A week ago at the NFC Championship Game in Seattle, I ended up on the field alongside Ian Rodgers, Dr. Dre, Top Dawg, and Jimmy Iovine. They said I had to come to the Beats Music party Friday in LA. I told them I already had my own event at one of the worlds hottest clubs, Supperclub, otherwise I’d love to. The conversation then went like this. “Cancel it.” Why? “Trust me, you can’t miss this.”I’d love to but have my own thing at Supperclub. “Just cancel it- for real.” You’ve gotta give me more…”You can’t tell a soul, but…"I then proceeded to hear about what ultimately came to fruition last night at arguablythe greatest party i’ve ever been to, and that says a lot.
I’ve been blessed to go to so many events and thrown so many parties across the world that unfortunately nothing ever surprises me anymore. Not to mention partying is basically a job (albeit a great job) to me as a DJ.
Today was different though. I woke up and had a walk through with the GRAMMY Production team (shameless plug- I’m hosting GRAMMY Live Sunday, and get to do the first interviews with the winners!) before doing regular things like getting my haircut, conference calls, meetings, and radio. Even though I had an idea of what was about to happen, I am so jaded by doing what I get to do all the time, the hype didn’t really kick in until I got there.
I kept true to my word and never leaked out what was going on, but when friends asked what to do or where they should go, I just told them all the Beats Music event, and to trust me on it. When we arrived to the Belasco Theatre in downtown Los Angeles, the scene was already a madhouse outside, and keep in mind no one knew what was about to really go down. I usually am the last person to arrive, but intentionally went early as I knew the scene would be crazy, and didn’t want them to reach capacity or anything as this was something I had to witness in person and would kick myself forever if i didn’t.
I consciously went into the event with the goal to just have fun and witness it like a fan. I had all access passes and could have gone to the VIP section upstairs (where most celebrities watched) from, but instead went straight to the front row in front of the stage and posted up for over an hour without moving before anyone took the stage. I said a few quick hellos to friends and colleagues on the way in, but intentionally wanted to take my DJ Skee hat off and truly enjoy myself like I was a teenager again.
Being born in 1983, I grew up on 90’s hiphop. My main musical memories come from Dr. Dre, Ice Cube, Nas, Diddy, Ma$e, Bone Thugs-N-Harmony Eminem, and that entire era. To me, nothing is better. I probably have played those songs more than anything else in my life. It still is surreal to me that not only do i now know many of these people, but i work with them (Bone Thugs-N-Harmony, my favorite group ever were at the SKEE Lodge studios just before the event and got me even more excited for it when they were hyped on it!). Back to yesterday…
Thankfully most people in the crowd were in the industry and were being LA- meaning mingling and trying to get to the upstairs VIP section was more important than actually getting a good spot for the show- Fine by me! Even though the place was already packed when we arrived, we literally walked to the front row, stage center (where no one was standing) and, as you see from the video and pictures I took, were actually closer to where the artists performed than Jazzy Jeff, the DJ for the night, was. Xzibit was side stage with Dre’s friends & fam and started waving for me to join him which i politely declined. Again, I had it set in my head I was going to enjoy myself in the midst of everyone else and stay at the best location possible (i was literally where the main video cameraman was in front…sorry X, it gets no better! haha..).
Eventually, Jimmy Iovine walked on stage to introduce Fab 5 Freddy who then stepped out as our own SKEE Live band leader (and the best MD in the word) Adam Blackstone took to stage with a 5 piece band and started playing a loop from the Isley Brothers, better known to the world as the sample in “Today Was A Good Day.” Anytime you start a show with Ice Cube performing his most iconic song ever, you know its going to be something special, and yes, a good day.
