DJ SHORTEE BLITZ INTERVIEW


Shortee Blitz is the UK’s #1 Hip Hop and Club DJ and one of the scene’s most popular personalities. He is a tireless supporter of urban music and, through his numerous performances with artists ranging from De La Soul & L.L. Cool J to Jay-Z and Nas, and he has firmly established himself on the international scene.

Shortee’s signature skills of cutting, scratching and mixing as well as an ability to consistently rock the dance floor is recognized by the industry and his global fan base. Consistently in high demand, Shortee Blitz has toured his innovative style around the world to destinations as diverse as Dubai, Hong Kong, Kenya, Malaysia, Albania, Papua New Guinea, New York and Australia to name only a few.

Who were your musical influences growing up?
Anything funky really, my uncles hipped me to a lot of music and a lot of musical genres as a kid…it range’s from Michael Jackson to George Clinton, Stanley Turentine, James Brown, Gregory Isaacs, Bob Marley, The Jam, Talking Heads, Jonzun Crew on and on…

How did you get into Djing and what was your first big break?
From when I got my 1st paper round, i saved for 2 weeks to be able to buy albums…I got 5 quid a week, and I saved to start my little collection. When I got to London, a few friends linked up and started a sound system…we were called Class Act…did our thing in South London. Find an empty house, get in, bring in a system, charge people entrance and party til the following afternoon, or until police stopped it and from the rep on the street, you get promoters giving the standouts a try in the clubs.

You are originally from Nottingham then moved to London how hard was it resettling in a big city and making a name for yourself?
It was hard at 1st, Londoners don’t really mess with you unless they know you..so I went to college and met people from there..met my brother TY there..he didn’t even go to that college..he was making sure no dudes were talking to his sister..haha!! From playing house parties to getting noticed by promoters, to getting into clubs…It was hard work, but fun at the same time…Got to see a lot of dope shit on this journey..

Living in London during the mid to late 90’s you would have witnessed some standout US headline shows and the renaissance of UK Hip Hop what are some of your most memorable moments from back then?
Man…1st concert I saw was Ice Cube at Brixton Academy for the AmeriKKKas Most Wanted album…Public Enemy headline show, with Master Ace, Afros, EPMD & Tragedy. Touring Europe with MC Mell’o as his DJ on the Cypress Hill tour… Tribe at Subterrania and The Forum in the same weekend. Onyx 1st time at Hammersmith Palais, Redman and Das Efx…too many to mention..De La shows, DJing for Jay-Z in 98 doing a 8 song set…I’ll remember more as the day goes on…LOL

You were in a group with UK MC Ty and released a couple of acclaimed tracks back in the late 90’s why did we never see an album?
We were in the process of signing with Maseo from De La Soul, but things didn’t work out with the contract, I was getting busy DJ-wise and we decided that we’ll part ways as Ty continued to make music and he got his situation sorted and was getting a lot of bookings.

For 15 years you have been part of London’s Kiss FM how did you get your start and what is it that you enjoy about radio?
It’s actually my 17th year now…Big Ted, who I did the show with originally, was asked by the Legendary Max & Dave, who were the guys who had the show before me, for him to be their weekly mix DJ, as DJ Pogo was always on tour…He couldn’t do it because he was choosing DJ 279’s radio show on Choice FM, so he told Dave, he knows someone perfect for the job, and he put me forward for it…I was blessed to be on a big show so early in my career, I met a lot of artists early in the game through that show..and when it came to a big reshuffle at the station, I was asked to takeover the show, where I thought it was the end of my stint at the station. Once I got the blessing from Max & Dave, I jumped in headfirst. I LOVE doing radio, it’s not a club environment, so you don’t have to play the same bullshit or keep people dancing. You can break new music, get listeners reactions to anything, and focus on good music…I think that’s probably why I’ve lasted so long…Myself and MK have been doing the show together for the last 4.5 years, I guess it made sense to have 1 strong Hip Hop show as we were doing the same thing on different days on the same station.

You must have interviewed a lot of artists during your time on the station have you ever been awestruck and with who?
The ONLY time I was awestruck, or as I like to put it…BITCHED OUT was with L.L. Cool J…In the middle of the interview, I was asking him a question, and suddenly I thought to myself, ‘Shit, THAT’S LL COOL J!!!! I’ve been a fan since I was like 8 years old…’ and totally lost focus…but that’s the only time it happened.

During your career you have seen the rise of technology with things like CD players and Serato. Do you ever miss the old days of playing vinyl and do you think technology has damaged the art of Djing?
Nah, I don’t think it has damaged the art, Serato can’t make you a great dj, you still have to have the same instincts of reading the crowd, selection, and your sense of style. it’s not what you use, its how you use it…there are DJ’s and there are dudes with a lot of music on their lappys…I miss the preparation of sorting tunes before a gig, I DON’T miss the damaged, scratched records, I DON’T miss carrying the bastards to 2 or more clubs…you ever carry record boxes on a bus??? Carried them through NottingHill Carnival?????? I earned that Serato damn it!!!

You worked for Rawkus in London during the labels heyday what did your job entail?
I was the Club promo dude, looking after DJ’s, Sending doubles to DJ’s that rocked doubles..getting to know DJ’s from all over the UK, and catering to their needs, A&R’d a couple of remixes, and promoted Big L’s, Reflection Eternal’s, Pharoahe’s and Lyricist Lounge 2 albums.

You have been a major supporter of UK Hip Hop over the years what are your thoughts on the current scene and its artists?
I always wanted to see the UK have our own stars when it comes to the Hip Hop/Urban scenes and that’s exactly what happened eventually, we used to have loads of the wrong artists getting signed and put up to rep our country when they weren’t ready…so we weren’t looked at too seriously, but right now with the success of Tinie Tempah on a global level, I think the interest we will garner from that will help as there’s a whole load of fully talented artists. Come see us…

With all these years of DJ’ing under your belt has production been something that you ever wanted to get into?
Definitely but never really had time…so eventually I made time and hopefully by September/October, you will see what I’ve been brewing…

What has been the highlight of your career so far?
Too many to mention…But Interviewing Jam Master Jay on Kiss, and then afterwards, he came with me to my gig and spun b2b..a moment!! (RIP) DJing for the Rock Steady Crew, Beatboxing with Snoop and Dr. Dre at Brixton Academy, they enjoyed it so much, they asked me to come back for the 2nd show the next day and even paid me!!!! Interviewing Jay-Z early on his rise all spring to mind…

How would you describe your DJ style?
Energetic, mixed properly, soulful & funky.

Who is your favourite DJ and why?
Cash Money & Jazzy Jeff are the reasons I wanted to DJ The style, the funk, surgically clean DJ’s.

What’s the secret to your success?
Do what you say you’re gonna do, Let your work speak for you, Don’t snake the next man, Be yourself and be original…it worked for me so far…

What tips would you give to young aspiring DJ’s out there?
Read above.

What does the future hold for Shortee Blitz?
Hopefully a few steps further ahead in what I wanna do, Keep pushing the art and affecting the culture in a positive and professional manner, my original music will be out there, and hope to be knee deep in more music projects.

What’s your definition of Grindin’?
Getting it done. Doing it right and having a rep that can only be respected.

Leave a Reply