Hip-Hop Kings Interview with DJ Logikal
HHK: Thanks for speaking to us Logikal. For the U.K readers can we have a brief introduction please?
DJ Logikal: Ohio’s #1 mixtape DJ. You’ve just tuned into the streets!
HHK: What is your definition of a mixtape?
DJ Logikal: In my opinion, it’s a compilation of new, upcoming music from upcoming artists or new music in general it’s not too much about what’s on radio at that given point in time.
HHK: You’re widely regarded as the number one Mixtape DJ in Ohio. How long have you been putting out mixtapes? And can you remember the first mixtape you released?
DJ LogiKal: Does widely mean world wide (laughs) nah, I’m just a hard worker with this music grind. Some people hang out with friends or go to the club for fun. I hit the studio, thats where I have fun at. It’s the only place I don’t have distractions in my life and I’m not under any outside pressure. The studio has kinda became my second home, and hell, for a while it actually was my home. That’s one thing I’ve realised over the last five years of doing this mixtape game behind the scenes and in the public eye, I could be stuck in the studio for a week with no outside contact and it wouldn’t bother me a bit, I love this life and all the situations that come with it. The first tape though, damn. I actually consider two tapes to be my first tape because one of them I was more behind the scenes while the other I was in front, loud and direct. Safire who was a local female MC out of Toledo came through with her team and cut I’d say about 15-18 records in my studio an I more or less just played the engineer/promotions roll. Wasn’t much hands on “DJing” that I did. Now on the flip side I did a lil promo tape for myself early ’06 with some exclusives I received, chopped it up tossed in the scratches and blends put the whole project together start to finish. Put it online and sold it at school thats the first real mixtape I ever did as DJ Logikal the “DJ”.
HHK: Ohio isn’t typically a synonymous Hip-Hop state, yet it’s produced some great artists (Copywrite, Big J, Hi-Tek, Sky 7th etc). Have you worked with all the major Ohio Hip-Hop artists? And how would you describe the current scene?
DJ LogiKal: Actually Ohio has a great amount of history in Hip-Hop, from Bone Thugs and Kid Cudi to Ray Cash and Lyfe Jennings. There has been an immense amount of talent to succeed in this business from Ohio. I’ve worked with a handful of them but there’s still a lot of talented well ranking artists in my eyes that I would like to collaborate with. I’ve always been a big fan of Chip the Ripper and Ray Cash plus It’d be nice to be able to get the full Bone team together and in the studio, but thats what happens when you reach icon status I suppose. The current scene as I’m sure almost anyone from the state will tell you always holds a lot of weight. There is just a very small amount of artists/DJs/Producers who actually manage to make noise on a national level. But im glad to say with the help of myself and other DJ’s in the state (DJ Suspence, DJ Flaco, DJ E-V ) a lot more talent is finding a larger outlet in this state and it’s showing greatly from sales of records an singles to concerts.
HHK: Would you ever consider a move to either the West Coast or East Coast to boost your name throughout the Hip-Hop world? And which out-of-state artists have you worked with to date?
DJ LogiKal: I try to travel as much as possible but to actually relocate I’d have a pretty hard time managing that. My team is Ohio based, My DJ coalition is Ohio Street DJs and I myself wouldn’t feel right being based out of somewhere else still hanging on to Ohio. So as long as anything I do has something to do with Ohio I’ll be more then happy to call any city in this state home. As far as out of town clients that list is longer than I care to think about but we can toss out some of the more recent ventures. TK 100 Racks is a real nice up an coming artist out of Atlanta, anyone down there will let you know the deal if you ask about 100 Rack Gang. Philly artists have always been an interest of mine so I try to stay working with artists from there from Tone Trump to this upcoming project with Cyssero. Philly always manages to catch my ear musically, and there’s a few westcoast artists I’m working with currently and I have a new project with the battle rapper DNA based out of NY, so I’m pretty much national with my work. I try to keep a real diverse crowd of artists on my resume.
HHK: Has the Internet revolution destroyed or assisted the mixtape world? And how much support do you get from the blogs and websites when you release either a digital or physical project?
DJ LogiKal: I think it is possibly the best thing that could have happened to the mixtape game, it of course has its ups and downs like most things in life though. For example you may have an artist that gets lucky and only drops one mixtape an his buzz is sky rocketed into a whole new tax bracket but for most that’s not the case. I feel like your initial fan base carries you into a whole new audience that might not have your mixtape or only knows you by one or two songs. So no matter what anyone wants to admit what’s the first thing id say 90% of people do after hearing someone new? They hit Google to see what comes up, ITunes, see what comes up. So I feel strongly that internet is 100% beneficial to the artists, But on the other side you have the DJs. And as much as I don’t like hating on another DJs for any reason the internet has made it possible for anyone with a recording program and some tags to do mixtapes and call themselves “Mixtape DJs” and that has in my eyes put a very large black hole over the market today. And you know there’s always going to be those higher ups and more prestige websites that only cater the real and official projects and I think a lot of the fans and listeners are starting to learn the difference between the two. But as far as the websites go I couldn’t ask for more support. I remember not too long ago when I had to send out 10-15 emails of the same project to the same sites just to get them to respond. Now that those days are over though I look back on them in stride for creating this work ethic and the relationships I have with numerous websites today. Without them I’m pretty much out of a job.
HHK: How do you approach a new artist that wants you to host their mixtape?
DJ Logikal: I’m not gonna lie a lot of artists do it the wrong way. Too many times I’ve heard the excuse that a person is looking at me and I just had a meeting with this label and that label, but what most artists don’t understand is no-one is trying to back something that has no credibility. So I try to tell these artists especially the younger ones that they need to build a brand first before they approach someone like me or try to get in touch with someone on my level or higher. See, branding is very important to me. That’s what artists and DJs alike have to learn, like when I first started doing mixtapes 4-5 years ago I wanted people to say “Have you heard that new DJ Logikal mixtape” or “Hey i got that new so & so and DJ Logikal mixtape today” not “What’s a new mixtape out now” I wanted people to constantly have my name in their mouths when they talked or discussed mixtapes especially in Ohio. And I’ll be the first to admit it’s never going to be an overnight thing, it took me a good 2-3 years until my brand itself started to create as much buzz as the artists I was doing projects for. So branding is very important to me, you have to create a following where people are looking for you.
HHK: Where are the best places that fans can check for new mixtapes and updates? And what are your plans for 2011?
DJ LogiKal: The website (www.itsdjlogikal.com) will be back up in the following weeks, but as always livemixtapes, hotnewhiphop, datpiff, thatcrack. Honestly anywhere that supplies mixtapes online or in stores you should find my name and if not count on it being there soon. Man, 2011 really just bigger an better things. My caliber of artists has risen greatly so expect some real power moves over the next 10 months
HHK: Is there anything else you’d like to add to the end of the interview?
DJ LogiKal: Ah yeah, thank you for the interview and the support anything y’all need don’t hesitate to ask. Glass City, 419! Toledo, OH
HHK: Thanks again for speaking to Hip-Hop Kings. Keep in touch!
Interview by Ryan Maxwell