DJ MATTHEW AFRICA

My name is Matthew Africa. Really.

I started DJing about 15 years ago and never bothered to come up with something clever. People assumed it was made-up, so I went with it.

I’ve always been fanatical about music, going through phases of listening obsessively to (in rough chronological order) rock, punk and new wave, indie and garage rock, and funk and soul. In 1988, I bought Public Enemy’s It Takes a Nation of Millions to Hold Us Back and it changed my life. Up ‘til that time, I had casually listened to hip hop, but nothing I had heard prepared me for the that album’s lyrical weight and impossibly dense sample collages. I recognized many of the songs they drew from, but my obsession with the album and other sample-based music of the era drove me to dig much deeper into older soul and funk.

By about 1990, I had a lot of records and as I began going out to clubs and hearing other DJs. I was frustrated by the monotony and mediocrity of what I heard; I figured I could do it better, so I began DJing.

In 1992, I met Beni B, who had a show on the local college station, KALX Berkeley 90.7 FM. We introduced each other to a lot of music and for about 5 years I helped to program, DJ and co-host his influential show. We played a mix of styles that was unheard-of at the time, both current hip hop and the rawest, rarest funk and soul we could find. In the process, we attracted artists like the Wu-Tang Clan, KRS-One and Jay-Z and DJs like Cash Money, Stretch Armstrong and Mr. Supreme as guests. Beni went on to form a label, ABB Records, and discovered acts like Dilated Peoples and Little Brother. I continue to do a weekly show to this day, playing everything from the newest Yay Area rap to psych, folk and international music.

In 2007, a lot of my tastes have come full circle. Hip hop is still the core of what I play-- I especially love the sound coming out of the Bay right now-- but there’s too much other great music out there to limit myself to a single style. Instead I try to draw on everything I love, from Aaliyah to the Zombies, and stitch it together into cohesive, party-crushing sound.

Thus far, I’ve gotten to play with some of my favorite DJs, including Joe Quixx, Cosmo Baker, DJ Shadow, DJ Eleven, Mr. Finewine and Sake One. The list of DJs I admire but haven’t played with yet is too long to recite in this humble bio. In the meantime, I’m working on some remixes, mix CDs with like-minded DJs like Cosmo Baker, DJ Eleven and B.Cause and murdering parties as frequently as I can.

Stay tuned.

 
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