An Interview with DJ Heat, Part Two

For Part One of the interview, please click here. Part two is after the jump.

SOTB!!!: What are your thoughts on so many younger (and some older) artists mixing drugs together and relishing in it? I know it’s not really a new thing, but it seems more pronounced now than even in the heyday of syrup-drenched mixes and DJ Screw.
Heat: It hurts to see–especially since they know the dangers of doing it. Most recently, we had the passing of A$AP Yams. Even he knew he was wrong for doing it. He admitted it when he first went to rehab. But I think so many of these young artists have this “We all gonna go one day” mentality and feel like if they die, then at least let them die doing something that they love.
And it’s such a sad mentality to have. And it’s also a selfish mentality to have. You want your mom, dad, sisters, brothers, and even your kids to mourn your death because you cared more about lean and pills instead of being here on Earth for them? You don’t want to watch your kids grow? It’s really disappointing to see and I don’t know what it’s going to take for this exploding drug trend to stop.
SOTB!!!: To expand, is this “new” drug rap and trend a phase and we’re getting more of it because it’s popular and sells/gets streams, or will more artists start popping Zans?
Heat: It’s definitely not a phase. Drugs are not a phase. It’s an illness. And these rappers do not realize that. Any time you have to become dependent on something to make you feel better, that is a problem. That’s an illness. And what happens when your body is immune? You start looking for something harder. So, I see things as not a phase, but a real problem that is only going to sadly get worse because they take so much and so many of these drugs that they will eventually need a stronger fix to get them going.
As far as more artists talking about it in songs, it was bound to happen. Lean was always a part of Houston rap culture, and, well, all know when something gets popular in rap it spreads and other regions start taking from it. Not saying that Houston is to blame for what is happening now, I’m just saying that is where we can go back to the mentioning of lean in music and the first acceptance of it.
Now as for the pill popping, I have no clue where this originated. Maybe we can go back to when everyone was talking about Molly and E-Pills. And like I said, once your body becomes immune you’re going to have to move on to something stronger. So you’ve rapped about Molly and that drug’s effects no longer works on you, so now you have to rap about and tell the world about the new drug that makes you feel good. It’s wild times we’re living in. And it’s going to take something crazy to happen for a wakeup call.
SOTB!!!: What are your thoughts on artists who have a devout fan base, are unlike most artists you’d hear, but are still (mostly) slept on, such as a Big K.R.I.T. or a Joey Bada$$ or an Earl Sweatshirt?
Heat: I think artists like those provide balance in music, and I commend them for still being able to be successful. Some people like to dictate success on a song being all over the radio or being the club banger. But those artists mentioned can sell out concerts, sell out their merchandise after the concerts, and even charge a pretty penny to sell out their meet-in-greet. They prove it’s all about quality music and connecting with the fans.
A lot of artists forget about that and think it’s all about having a big song. When it’s not, it’s more so about connecting with your fans. Those long-term fans are going to keep you fed. Not those flash in the pan “fans” that only heard your song on a movie commercial.
SOTB!!!: You know I’ve got to ask you: what’d you think about Kendrick’s new album?
Heat: I think To Pimp a Butterfly is wonderful and proves that artists can take risks and be their true selves and still be successful.You don’t have to make a trap song or a twerk song. You can speak on real life and real issues and guess what—the people will buy it! To Pimp a Butterflyis a Spike Lee Joint put on wax.
SOTB!!!: Bringing it back home (and I want you to be completely honest): is the DMV full of too many artists? Why or why not?
I don’t think it’s full of too many artists. Every major city has a ton of artists. That’s just the way things are. The DMV likes to think we’re “worse off” than other places, when there are actually a lot of similarities in certain aspects.
SOTB!!!: Is there enough unity within the DMV that can propel its artists to the next level? Or do you still see too much of that “crabs in the barrel” mentality? Or is there something else entirely, in your opinion?
