22 years on the wheels - Dj Mixmasterbrown

Tell us about yourself

I am a professional dj, and a patriotic Nigerian. I love honesty and hard work. I am mixed tribe, my mother is from delta and my father is from Cross River State. I am an example of hard work that paid off. I do promo, IT. I am the proud father of a handsome boy. The lord has been nice to me by giving me a wonderful woman.

How wonderful! That’s so sweet of you to share. So tell us how you got the name mixmasterbrown

It goes way back to the ‘80s. I started djing around ‘89. My big brother was a dj back then; djing in the 80s is not what it is today. Whenever friends were having parties, they’d call him to play music for them. He played cassette from a very small speaker and they called him dj brown. When I came of age, friends knew me to be a music lover and invited me to their parties too. They’d pick me up, drop me at the party venue for free, and pick me up when it’s all over. They knew I was his younger brother so they called me djbrown junior. In 2001, I won a dj championship in Nigeria and that is where the mixmaster came from; it was the golden title. People say I’m the dj with the longest name…I tell them to call me MMB for short. My name was inherited from my brother.

Are you a member of naija djs?

Use to be

A huge transformation is going on in the music scene. Although this is a question I ask musicians, I feel it’s worth asking a dj because they are a big part of the music scene. What do you think of the present African music scene?

I am excited at what has happened. When we djed back in the days, we didn’t play African music—we were always finding the latest western song and often times, we played funk. I know more of what has happened in the Nigerian music scene so I’ll speak on that. I say big ups to Eedris and Eddy of Remedy. They started a whole new revolution of the present day Nigerian music. I know there’s been a lot of controversies and what not, but they brought out the new naija style—Eedris rapped and Eddy sang. Naija music today is about singing and rapping. People came into the music scene and dropped along the way. The remedies blew up and everyone else followed. African music is now matured, appealing, and most of them have a message for the audience.

It’s true that we’ve done well over the years, but compared to American music—it is widely accepted around the globe. What do you feel Nigerian artists can do differently in order to attain global recognition? How can Nigerian music be what American music is to the world?

I have the shortest answer for that

Okay. What is it?

Follow D’banj!

(laughs) I was not expecting that.

He is a smart guy. Perhaps I should say follow Mohits. The snoop dogg feature is the most intelligent thing any African artist has done so far. When you want to feature an American artist, feature someone who is relevant. Snoop has been relevant for so many years—he still is. Snoop might not be in the top ten charts as we speak, but he’s sold millions of records and the people in the music world revere him. He is talented and consistent; he is known for his style and that is what Nigerian music has started getting into the market.

Everyone wanted to sound like R Kelly before. Things changed when people started carving a style for themselves by venturing into rap. Rap is not an American thing, it’s a black culture. All these American rappers originated from Africa. If M.I. was rapping in just American style, he probably wouldn’t have made it. He is a very good rapper and I am not trying to promote him. We used to be in Jos together; I actually lived there for 10 years. I know him well as an international artist and P Square. I was P Square’s official dj before the big break and after. I guess quality and talent is what made M.I. stand out. I play M.I.’s music everywhere I go and people of all races always inquire about him. They don’t believe me when I tell them he’s Nigerian.

Feature more relevant international artists. Don’t just feature someone because the person is based abroad, feature people who can help sell your product. There’s no point paying a lot of money to feature someone if you are more relevant than the person. D’banj featured snoop and shot a video. Follow Mohits and you will make it. Feature Lil Wayne, BeyoncĂ©, Rihanna…these people need to hear what Nigeria has to offer. I bet you they are even looking for ways to feature us on their own joints. We need to try to put structures on ground so people can get to our management as quick as possible.

Be accessible! Follow the small things you see as big. Get a team on ground.

Wow! I cannot wait for people to read this because you’ve mentioned some points that people (especially aspiring musicians) should key into. Tell us your most memorable experience as a dj

The most memorable was when I was called to dj for 50 cent (G unit) Concert, Akon Concert, Kevin little & Jarule Show, and others. I was so excited; I couldn’t believe I was on the same stage as these people. What that did was boost my confidence as a dj. It made me feel more comfortable on stage and helped my career.

Speaking of your career—Congratulations!! 22 years as a DJ and 40th birthday bash this weekend…the

excitement never ends huh?

Words can’t explain how excited I am. The good thing about it is I found out I have friends. You know the saying that you know your friends when you are in trouble? It’s the other way around for me; I have friends. I’ve got dj don x and dj a40 with me here. I am expecting dj zimo, dj flavor, and others. I have got 12 djs playing for my birthday. It’s going to be a big party—a reunion of djs. I believe 40 is a landmark; we should always celebrate because no one knows tomorrow. We are going to have a good time this weekend.

