Origin: New York
Representing: ATL (moved to The A for college at Clark Atlanta University)
TOP 10 PLAYLIST
1. “Break Up” – Mario Ft. Gucci Mane and Sean Garrett
2. “Million Bucks” – Maino
3. “Buy You A Round” – Verse Simmons
4. “Was Sup” – Rich Kids
5. “Grind Flu” – Yung Joc
6. “Back At It” – JW
7. “Who Real (Ruff Ryders Remix)” – Jadakiss, Eve, DMX
8. “Wetter” – Twista
9. “Wasted” – Gucci Mane
10. “Futuristic Love” – YUNG LA
HipHopWired: How’d you first get into DJing?
DJ Trauma: I was always interested in it but I never knew how to get into it. I had some friends in high school who were DJs so I was like, “Yo, how’d y’all start DJing? I wanna do it,” and he was like, “Just buy some equipment and you can DJ too.” I never really thought about it so I just bought some equipment and then in high school I used to run with them and open up for them. Then when I got to college, I really got into it heavy.
HipHopWired: How’d you come up with your name?
DJ Trauma: It’s funny. I used to have this other DJ name which I never tell, I ain’t like it. So I was just like I need to figure out a name. So I used to do these parties in college at this spot called Ethiopian Vibration and it used to get super hot and people would be drinking and they’d pass out. So the trauma truck would come pick people up and try and revive them. Give them some water, whatever they used to do to make sure they were alright and I was like yo I want that name! I was trying to think of something with a “T” because my name is Tayari and I was like Trauma, that’s it BAM. I was sitting outside the club one day and I was like that’s it.
HipHopWired: So let’s go back. You’re one of the founding members of the Super Friends…How’d you guys all hook up?
DJ Trauma: Really it started off as a loose connection; we rocked all the hot clubs in downtown Atlanta. Anytime there’s a big party there’s always one of us DJing so we just worked together all the time so we just started collabing on stuff. That’s when Enuff had his crew so we were like yo, we need to come up with something for Atlanta. Plus a lot of times they would bring New York DJs to rock Atlanta parties and we were getting mad and they don’t even rock it hard like us. So we were just like, you know what? We formed our own crew, started doing our own parties, and just made ourselves bigger. So as a unit we were bigger, we started a lot of the DJ crews that are out here in Atlanta.
HipHopWired: So you guys are still all tight now? You’re cool?
DJ Trauma: Yeah.
HipHopWired: So what about the Aphilliates, I know they broke away from you guys. Are y’all cool with them?
DJ Trauma: Yeah, I’m cool with them. Drama came to my birthday party, Holiday, Infamous, everybody came to my birthday party last week…
HipHopWired: Oh we heard about the birthday party! You wanna talk a little bit about your party at Luckie? What happened? Where were you when all that stuff was going down? (An “Alleged” altercation erupted between Young Jeezy and DJ Drama and their crews).
DJ Trauma: You know what, I missed the whole thing! I was upstairs with everybody, all the celebs were upstairs; Jeezy, Cris, Estelle, Jeremih and I was like yo, let’s go downstairs to perform. So I went down the stairs and we were performing, you know the artists that I DJ for Verse Simmons, Estelle performed, Scrappy, Young Dro, we got off the stage and Scrappy came up to me and was like, yo they were fighting upstairs. I was like word? Alright. (Laugh) I went and got my friends and we all went for breakfast. Somebody hit me like, I heard this person and that person was fighting, so I called Drama and he was like I don’t know what happened I was chilling! (Laughs) He was like, I was chilling, I’m at the crib. I was like, word, alright. So I didn’t even think about it till the next day and it was on the news, my phone was ringing off the hook, and I was just like man, what’s going on? People were calling me, my fam was calling me from New York like we heard at your party someone got stabbed or something and I was like word? I didn’t even know about that.
HipHopWired: So you missed the whole thing?!
DJ Trauma: I missed everything.
HipHopWired: Okay then let’s move on. So let’s talk a little bit about what you’re doing now…Are you still doing the “5 o’clock Traffic Jam” with 107.9?
DJ Trauma: Mmm hmm, yeah. I do the clubs, I do live broadcasts from Esso. I do a few mixtape series, one called Back to the Emergency Room where I highlight like all the new artists in the city that are bubbling. Actually I’m here now because I’m about to start one called Pass the Rock geared toward all high schools all over the country. That’s kinda like the movement, where the music is going.
HipHopWired: Okay so you’re at Esso’s on Friday…and where else?
DJ Trauma: I do Luckie every Wednesday , I do a spot called Tongue and Groove Fridays, I do Uptown on Saturdays and then like once a month I do the Velvet Room. I do Ten Pin on Thursdays…I’m always working. I started last month…and now I’m going every month to Africa.
HipHopWired: You’re going to Africa?!
DJ Trauma: Yeah, to Nigeria. I was just in the studio with one of the biggest artists in Nigeria right now and I had Yung Joc and Jeezy, about to do a mixtape with them for Africa…
HipHopWired: Wow. Tell me more about Africa, what’s the music scene out there like?
DJ Trauma: The Nigerian scene is kind of like how Hip-Hop was in the 80s when all of a sudden, they all for getting a scene growing. It’s not really record sales driven quite yet , they don’t really have a distribution system but it’s kinda like how Atlanta was in the 90s. Where there’s a lot of groups bubbling, had their own underground scene, tore up the shows, had albums, videos but it ain’t really organized quite yet in a way. A lot of bootlegging but cats are big, the radio they play their songs and they’re moving away from playing a lot of American music as much as they were. They’re doing their own thing, so Nigeria’s kind of like the hub, like the Atlanta or the New York, that’s like the West African scene.