Heat: I don’t think unity is the problem, and I don’t think a “crabs in the barrel” mentality is a problem as well. I think what keeps the area from propelling to the next level is the lack of knowing the music combined which coincides with this industry’s infancy in this rap arena. Look at things like this: New York has been popping in rap since the 70s, then Cali and the South followed suit in the 80s and 90s. When did the DMV area start its [major] rap movement? In 2006 when Wale dropped “Dig Dug.” Until that point, no one paid attention to the area’s rap scene and many in this area didn’t start being taken seriously as rappers until then.
Whether people want to accept what I say as real or not, it’s a fact. I’ve been involved in the local rap scene since around 1997. This area didn’t give much of a damn about their own rappers because we were a go-go town.
SOTB!!!: Baltimore, in some ways, had/has similar issues, so I get it. Considering before, like, the Bossmans, Comps, and them, Baltimore was known more for club, a couple oldies groups, and Dru Hill–at least from a wider, outside-the-city perspective, .
Heat: You got laughed at as trying be like those New York bammas for trying to rap. But when Wale had his regional hit single with “Dig Dug,” the views of this area’s rap scene started to change. And people became more accepting of rappers in this area. Now, no disrespect to people like Nonchalant who was the first DC rapper to earn a gold record, and no disrespect to people like Section 8 Mob, Black Indian, Hood Life Money, Earthquake, I can go on and on naming DMV rappers from the ‘90s. But they had it tough trying to get respect in this city as rappers because the majority of people in this city at the time weren’t checking for local rap or trying to become rappers.
That changed with Wale. And, from that point so many youngins wanted to become rappers to it’s at the point of what we see today. Now again, going back to what I said bout New York, Cali and the South. These areas have 20, 30 years of hit making and changing the music game in their area. We don’t even have 10 years yet. We’re still in a developing phase. So it’s not unity. It’s not crabs in the barrel. It’s a city that is still learning and trying to find its way. But we’re getting there.
SOTB!!!: Who are some DMV acts that you look out for when they drop new music?
Heat: I’m going to keep it politically correct—everyone (laughs). I don’t want to name someone and forget another and be labeled a hater (laughs).
SOTB!!!: How should someone, DMV or wherever, approach you with regards to getting you to check out a track?
Heat: It’s best to catch me at a music event and step to be with a proper introduction and some real convo. Not when I’m DJing an event, but when I’m out as a spectator or a panelist. Meeting someone face-to-face holds weight with me, because a lot of people are losing the art of networking. It’s not always about being on a computer. Get out of the house. And also, word of mouth means a lot as well. If you’re hot and buzzing, there’s no need to tell me. The streets will let me know.
SOTB!!!: Inversely, what’s the worst way to get at you about music? And can you give me an example of one of the worst requests you’ve received? Hopefully, it’s none of mine—but I’ll own it if it is/was.
Heat: Of course, tweeting me is the worse way. You will just get added to the 1400+ people I have on my block list. Also, don’t ask me to play your song while I’m DJing and I don’t know who you are. That is worse than tweeting me. Number one, I’m working. Number two, I don’t know you or your song. Whatever you’re thinking positive will happen from me playing your song from meeting you for the 1st time while DJing, you’re wrong.
And don’t try to offer me money to play it. That is insulting to me. I don’t compromise my integrity for dollars. I’ve hurt a lot of rappers’ egos in the club by not taking their money to play their music. They have this “how dare she turn down my money” look on my face. Well, how dare you think money from someone I don’t know will make me play a song I’ve never heard before? I am not that type of DJ. I have morals and integrity. Take your money and go buy some promotion for your song through a music promo company.
SOTB!!!: Last couple questions: where do you see yourself in five years?
Heat: Somewhere nice with no mosquitos. Word to Jay-Z (laughs). I hope to be deeper involved with film work as well as being a touring speaker and digital influence with my blog.
SOTB!!!: Where can people reach you and where can they hear your mixes?
Heat: You can reach me on Twitter and Instagram at @DJHeatDC. My Facebook is, and you can grab my mixes from
SOTB!!!: Any last questions, shoutouts, etc.?

Heat: Thank you to everyone that has supported me through the years. I wouldn’t have been able to accomplish what I have without the love and support of my hometown.

Speed on the Beat

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