Coalition DJs DMV

Coalition DJs Wednesdays event

Coalition DJs together with DC artists A-1 Flow and Suave for Private Listening Session.

I have heard some newcomers in hip-hop making some noises that sound vaguely familiar. It’s like hearing a ghost….tapping on a window. (I’ve experienced that too…but that’s a completely different story.) I hear remnants of Hip-hop culture in some of the new stuff these kids are making, and I have to ask, “why did it all go away in the first place?” I can’t prove exactly what caused the music industry to bleed itself of content and strip the essence of being an Emcee from the rap game. However, I think it has something to do with the “Major Labels” insatiable need to commercialize and own any & all IP. Fortunately, I hear things are finally changing thanks to the efforts of The Coalition DJs DMV.

”I remember seeing famous bands and musicians being paraded into press conferences and courtrooms to convince their fans how much sharing their music files was damaging their lives. I remember seeing fans so confused, and hurt by what these wealthy musicians were accusing them of. Many Metallica t-shirts were burned.”

-Former Fan


Group of artists at a coalition event

Seventeen years ago, Napster lost the case for P2P (Peer-To-Peer) digital music sharing. That decision may have been more damaging to the “industry” than the executives and their legal teams ever imagined. It was a pivotal time in music and the dust has been slowly settling ever since. Artist and labels alike have struggled to make sense of it all over the last decade. Many famous musicians have died, companies have folded and distribution models have gone the way of the dinosaur. It’s a brave new world out here boys and girls…….or is it?

 I bring up the Napster case because it shows how whacky things can get when music once performed by youth for youth could be used as evidence of a crime for the major record labels legal teams. Those same lawyers who made defendants out of the very same youth that their clients spent millions targeting and over-exposing to their products. It wasn’t that they didn’t want kids listening to their music, it was that they wanted them to access the music through the distribution channels that were under “Major Label” control.

Chucky and Dre The Mayor The late Chucky Thompson and Dre The Mayor speaking on the Q&A panel for artist attending the Coalition DJs One Year Anniversary Celebration.

Well after a decade of trial and error, the industry has completely transformed itself. The major record labels have been inundated with an ever-changing landscape that was shaped by the late Steve Jobs and his iTunes launch. This is where the lines between music, digital data files, and hardware all became blurred. Not to mention the concept of music licensing rights/ownership rights weren’t even settled when iTunes launched in 2001. As a matter of fact, Eminem’s production team is still in court trying to figure out what happened to the cash. Thousands of musicians are wondering what happened to their victory winnings. Especially after they chose to displace themselves from their fanbases and then watched the RIAA run off with their millions. Plus, the industry is completely sidestepping the overseas royalties conversation…which will soon have its day in court.

Eugene Smith and 9th Wonder DC Life Magazine’s Eugene Smith With Super-Producer 9th Wonder

Yes, these last two and a half decades have been hard for music fans, especially fans of hip-hop music such as myself. Since Tupac and Biggie died I have watched Hip-hop descend to a place which I couldn’t follow. It was like the scene in the movie Top Gun when Maverick and Goose were “in a flat-spin and headed out to sea“. I had to “eject” myself from rap music, and only the adult in me survived the crash. I was left holding onto the dog tags of what Hip-hop meant to me in my youth. Yes, I was sure Hip-hop died about a decade ago. Some of the loss was just me getting old, but some of it was legitimately a decrease in lyrical content, creative delivery, meaningful and engaging subject matter….prose, timing, vocabulary, intelligence.,  etc Like I said……I thought it was dead.

