What do an international star DJ and a Main Street Danbury entrepreneur have in common?
The International Star DJ is The Original Jazzy Jay, a legendary South Carolina Gullah-born musician whose career spans over 40 years. An early member of Afrika Bambaataa's Universal Zulu Nation, he was a protégé of Bambaataa. Along his musical journey, he co-founded the Def Jam and Strong City record labels, produced for such artists as LL Cool J, and The Beastie Boys, and hosted a radio program on KISS-FM.
The Danbury Main Street entrepreneur is 31-year-old, Puerto Rican Josue Manuel Velez, born and raised in Connecticut and a one-man band who operates iLL iNK Graphic & Printing Services. At the age of 18, he started writing raps and was given the alias Man-u-iLL, a name he uses when he shuts up shop and heads for a gig.
What do the two share in common? HIP HOP.
They met up on the phone recently (Jay lives in Brooklyn) sharing stories and inspiration, often speaking insider lingo that would go right over a layman's head. It was very much mentor to devotee, a laid back conversation as if Jay and Josh (his Main Street name) had met before.
Josh jumped right in: "It's a privilege and honor to speak with you. As one of the first to bring Hip Hop to the public as a serious musical genre, with its own language and style, you've fused deejay with fashion, graffiti and b-boyiing (breakdancing) to express a culture unique to itself and yet to be fully realized."
"We do it," responded Jay. "When I grew up, there was church. My father played guitar and fiddle. And there were House Parties. My uncle would arrive with a bag of 45s. DJ-ing was just as big then. The turntable and one speaker evolved because of the true nature of what it was. Vinyl will never be extinct." Jay reportedly owns over 400,000 vinyl recordings. The first to combine reggae with Hip Hop to create a new sound and influence in the field, he's concerned about "a conformity that has arisen, limiting innovation in our music and its production. Technology weakens your repertoire. A DJ is a skilled practitioner, endowed with a vibrant past of and knowledge."
Josh asks, "Do you have any advice for anybody looking to get into today's Hip Hop game?" The refreshing answer: "Learn your craft and its history. Get in where you fit, whether performing, songwriting, producing. Hard work always prevails. Someone once said, 'Practice. Practice. Practice.'"
The trendsetting Hip Hop DJ, The Original Jazzy Jay, along with Phony Ppl, will perform as a highlight of CityCenter Danbury's Summer Concerts on the Green on Friday, August 23 at 7:00pm at the Danbury Green Bandshell (Ives Street). For information call, CityCenter at (203) 792 1711. For all CityCenter events, visit www.citycenterdanbury.com
P.S. Josh will attend the Concert where he'll meet his inspiration in person. He has been asked to perform at CityCenter's First Night Danbury on New Year's Eve, December 31, 2013. This year's First Night theme is "Young at Heart," and the International Star DJ and the Main Street Danbury entrepreneur prove that you can be hip at any age.