feed my kids with props so you know...

Peace Darrell, thanks for the love...


Vinyl Shop Spotlight-Gramaphone Records

The last vinyl spot I hit up on my recent trip to the midwest was Gramaphone Records located in the Lincoln Park section of Chicago. I haven't been to this place since the 90's. This is where Dj's go to shop! One of the biggest selections of House music along with Techno, Drum N Bass, Trance, Electronic, & Downtempo can be found here. Back in the day, Gramaphone had the largest selection of mixtapes (cassettes) of any spot I have ever been in. So many in fact that they did not have enough space to display them all. You actually had to flip through several binders to find what you were looking for. I was hoping to find some but apparently they have been gone for years. I did however find some cool 45's and some vintage Chicago random rap.

Vinyl Shop Spotlight- Out Of The Past Records

Next I would like to spotlight Out Of The Past Records located on the west side of Chicago. This is also one of my favorite dig spots because I never know what I will find. On this trip I walked away with some serious vintage Chicago Dj mixtapes. This place is always packed with neighborhood folks and you will also see the occasional European looking for those dusty grooves. Need those 8-tracks? They got you. Need those rap cassingles? They got you. Need those funk 45's, sealed soul Lp's, disco 12"s? C'mon man, I said they got you. Mr. & Mrs. Henderson have been in the neighborhood for over 40 years and have no plans of going anywhere.

Vinyl Shop Spotlight-Bullseye Records

The second vinyl shop I want to spotlight on my recent trip back to the midwest is Bullseye Records in my hometown of Milwaukee,WI. I've been shopping at Bullseye since they opened back in the 90's. Luke, the owner, is a stand up guy that has been in the record game forever and has run many record stores in Milwaukee long before he opened this shop. If ever in this city,this needs to be your first stop.  

Vinyl Shop Spotlight-Peoples Records

 Just got back from a trip to the midwest and got to do some diggin at some serious vinyl spots. The first on my list to spotlight is Peoples Records in Detroit. Now with 2 locations, this spot is unstoppable. Peoples Records is absolutely my favorite spot for 45's. My first visit there about 4-5 years ago turned up 2 copies of Black Nasty "Party on 4th St" for $3.00 each. I also saw multiple copies of every Meters 45,every Dennis Coffy 45, every P-Funk 45, every Dyke & the Blazers 45, & more breaks on 45 then I have ever seen in any record store I have ever been in. Most of these 45's were between $1-$2 each. Plus, I've never seen so many local people walk into a record store with records to sell. In fact,on my first visit there, within the first 2 hours, 6 people walked in with records to sell. I've even heard Dj's like Jazzy Jeff and Kid Capri mention this spot. But don't worry,they have serious volume!  You can thank me later.