West Coastin' with DJ Young Mase [Interview]
Langley, BC – On a hot muggy evening in the valley, HipHopCanada got a chance to cool out with Shady Records’ DJ Young Mase in his nicely air conditioned hotel room as he got his
pre-show drink on. He was in town for his “Make Me Famous” tour so Evolution Entertainment brought him out to China Beach while the Detroit native happened to be on the West coast, although it seems like Canada is a second home to the man. Young Mase is the real deal, a true blue collar DJ grinding it out on the road; dude’s life is one constant tour by the sounds of it. He breaks down what it’s like to make it as a touring DJ, how to operate in both hip-hop and House club scenes, and just why the homie is known as The King Of Hype.
HipHopCanada: You call yourself the King of Hype, but I’m yet to see you live so tell me what it’s like when DJ Young Mase is holding down the club.
DJ Young Mase: Just pure energy man. I’m finding that a lot of DJs, even in the big house scene or hip-hop scene, just aren’t as vocal as they should be and I’ve always used my voice to help the atmosphere in the night club. So I’m a fast-paced DJ, being that I’m from Detroit we speed everything up music tempo-wise so I kind of just feed into that and go from there. I’m 100% focused that every club gets an experience. So, I am the King of Hype and we gonna shut it down tonight.
HipHopCanada: And I’ve seen some footage bro, it’s not just a normal club night, it’s party party party…
DJ Young Mase: Yeah it’s high energy, like even if the tempo drops to 70, 80 beats per minute when we go into hip-hop it’s still going to be uptempo. It’s still going to be up in the air, there’s not going to be any drag. Once I start DJing it’s going to be one hell of a party. We’re going to go from hip-hop to dance; and it’s weird because tonight’s more of a top 40 crowd and you know there’s some clubs where it’s more dance, more house, more electro and that energy always stays up. But then I’ll get booked for hip-hop, only hip-hop, so you’ve got to find ways to understand how to play the music. For me, being a black DJ from Detroit and having Shady Records all around me and my name for the last 5 years it’s hard for some promoters to believe that I can play dance casino spiele music so for me it’s taking it to the next level. And proving it, it’s a show and prove thing.
HipHopCanada: And so what’s your bread and butter? Obviously you know hip-hop but how do you construct a tour? Does your set, whether house or hip-hop, depend on any given club?
DJ Young Mase: It varies per club. Like right now I’m in transition where I’m trying to book more dance clubs, more House clubs, because I want to do festivals. Statistics say it, point blank there are no hip-hop touring DJ’s doing festivals. Actually, there are 2 hip-hop touring DJs that do festivals; one is DJ Premier and the other is Kid Capri and those are legends. The other touring DJs at festivals are massive dance DJs so you kind of have to follow that if you want to stay in the business. It’s understanding both sides. I can make sure I know what’s going on in the world of hip-hop at all times but I’m studying on a daily basis over what’s going on in the dance world. So I think that’s what makes me able to work in certain clubs because I know what’s going on. I don’t enter as a hip-hop DJ trying to play dance music, I’m a DJ who plays everything and I also study everything. That’s what makes me different from other DJs.
HipHopCanada: So what’s up with this cross-Canada tour, where did you start out and how far are you going?
DJ Young Mase: Ummm…I’ve been in Canada all year. I haven’t really left or gone home. We did a little tour in May for a few weeks on this side, Vancouver, Whistler etc. And just a couple weeks ago we were out in Toronto, did Ottawa day out there. Or, Canada Day, but they call it Ottawa day out there [laughs]…biggest party I’ve ever done man. And just last week I was in Europe with Royce Da 5’ 9” doing a few dates. So touring is nonstop, in fact it’s not like I’m even on tour, I mean we’re calling it the Make Me Famous Tour but we’re not going to wind down, it’s constant dates, and new ones still pop up. Like I’m away for a month doing these dates but I’m still taking bookings for August ya know? I’m mean this tour is subject to end in Montreal on the 29th but things are still popping, anything could happen.
HipHopCanada: You’ve been hosting Heavyweight Radio with HipHopCanada, how did that come about, and what’s your relationship with HipHopCanada?
DJ Young Mase: HipHopCanada is special to me because when I was in Ottawa I was hanging with Broken Bridge and their studio was directly beside Jesse’s (HHC). So I’m in there working on mixtapes with those guys on off days and Jesse would come through and we’d just introduce people to each other and that’s how the relationship started to build. I’m sitting in that studio and I say to him “Hey I’m here, you’re here lets do some work” and he said “I’m all for it” and that was it. So I started doing the radio show but it was tough with being on the road so much so we’re now transitioning into mixtapes. What started as Heavyweight Radio will now be mixtapes, we’ll release a new one every two weeks. But I’’ll still incorporate radio elements in it taking material from the road, having interviews, and verses from King of The Dot battles stuff like that. Because all of that is a part of Canadian hip-hop culture. I’m about tying everything together, so whatever we’ve got to do to work together I’m all for it.
HipHopCanada: I was going to ask you what you’ve got planned once this tour ends but sounds like the dates will continue…what can we expect from Young Mase in the future?
DJ Young Mase: Production. I’m really going to try to work on an electro album for next year, I’m working on it now, I have a single nearly finished as it is. The album’s production is House, there will be some vocals, there will be some pop records but it will be an electro album. I’ll also be doing remixes. Like, tomorrow’s an off day and I’ll be working on production…and then me and the fellas are going to find one of these nice beaches you’ve got out here and see what’s goin on see what they look like out here, I’ve been working out so like I’m ready…[laughter].
Interview conducted by Jesse Furnell for HipHopCanada