A conversation with DJ Butter

Just wanted to give props to my boy Conscious for lettin’ us post up his interview with DJ Butter. It’s got some great insight into Detroit hiphop culture. Enjoy.


A Conversation with DJ Butter
written by Conscious
Source Free HipHop Now Syndicate

On yet another night when I should’ve been at least attempting to get some rest or pretending to be sleep to convince myself that it’s actually possible to do so, I found myself on Myspace denying friend request and emptying out my inbox. There’s one request that I opted not to delete for some unknown reason and proceeded to do some further research. I take a look at the profile and it’s a kat from the D reaching out and quite simply trynah to get his hustle on like everyone else in this cyber world. I checked out what he was doing, shot him an email and asked him if he’d like to be interviewed. He said sure. What follows is a short conversation we had via AIM.

Conscious: Who are you and why should we be interviewing you in the first place?

Butter: I’m one of the main outlets to Detroit’s Hiphop scene.

Conscious: One of the main outlets huh. So without you, I assume a whole lot of kats wouldn’t get heard. What makes you different from the thousands of would be DJ’s throughout the nation. What defines your signature style?

Butter: Detroit has its own sound. Our artists rarely get played on the majority of DJ’s around the world mixtapes or mix circuits. Detroit is one of the birthplaces to music period. We are still the underdogs. From Stevie Wonder to Eminem, we make a difference on music as a whole.

Conscious: Okay but what about you. What makes you stand out amidst the large number of DJ’s putting out mixes. How does one identify your work?

Butter: I take artists to the studio. Make beats, Run my own label, Crazy Noise Productions. I dropped my own albums, Kill The DJ, Shithappens, Welcome To Shitsville on my imprint. These albums show my A & R skills, productions skills and how I bring unity with Detroit artists. I’m not trying to be the next best thing on the turntables or mixtapes. I’m just trying to show the world that Motown has rappers as well as R & B legends. I’m not trying to be the DJ in a rush to play a beef song.

Conscious: So with this grind what methods have you found to be the most successful to get the music in the hands of the listener?

Butter: Doing what the radio station here doesn’t do. Become a home for the rappers. Using the internet, just letting other DJ’s know worldwide that Detroit Hip-Hop exist. I’m working on some mixtapes with DJ’s from Atlanta to New York. I’m trying to beat our music into people’s heads. In every way!

Conscious: How far do you go back, as far as physical cassette tapes?

Butter: I’ve been putting out mixtapes for over 15 years. I was one of the first dudes to throw Eminem and D-12 on my shit. The late Proof used to help me sell my joints out the Hip-Hop Shop. There were only a few cats doing Hip-Hop mixes in Detroit with me, along with DJ Whip, DJ Tony Tone and DJ Dez (Slum Village DJ). My dude, Wesley Valentine was one of the first people to help me dubb my tapes.

Conscious: Aight so you take it back. A real OG. What are you fondest memories back in the days of the cassette?

Butter: Getting Slum Village’s debut album from J-Dilla on tape. That was huge for me. Other than my cousin from New Jersey bringing me DJ Clue’s earlier joints. Those days, we played the whole shit. No skip or fast forward.

Conscious: Yeah, Clue used to have that hustle out the trunk going strong in NY. I couldn’t imagine anywhere else in the country even understanding how crazy the mixtape game was early on. So, you produce. What are you working with?

Butter: I work on a Triton, Motif, MPC 2000. I watch movies for sounds, listen to breaks and samples on albums, and make the sounds hard to trace as much as I can.

Conscious: So with production how would you say you stand out?

Butter: I like to take the oldest sounding drums, and lace some up-tempo heavy bass lines. I may jack some old Steady B or Jungle Brothers drums and make it funky on some 2006 shit.

Conscious: Is it just me or do a lot of producers in the D straight sound like J Dilla clones?

Butter: Naw. You have people like Sick Notes, Whitemike, Nick Speed, Black Milk that make their name known, with their own style. J-Dilla did create a lot of babies under him, because he worked hand and hand with a lot of Detroit folks. (Kanye West took a page from J-Dilla’s book.)

Conscious: Similar to a Large Professor. That’s one dude that doesn’t get enough mention in terms of his contribution to Hiphop music and his coaching producers that grew into well known figures in the game.(Yeah Kayne admits jackin Dilla’s drums. I’m sure a lottah kats did that. Or are still doing that.)

Butter: J-Dilla was ahead of his time—He really put his soul into a drum machine

Conscious: And into the instruments as well. I don’t think folks really, really know that that man wasn’t just a beat maker he was a musician. I think he surpassed his peers on so many levels. He pushed that bar waaaaaaaay up.

Conscious: What’s going on in the D as far as live events? Do you spin anywhere?

Butter: I spin at a few spot dates, hired parties, but mainly the Hip-Hop shows. I’m working on a show now with our old school rappers. I mainly throw my own parties. You can catch me on college radio here sometimes also.

Conscious: I’ve been talking to a lot of folks about emcees and their live shows, and how for the most part a lot of guys just aren’t impressive. Stage shows these days even for some of our favorite artists’ just plain ol’ suck. Who would you say, from all the acts you’ve seen over the years has the most enjoyable on point stage show?

Butter: Gang Starr and Busta Rhymes are the illest.

Conscious: This is probably the worst question I’ve ever asked anyone because it’s so standard and predictable with most interviews, but what artist would you like to one day produce for outside the D?

Butter: Kool G. Rap and maybe Compton’s Most Wanted.

Conscious: Man G Rap is that dude. Are you doing any production that is not Hiphop these days?

Butter: I wanna do some jazz, laid back stuff. Maybe some soft rock stuff. One day!

Conscious: Aight man. It’s time to shut this one down. I just wanted to point some light in your direction. Hope we help you reach some new folks online and off through this interview. Anything you wanna toss out there for we wrap?

Butter: Be on the lookout for my new album, “Badussy” dropping in January of 2007. I’m currently in the studio producing my dude, Wesley Valentine. If you haven’t heard my stuff visit: www.mixtapedetroit.com and www.myspace.com/djbutter

Butter: Thank U

Conscious: No doubt, thanks for your time. Keep making music…

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