I went out there to DJ and I was like, yo it’s crazy out here! They have their own like gear, and I just started like linking up with cats you know through mixtapes, I just do mixtapes and I send them out on my facebook and my website for people to download, just trying to make that connection. One of the artists came here and he has a song that could cross over here, it has like a down south feel to it. It has that feel that it could so I was just like yo, let’s do a remix because you never know….Reggae came over here, M.I.A.’s over here, you just never know.
HipHopWired: You’re right you never know. So you travel the world, you’re doing your whole Africa thing, how do you think that gives you an advantage over these other DJs out here?
DJ Trauma: I just think it gives me a bigger perspective of the world in music. At the same time when they have their own scene, they’re still rocking to T.I. Like when I was there over Christmas, “Live Your Life” and all his stuff was crazy out there, like his whole album was crazy out there. All that Lil Jon and all that stuff is crazy out there, Akon of course, it just gives you a bigger perspective of the world. I’ve been to Taiwan, I’ve been to the Dominican Republic, the Netherlands…
HipHopWired: That’s what’s up. Now a lot of people are saying that DJs are irrelevant because they’re not breaking records anymore. What’s your opinion on that? Do you think that holds true?
DJ Trauma: I don’t really think that’s true cause when you think about all the new artists that are popping right now, they were somehow filtered through a DJ or associated to a DJ. That’s just somebody just hating. It might not be that all DJs are breaking records but every artist that’s out right now somehow got broken by some DJ. Everybody who’s big, everybody has DJs associated to them.
HipHopWired: Has there ever been any record you said you’d never play? Anything that made you say like, naw I’m good.
DJ Trauma: I mean there’s a lot of records I say I’m not gonna play…(Laughs)
HipHopWired: (Laughs) Anything you’re just like, I would never play that?
DJ Trauma: I’m one of those people where if the people are requesting it, my job is to play it. When I’m at parties my job is to rock parties, if I’m doing my mixtapes then it’s my view of what I think is hot. At parties it’s that but it’s also entertaining the crowd. There’s records that if I don’t have to play, I might not play but if people really really wanna hear it and they request it, I’m going to play it. I’mma give them what they want.
HipHopWired: So what’s the latest mixtape you have out right now?
DJ Trauma: My latest one is Back to The Emergency Room 1.5. I did that with J Dub, this group called Rock City, this new artist Verse Simmons and we just highlight basically new artists. What’s poppin’ here in Atlanta, that series is really catered to that. CTE just signed a new cat, J Dub who’s blowing up out here and I actually produced some tracks for him and I’m doing one of his mixtapes.
HipHopWired: So tell me more about your production company, Black Vinyl Records…
DJ Trauma: I used to have a deal with So So Def doing production and then we’ve just been grinding , we had our own artist for a while, so we just been grinding. We haven’t really broke through yet on anything major.
HipHopWired: So are you guys still working with the Upfront Boys? Still doing that project?
DJ Trauma: Not really. My partner’s been working with one of the members cause they kinda broke up, you know how that goes…but right now I’ve been focusing working on Verse Simmons. I’m doing his mixtape, he’s signed to Interscope. He has this new song called, “Buy You a Round”, that’s starting to bubble. Yeah I roll with them, Rock City, Verse, this producer named Sham, so I’ve been producing with Sham a lot lately. We got some stuff on J Dub. I work 20 hours a day…(Laughs)
HipHopWired: So you’ve been in the game for how long now? Ten years?
DJ Trauma: Yeah I’ve been on the radio ten years.
HipHopWIred: Yeah, so where do you see Hip-Hop ten years from today?
DJ Trauma: I don’t even know….I can’t even tell you. I think there’s about to be a new youth movement, I mean it’s already starting. A movement of cats from high school, that’s really going to come out and that’s the only way Hip-Hop can have longevity because the old cats are old. I feel like it’s going to be just a big explosion especially with the internet and all that type of stuff. I feel like it’s already been kind of happening but now I feel like it’s really about to just explode.
HipHopWired: Okay, so are you ever gonna just stop DJing? Just give it up?
DJ Trauma: Naw I’m never gonna stop DJing, I’m sure I won’t be DJing 5, 6, nights a week but I’ll probably just have my own spot or just have one night that I do.
HipHopWired: So you’re never going to stop?
DJ Trauma: Red Alert’s like 50! I just went to a party and he was killing it and I was like, oh yeah I got another 20 years! (Laughs)
HipHopWired: That’s what’s up. Okay, this is just a political question. So being that you work with the radio station, what do you think about the HR848 Performing Rights Bill that could possibly shut down some Black radio stations.
DJ Trauma: I’m on it from both sides, you know I work for a radio station but I’m on the artist side too. So I’m not sure. It’s just like anything else, if you get an extra bill than something else gets cut or something has to be adjusted. They can’t possibly charge so much that it’s unreasonable so they pay for writers and producers, so it’s just gonna be another component of who they gotta pay. It’ll help artists who have big hits but they don’t really sell a lot of records. Especially in this day and time when a lot of music is starting to become single driven. It’ll help those artists out but no one wants to give away money but I feel like it’ll be a good way to help those small artists who have good songs and they get good radio play but they might not necessarily have anything good enough to have a big album but they still create music that people love. So at least they get to eat a little bit off that.
HipHopWired: So do you have a Twitter page, a MySpace, anyway your fans can keep in contact with you?
DJ Trauma: Yeah, Myspace.com/DJTraumaAtlanta. My Twitter is @DJTrauma and my website is DJ Trauma.com.