Congratulations once again! 22 years is a long time in the business. What challenges have you encountered and what keeps you going?

It’s been tough but God’s being good; I thank God for giving me a good wife. I was in this business before I met her; I actually djed up to the point that I was not thinking of school. I eventually stopped djing and went back to school, courtesy of my sister; I met my wife around this period.

She convinced me to enter a competition. I was taken aback because I hadn’t djed for a while, but she convinced me and I gave it a shot. I came out to be the first runner up. That inspired me and brought me back. I had a month to prepare for the competition; I figured I was called to do this business because I achieved a lot in such a short while.

Finance was an issue, but my sister gave me the push. She believed in me; she actually took me to the store and bought me my first mixer. I kept it for 12 years. I got robbed one time and the mixer was stolen. The story is the same for everyone—you do free gigs to put your name out there. My sister gave me more than one push; she introduced me to Dj Mannix. Dj Mannix put me in charge of his studio and we ran Lagos for years. DJs bought records from us. I met my wife in Jos and she brought me back to it. The road’s had its ups and downs but God helped by bringing people.

You’ve accomplished a lot in 22 years DJ. Speaking of accomplishments—you got nominated for the NPA. What categories?

Best Deejay of the Year(MixMasterbrown), Best Entertainment Site (Afrijamz), and Entertainment personality of the year (MixMasterBrown).

You are the owner of Afrijamz?



I am also the owner of www.dj2download.com – built strictly for djs. The site’s being around since 2009. We set it up to help DJs to get African music as quick as possible. It’s for professional and working djs…those that will promote and push African music out. I'm so excited about the NPA nominations, hopefully I get all three with the support of my fans.

Afrijamz is one of the most talked about sites/radio. So you’re the one behind it? You’re the invisible man doing mighty things…

(smiles) I try to do whatever I can for African music. Afrijamz (www.afrijamz.com)was built to promote. I am one of the admins and I call it a self-promoting tool. The site is set up in a way that you can do your own thing. Admins are available to do extra work for you; however, they will get paid for their services. God has been nice to me. He brings people who share the same idea with me. When I am about to lose focus, they bring me back on track.

I am a consultant and the official dj for the Calabar festival. They fly me into Nigeria for 30 days every December. Last year, they gave me a whole day/night to have an event of my choice. It was called the Night of DJs. We brought djs from all over to interact, inspire, and exchange ideas. Over 25,000 people were in attendance.

I like working in the background. I moved to Texas in August 2010 and I am mobilizing djs already; we need people to come together to make things work. When I first came to America, I was alone. I stumbled on naijadj and became a member. We all had different ideas and all; I left due to professional differences. I am still a team player. Sometimes, you have to step back to avoid problems.

Tell us something no one else knows about you or something interesting that only close friends/family know.

I am a shy person.

(smiles) You seem to talk a lot for a shy person. Tell me something else.

I am a shy person. If you catch me outside my profession, you will know. I put work first though.

DJ Mixmasterbrown is a shy person! Any advice for young and upcoming djs?

  1. Search your mind, heart real hard. Don’t dj because your friends are doing it. Djing has changed from what it used to be. I guess it’s one of those professions where you get better overtime. Make sure it’s what you really want to do. If you are not cut for it, it’ll be a waste of time. Make sure u really want to be a dj.
  2. Be devoted
  3. Be dedicated
  4. Be attentive. Listen to the older ones. The fact that a dj is older does not make him better, but experience counts. Ask lots of question and listen. Listening does not mean you have to do it their way; you have choices. Just try and see what works for you.
  5. Always try to be the best. That does not mean you have to see the other person as an enemy.

Expatiate the 5th point.

Djing is one of the most sensitive professions. There is a lot of competition and some djs go too far. No two djs play the same time. Do not compare djs in terms of style. Give Dj A and Dj B 5 songs and they will play it differently.

When you say someone is better, be specific. Some people know how to hype a crowd, some scratch, and some mix. I am not one to compare. Some djs feel uncomfortable when they see the spotlight on another dj. We get shaky when the other gets attention. Once that kicks in, we develop discomfort and negative feelings about the person which could lead elsewhere. We should all learn from each other. If someone’s getting attention, I’ll see what he is doing to get attention and try to do it so I can also progress rather than hate.

Since being in Houston, I helped to see how we could all come together. It’s time to let go of all the sayings and move forward. The fact that you’re getting patronized today does not mean it’ll be that way forever. What we need to do to maintain patronage and consistency is to unite. Djs need to come together and cap a minimum fee. If you want to go for more, ask but don’t go lower. Most profession can move forward by uniting. We need to unite so we can move forward. That’s it!

VOTE AT www.npa-usa.com

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