Ladies First

Female DJs Got a Foot Through the Door, Ain't Goin' Nowhere

"I've had owners come up to me and there'll be a group of Black people there and I'll be playing some new shit, like the new Jay-Z," says E-Love, "and the owner says, 'Stop playing hip-hop. I don't want these people to dance, I don't want them here.' " One of the hardest working DJs in the city, E-Love quit her day job as a Giant Step promoter to pursue singing and writing her own music and DJ'ing. "I really want to end up producing beats and creating music," says the Bronx transplant, "and I figured the more I listened to music and the more that I actually focused on music that's already out, the more I would learn."

For the most part, female DJs don't segue into production with the same speed as male DJs like Pete Rock, Evil Dee, Funkmaster Flex, and Clue, who have made wildly successful transitions into beat-tailoring and business. Jazzy Joyce, who laid down her first recording in 1983 as a member of a group called Sweet Trio on Tommy Boy Records, is only now getting into production; same goes for her Ladies Night partner Cocoa Chanelle and Spinderella. Kaori and E-Love are producing their own r&b projects, yet to be slated for release, and Bond says she is aggressively producing "soulful r&b, soulful hip-hop" tracks on her Triton keyboard. While talk and plans of producing are great for now, female DJs in hip-hop are in the proverbial studio in the same sense as every wannabe rapper in the country. Only time will tell what will materialize.

Clubland mvp: dj Beverly Bond at Joe's Pub
photo: Cary Conover
Clubland mvp: dj Beverly Bond at Joe's Pub

"The whole notion of one person reading the crowd and then directing the flow and mood of the entire group and then creating one singular vibe is, well, a woman's thing," says Jodie Becker. Tonight at NV, Kaori is in control of the masses of sweaty bodies bumping, humping, and grinding into each other without mercy to the bass resonating through the club's excellent sound system. People are getting their freak on. And even if only a handful will survive the furor, female DJs in hip-hop are not going anywhere, as long as there are asses to deliver to their mothership.

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