DJ Needle [Interview]
Windsor, ON – Well, here we are. As we work our way toward the end of 2007, we look back and reflect upon the transactions and major moves made in hip-hop down here in Windsor – also known as “Dirty Dub”, “Smog City”, “Sin City”, “South Detroit”, “Dub City”, “Lil City” and many more unmentionables, I’m sure.
From one of the most slept on cities for Canadian hip-hop, Windsor provides a combination of Canuck freedoms and Yankee influences that merge the lifestyles together to form a rugged, entertaining and sometimes unlawful tone of expression unlike any other in Canada.
It has been a strenuous but very beneficial year for Windsor as far as the hip-hop scene is concerned – weeding out and sifting through some of the bullshit artists and promoters has led to the shuffling and repairing of some damaged issues within (which, most thought, would be an impossible task). With the determination and networking capabilities of a few diehards like DJ Needle and his local support system, the local scene has been hit with a well-deserved spotlight, with steady radio, video, event and mixtape spots profiling its artists.
DJ Needle is an American citizen and has been scrutinized for this constantly, but his love for Windsor far exceeds that of most of the folks born and raised here. And with this dual citizenship, he has brought focus to many local artists on both sides of the border, with all the tools on hand necessary to expose the world to the hottest music from the 519/313 area.
A quick rundown of his current business movemements… starting with his radio shows. We have The Needle 914 Show on CJAM 91.5 FM: Tuesdays 12AM-2AM in Detroit & Windsor (http://www.cjam.ca) and The Needle 914 Show on Bassline Radio: Wednesdays 8PM-10PM (listen online at http://www.basslineradio.net). For events we have the Windsor Hip-Hop Conference which brings informative discussion on the future of hip-hop. local issues and much needed information about the business knowledge and the tools needed for success. The event features a panel of industry experts from both sides of the border. On December 21st, Needle will be presenting the Windsor Hip-Hop Concert which features the best of Windsor and Detroit’s local hip-hop and R&B [click to view flyer]. Online: HipHopWindsor.com, a promotional website that serves the local artists with exposure, links to their works, event announcements and event photos as well as links to affiliate sites like Embassy Entertainment which DJ Needle has been associated with for many years. Along with these tasks, he also works in Windsor as one of the hottest DJs, with gigs at various venues across the city – he also hosts dozens of events and benefits for the City of Roses.
The bottom line is this man eats, sleeps and shits hip-hop promotion, and nothing will stop him from breaking artists into the ears of the people. DJ Needle is Windsor Hip-Hop!
HipHopCanada: Needle, thanks for coming through HipHopCanada. How are you doing homie?
DJ Needle: Everything is good.
HipHopCanada: At what age did you start DJing, and why?
DJ Needle: I started at the age of 15. In my basement with this rap group called DCG (Detroit City Gangstas)… Making mixtapes and doing beats.
HipHopCanada: Is there a strong presence of young Americans who come to Windsor for hip-hop music?
DJ Needle: They see Windsor as an untapped market, so they are slowly making their way across. For example, Tone-Tone, K-Deezy, Hot 102.7 Detroit Radio and Street Justice, just to name a few. As far as a fan base, there is a lack of promotion on the other side of the border, which I’m currently tapping into.
HipHopCanada: Explain to folks your agenda for hip-hop music.
DJ Needle: Well first thing is to get these local Windsor artists heard and seen. And help them promote their music.
HipHopCanada: I understand you have a small following of haters down here. Can you give us some insight as to why?
DJ Needle: I love when people hate on me. It’s the best feeling ever. See, the reason why they hate is because they want what I got. But they can have it too. Just work hard at it and it will come to you. See that one thing they don’t want to do is work. Get up people, and read a fucking book.
HipHopCanada: Explain to us the unique flavor that the Detroit/Windsor area has, and what makes Windsor different from the rest of Canada as far as hip-hop music.
DJ Needle: Well Windsor has one of the most unique styles around because it is a border city of Detroit. There is no Canadian influence in Windsor at all. All we get here is Detroit radio. It’s not really at all a Detroit sound, in Windsor, but it is a Detroit influence.
HipHopCanada: No doubt. So how do you feel Canadian hip-hop music compares to that of American artists, and is it possible that the industry can thrive if both countries are united in hip-hop?
DJ Needle: Man that would be so powerful. The U.S. has tons of hot stuff. But in Canada there is mad fire that needs to get out there (like in Windsor). But for both countries, the hip-hop scene needs to start at home first – artists need to get their acts together and stop hating on each other and then we can go to the next level.
HipHopCanada: There has been a lot of controversy about the lyrical content of hip-hop and the freedom of speech rights of artists. What do you feel needs to change in hip-hop music—or do you think it is acceptable as is?
DJ Needle: Well it is what it is. It’s an art form, and how are you going to tell someone how to express themselves? It’s wrong, but we still need to watch what we let these kids listen to. Just because you hear someone say I did a drive-by don’t mean you have to go do it.
HipHopCanada: What do you think have been the issues that have resulted in Windsor getting no attention for its hip-hop creativity?
DJ Needle: The main reason is because a lot of Canada thinks of Windsor as a part of Detroit. Well, last time I came back in to Canada, there was a Canadian flag there. Next, I think people are ignorant to what Windsor has to offer. A perfect example of something everyone in Canada should support: So Liva’s new album Northern Invasion. He is a perfect example of Canadian pride.
HipHopCanada: The future of hip-hop depends on what?
DJ Needle: Good music, promotions, and support; people working together, and not hating on each other. And people also minding their own personal business. If we all stick together we can all move to that next level.
HipHopCanada: I know you have some things to say that I may have not had a question for, so if you will, finish us up with some words from the hardest working DJ in the Windsor/Detroit area.
DJ Needle: Yes sir. Look, I never stop. I never let anyone get in my way, and you shouldn’t either. I want to say thanks to everyone that helped me out on my journey toward the top. All the places that I’ve DJ’d at… from Detroit to Toronto – shouts out to Mona from Lady Luck Entertainment. Give your local DJs the support they deserve! And DJs: start playing these local artists’ records! I have 3 mix CDs dropping soon, so keep it locked to Windsor’s number one hip-hop DJ! I’m working on the Windsor Hip-Hop Concert Part 2 for December 21st and the “Windsor Hip-Hop Conference” for 2008. Shouts out to So Liva, Northern Invasion – in stores now! Also, Academy Entertainment album – Loyaty is Limited, December 14 th. The Canada South 2CD Compilation is dropping Late January. Also, Ritt Theme and God Speed Crossing Borders dropping albums soon. New websites are about to drop: http://www.djneedle914.com which will feature info about me, podcast downloads, free mixed CDs and more.
Written by Dat Boi for HipHopCanada