Over time, the hip-hop world has become a bit passive-aggressive when it comes to one of its main energy sources: the DJ. But young and highly ambitious go-getters like DJ Hova continue to flip the switch on one of hip-hop's greatest art forms.
DJ Hova, proud representative of the Good Music Coalition, mixes the old school with the new school, hometown beats with world-renowned chart toppers.
"The DJ is the heart. The DJ is necessary. A lot of people think that if somebody can push play on a CD player then, 'That's my DJ,'" Hova says.
DJ Hova himself is, in fact, full of heart and optimism and, unlike many local acts who often complain about why they aren't being heard, he doesn't operate with bitterness. From the beginning, prompted by his love for music, DJ Hova, born Java Chatman, decided that he could be the best at a craft that most take for granted. "My senior prom, the DJ really wasn't that good, and I was like, 'I can do a better job than that.' So, you know, they contracted a company to deejay, and the next time I saw them, I went to the owner and was like, 'I want to deejay, what do I do need to do?'" he explains.
Since then, DJ Hova has taken the time to become educated on some of hip-hop's trailblazers, taking his own stage name from his favorite rapper, Jay-Z, who started with the nickname "Hova." He confesses his love for old-school hip-hop and says that it isn't uncommon to hear him playing the likes of Rakim or Kool G Rap. "You can catch me at my crib just, you know, practicing or something. It's not rare to hear Run DMC playing, mixing it with some Afrika Bambaataa, 'Planet Rock,' and then we'll bring it all the way back to Young Jeezy," DJ Hova says.
His well-rounded persona quickly overturns any attempts to label him as just another wannabe in the music industry. His untitled mixtape displays his talents for mixing not only hip-hop, but R&B, pop and raggaeton. Still, he acknowledges that mixing a broad range of music is secondary to becoming thoroughly knowledgeable about the skills required to be a really great DJ.
"In my opinion, I say especially if you call yourself a DJ, I feel you should be well versed on all aspects that come with turntable-ism: how to rock a party, lightweight, got to be an MC; so you got to move the crowd. But nowadays a lot of people get two CD turntables, you know what I'm saying? A book of CDs and they call themselves a DJ. Me, I like vinyl, 12 inches, going to the record store and walking out with big bags. But I also work with CD players and all that. You got to know how to do everything," he says.
Anyone can get a taste of DJ Hova's skills on the ones and twos at popular Jackson night spots like Soops the Ultimate and Mikhail's Northgate, or on radio stations like 88.5 FM WJSU and 105.9 FM WOAD.
DJ Hova says he feels the support of people wherever he goes, and believes that it comes from simply surrounding himself with people who are positive and willing to offer support to artists here at home. He assures people that no matter what the occasion—a party, reception or a night on the town—if he feels good, then everybody will feel good.
"I wish to continue deejaying until the day I die," Hova says. "Ain't nothing like getting on the ones and twos and making everybody have a happy feeling, because I just like making the people happy, especially at a party. Because if the people are happy, I'm happy, and if I'm happy, they gone be super happy."
A. Hearn, thanks for the article. Out-of-towners like myself can only find out about what's going on in Jackson (or people coming from) through validations such as this.
I have attended some of the earlier DJ Hova gigs as well as the ladder, and I have watched him grow. I feel that he has the potential it takes to be one of the better, if not the best DJ coming forth. Every since I have witnessed him DJ, on each occassion he gets better and better at suiting the needs of the audience. I think his thirst for knowledge and feedback concerning his craft is what makes him excel. He posseses one of the key characteristics that the best DJ's have, and that is well-roundedness. Keep it up.... _Cliff