As a DJ, there are elders that you look up to an have an influence on you. Early on, it was Grandmixer DST, Flash, and Herc who I was enamored with as the birth of hip hop was ushered in. Mixing doubles, playing eclectic break filled sets, and blowing minds playing great music that a room full of diverse people could get down to was what grabbed my attention. I always strove to do that as I learned to DJ and moved forward in it as a career. As my record collection grew, and I stayed a student of the music, I had more established DJs to collaborate with and look up: My DJ partner for over a decade DJ Un-G, The Mighty Measles aka Jah Measles, and the crew at Pulse Records (RIP), Jah-red, Glenn Garcia, and Mark Bee. These cats spun techno and house, but I was able to learn a lot from those guys early on. This was the ’90’s, so as a DJ I would chase DJ Shadow, Cut Chemist, Nu-Mark and eat up everything they did. A chance encounter with fam Rich Medina in Las Vegas about 15+ years ago changed my outlook on DJing as well. I tried to educate myself on a lot of DJs further, and as books like Last Night A DJ Saved My Life and The Record Players by Bill Brewster documented many scenes, I grew eager to learn how the masters did it before me. Bring in Nicky Siano, Larry Levan, Walter Gibbons, Francois K, and of course, David Mancuso. While I have never attended one of his Loft parties or met Mr. Mancuso, his reputation for doing it right is legendary, and the road he built for the DJ community and influence he had on decades of selectors is second to none. If you were to ever do a party, you wanted it to be like a Mancuso party. Here is something he said that resonates so loudly today as the day he said it:
People just want to have a good time. They want to feel safe and have a good time. That’s always rule number one for a place, to be safe. … Don’t forget, you had the civil rights movement going on, you had gay liberation going on. You had all these movements going on. All this music that was coming from all different directions, it was all over the place. As long as you had a neutral place where people could come and just enjoy themselves, there was such incredibly good music.
Rest In Peace David Mancuso, thank you for all you have done for music. You are missed already.
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