Sleep and Streets Politician

Sleep Don’t Reach & Streets Politician Are Bringing Real Opportunities For DMV Artists

But what about Hip-hop? In all of this confusion, what happened to Hip-hop? The creators surely believed it was dead, dead to its truest fans and even to the purveyors we so affectionately called Emcees. As proof, Nas released his eighth studio album titled, “Hip-hop Is Dead” in 2006. The industry had finally killed the music….but the Allspark’ survived. Eleven years ago, a coalition of DJs came together in Atlanta, Georgia as defenders of the culture (DJ BigX, DJ Nando and DJ Funky). Since then, the Urban music industry has come a full 360 degrees and is now back to being dependent upon the quintessential Hip-hop DJ. (where it all started in the first place).

DJ Big X and DJ Funky

Left to right – DJ Big X And DJ Funky

DJ Big X and DJ Funky are the surviving co-founder’s of the Coalition DJs (R.I.P. DJ Nando), headquartered in Atlanta, GA. DJ Funky and the brotherhood that call themselves “The Coalition DJs” are a group of DJs that spin in some of Atlanta’s most frequented nightclubs. The ATL nightclub scene has given rise to many of hip-hop’s legendary acts. This natural selection of music has been at play for over a decade in Atlanta’s urban music landscape. Big X, Funky & Company have been willing recipients of demos, beats and all types of recorded music constantly for decades. Why are people always trying to get their music into the hands of these DJs? The answer is simple, an active “Club DJ” has spent more hours judging crowd-reaction to song-selection than any other profession. Not to mention the professional DJ sets the mood and tone of any party or event. A good DJ can usually control the energy level and mood of a room through song-selection alone. DJ Funky, DJ Big X and the rest of the Atlanta crew have decades of experience doing just that, and their experience makes them uniquely qualified. They are going on twelve years of selecting the stars of the urban club music scene, and their resumes speak volumes.

The Coalition DJs are responsible for breaking some well-known artists such as T.I., Wocka Flocka, Future, Migos, Derez Deshon, Yella’ Beazy and many, many more. They have built such an efficient platform that the industry has repeatedly gone back to them to get what’s coming up next. Now they are sharing their blueprint and spreading the Coalition DJs to more cities than just Atlanta. They now have activated Coalition DJ crews in Detroit, Philadelphia, Miami, Alabama, Los Angeles, Houston, Dallas, Las Vegas, Mississippi, Tennessee, North Carolina, South Carolina, St. Louis, and THE DMV.

The great news is that the DMV is the next stop for the Coalition DJs. I believe they can re-introduce more talent into the Urban Club Music Charts.  The Atlanta-based DJ crew has entrusted the DMV Chapter of the Coalition to  Byron “Sleep” Stevenson. Sleep originally made himself an initiate of the DJs “Chapter Expansion” process in 2015, and through careful work and relationship building became official. The path to making quality hits has never been as direct in the DMV as it is right now. The DJ crew here in DC, MD, and VA is growing fast and already has a star-studded line-up featuring: DJ Jo’Iyce, DJ Blustar, DJ Saysay, DJ Ratchet, DJ Bigg Sipp, DJ Trill, and DJ Ginger Briks. In addition to the old originals, the newcomers are helping to expand the brand with talent like: DJ Sheesh, DJ Norequests, DJ Holliwood, DJ Main Event, DJ Oneway, DJ QHill, DJ Infinity, DJ Adam West, DJ OnewayRicky, DJ Pinoblack, DJ Windy City, DJ Rok, DJ Hollywood Reds, DJ KidQuest.

Sleep Stevenson

Sleep Don’t Reach – “The Streets A&R” caught handling biz outside the DJ booth. Photo By: Tag The Shooter

“I was able to bring the Coalition DJs to the DMV through years of building relationships in Atlanta, and then I was blessed to be able to give DJ Jo’iyce a leadership role. Now artists have access to a national syndicate of club DJs through the Coalition DJs DMV. Together we are going to break many more records.”

-Byron “Sleep” Stevenson

One Year With Coalition DJs DMV

Catch the coalition DJs every Wednesday at their New Music Wednesdays event to get your music reviewed by the DJs that have their finger on the pulse of the industry as they work to revive hip-hop.