If you didn’t know, the premise of this event was to promote the new Beats Music service (which I highly recommend, and not just because of tonight). Dre, Ian, and Jimmy went to Paul Rosenberg, Eminem’s manager, to create the ultimate 90’s Hip Hop playlist, which he nailed, and then decided to literally bring it to life. 17 songs back to back. Marinate on that. Now I won’t go into an insane amount of detail on each performance or I’d never finish this article, but I will just give you the setlist (yes, again, all these performers were here):
Ice Cube “Today Was A Good Day"
Cypress Hill “Insane In the Membrane"
Geto Boys “My Minds Playing Tricks On Me"
Souls Of Mischief “93’ Til Infinity"
Pharcyde “Passin’ Me By"
Method Man & Redman “How High"
Bone Thugs-N-Harmony “Thuggish Ruggish Bone"
Nas “Nas Is like”
Nas “If I Ruled The World
Dr. Dre “California Love"
Blackstreet/Dr. Dre “No Diggity"
Diddy & Ma$e “Can’t Hold Us Down”
Diddy & Ma$e “Mo Money Mo Problems”
Diddy & Ma$e “All About The Benjamins"
Busta Rhymes “Put Your Hands Where My Eyes Can See"
Eminem “My Name Is"
Eminem & Dr Dre “Forgot About Dre”
Eminem “Lose Yourself"
Diddy & Ma$e back together, Dre & Em, Nas, “93 Till Infinity,” Bushwick Bill breakdancing, Nas, Mef & the Funk Doc, I mean… and thats not even half the list. (I also may have even missed something)
However, for me, the surreal moment came during Eminem’s electric performance, when he brought out the good Doctor for “Forgot About Dre.” Hearing the piano keys come in, it was already what I thought would be the highlight of the night to me. As a teenager, this was probably my favorite song (i even learned how to play it on the piano) from my favorite album, 2001.
It somehow got better. When Dre walked out after being introduced again by Eminem, he immediately walked over to me and shouted out “DJ Skee!” on the mic before giving me a pound. Dr. Dre! The man is probably my biggest influence not only on the music side (he was a DJ first remember too), but as an entrepreneur. He is without question the greatest producer in Hip Hop history, and beyond both the music and business side, I try to model many of his recipes for success- only putting out projects that are great (if not, don’t do it), being the ultimate perfectionist, and changing the landscape of the market from music to business while combining the two together.
Sitting back, I never would have thought I’d be able to see all those artists in person, let alone know them, and god forbid get the only shoutout of the night from not only the man putting on the event/running the company/best producer ever/founder of Beats Music/mentor to Eminem and my favorite artists/reclusive icon and most importantly the person I probably most looked up to in my industry.
It can’t get any better right? Well…
I lucked out with the timing. The Beats Music event ended at 12:30 (remember i still had a show to play). We jetted over to Hollywood and pulled up to the back door at Supperclub. As I was pulling out my laptop nearly running to get on stage, everyone was telling me how crazy it was out there, and i went on stage to witness the most packed club i’ve ever seen in my life. I mean, there were so many people no one could have possibly moved.
I promised the crowd some surprises, and ended up getting this lineup for the club:
the entire SKEE crew
half the population of LA (at least it seemed like it)
Diddy was on a high after tearing it down at the Beats Music party and in rare form, Drake was going word for word with the weekends anthem “Trophies,” Chi town buzz worthy Lil Durk shut the club down with his performance, French Montana of course had everyone going nuts when he hit the stage, and Keyshia Cole killed it with her performance of “Loyalty” for the ladies. Other than dealing with 1000 people in my ear from all the artists managers to hype men to the artists themselves telling me what song to play and perform, while trying to mix through the top hits at the same time I’m hearing this (trust me, DJing isn’t always as easy as it looks!), it was truly a sight to be seen. The energy was on an entirely other level, and a fitting grand finale for the entire day.
I don’t really know where I’m ultimately trying to go with this. I guess it’s kind of meant to be more of a diary entry for myself so I never forget this moment, but i will say I that getting to step back for a moment and just be a fan was something incredible that i haven’t done in a long time and wont forget. Then I got to go out and do my thing on stage with the other half of the industry in front of my city on the biggest weekend in music. The only thing missing was my name on the Goodyear Blimp. Next time.