Big Ups With EMSKEE

Photo by Alex Bershaw

Name, Location, What You Do:

The name is DJ/MC EMSKEE, and I’m a work-from-home dad with a 6 year old son. NYC.


DJ-wise, my top influences in no particular order, and over time (I’ve been spinning seriously since 1986), are DJ Kid Capri, Cark KentT, Pete Rock, Tony Humphries, DJ Spinna, Gilles Peterson, Larry Levan, The Latin rascals, Wax Master Torey, David Mancuso. There’s a range there. I wanted to make sure that whoever reads this knows that’s a wide spectrum of music service. So my influence comes from a lot.

Favorite Records at the Moment:

That’s a hard question. And I’m not being funny. My taste is all over (pause…ha ha). I love all kinds of music so much that I can’t have a favorite. If I have to choose just one…….
An underground hip hop album called The Many Voices of U George by a guy named U George out of the Soundsci Crew. Solid, tight production and REAL rhymes with a great balance of many cadences throughout the album. How I feel the perfect hip hop album should sound. You can tell the dedication applied towards every track.

Best Digging Story:

I mean, aren’t they all the best? Ha ha. The mission to find shit. That uncertain trip amidst records in basements with rat piss and mold. Thrift stores. Random garbage cans on the street with records in them. We are willing to do that to find shit. Tell me I’m lying. Ha ha ha. One that comes to mind as I’m ranting here, is when me and my man who was hanging with me then while I did a show on NC State’s radio station (WKNC 88.1 FM) in Raleigh, North Carolina back in ’88, jacked so many records from the radio station late night. We’d be walking across a huge parking lot in the dark, carrying records that were up to our chins, to bring ’em to my crib just off campus. You can’t image that happening today. I’m surprised we didn’t get pinched all the times we did it. Crazy.

Favorite Mix and Why. Any Genre, Any DJ.

Any Tony Humphries mix from 98.7 KISS FM tapes. I studied him growing up. His blends were incredible. For long periods of time too. It’s very difficult to blend disco records with house records and make it sound clean for up to 3 or 4 minutes. And the turntables he was using weren’t like what’s available today. I encourage the DJs that don’t know……great blends will elevate your skill as a DJ immediately. It’ gives a greater continuity to the mix.
But look up Tony Humphries mixes on youtube. A very close second, would be Latin Rascals mixes, also on KISS FM back in the early 80’s. The Manual edits that these guys would do to hip hop, freestyle, and disco joints was beyond comprehension for that time.

LP, 12”, or 7” format?

Give me 12″ inches or album all day. I mean, music is music on wax, and no matter what format you play it on, if you have your sound right, it’s gonna be gravy. I think the 7″ format has made it easier to play out, and brought out many djs that wouldn’t be doing it if it was still a bit back breaking to lug out the bigger formats. Plus, 12″ have versions that are longer and in a lot of cases not available on a 7″. But whatever. I like the big records.

Junk Food You Can’t Live Without:

White Castle is dangerous. And soda is Lucifer himself.

Most Memorable Gig Played:

NYC for Bobitto’s Cucumbers and Waffles Monday night party at APT back in maybe 2002. He asked me to fill in for him which of course caught me off guard and was an honor. Lots of interesting people would stop by and hang out. The night I was there, Talib Kweli, Michael Rappaport, Rosie Perez, and DJ Red Alert were all chilling. I was in a zone that night. So much that late night, Red Alert flagged me down across the room with his hat, and give me the ‘sour face’ salute. It was incredible. Rest in Peace to my man G Man who was the MC.

Record That Never Leaves Your Record Box:

Lansana’s Priestess – Donald Byrd. Incredible record. One of my all time favorites. That record just instantly transports you to somewhere feeling good. There’s nothing like live instruments played well. Brilliant record.

Shout Outs, Last Remarks, and Gig Info:

Thank you for the opportunity to participate in your interview series Mr. Harvey. I appreciate.

I can be heard doing my two weekly radio shows:

The Controlled Substance Show on
Every Wednesday evening for the rush hour from 5pm to 6pm.
I feature a different style of music every week. It’s always an adventure.
Listen on the radio Free Brooklyn app as well.
Check the archives at

The Pen Joints Show on Bushwick Radio
Every Friday evening for the rush hour from 5pm to 6pm.
Raw, new, and old underground/ independent hip hop.
Check the Pen Joints facebook page for show archives links and track lists.

The Good People

Dig Deeper!

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