Exclusive interview with 81 Hip Hop’s DJ Bugsy!

81HipHop Blog Post 4-29-15

The Crowd Updater had the great pleasure and privilege of sitting down with 81 Hip Hop’s and Philly’s very own, DJ Bugsy!

Bugsy sat down with TCU and gave us a snippet of his origin story as a DJ, his career in radio and his future plans as the new General Manager of 81 Hip Hop!

Read more below!

How did you get into DJ’ing?

I started in college. I went to Lincoln University and I met a guy by the name of Anthony Macklemore, and he asked me what I wanted to do. I told him that my major was Business and my minor was Communications. When I first went to Lincoln my interest wasn’t radio or DJ’ing, it was more about being an entrepreneur and owning my own record label. But then I got introduced to Colby Colb the summer after my freshmen year, and I met Cosmic Kev. When I met them I basically was enlightened about radio and DJ’ing like, Wow… this is a whole other area that I can get into,” and I fell in love with it.

image2I did an internship the summer of 1998 with Power 99. I was hired by Lorraine Ballard Morrill, who is still there to this day and is the Director of News and Public Affairs. Once I did that in the summer, it was just lights on from there and it was just really what I wanted to do. So my whole career and everything that I wanted to do as a freshman at Lincoln changed that summer. I wanted to do radio, I wanted to become the number 1 DJ and radio host in the country, city, whatever. And I’m still trying to reach that goal to this day.

How did you come up with the name DJ Bugsy?

Actually I got that name in College too, right back at Lincoln. So all my homies used to say that I was always cool and quiet. They were trying to figure out a name for me, and then one of my homies, Areil, was like “I’m going to start calling you Bugsy.”  So then I took that name and put it on my show. When ever I talked on the air I would say “You’re listening to Bugsy.” The DJ part came later, when I started getting into the turntables and mixing. But my radio host name started first, and the DJ part came later.

When you’re a radio host on college radio, you don’t necessarily need turntables; back then it was cd’s. So all I had to do was hit a button, open the cd changer up, put the cd in, play the song, and that’s it. And just do my radio live and do my PSA’s… that was it.

You mentioned Cosmic Kev and Colby Colb earlier, are there any other DJ’s that you look up to or are inspired by, or even want to work with?

Yes, DJ Cash Money and DJ Jazzy Jeff. But I have a special heart for DJ Cash Money, because whenever I see this guy he just blows my mind on how he attacks the turntables and moves beats. Anybody who knows about Cash Money, or at least has seen him live I’ve seen him live at least five times, and every time I see him he shows me something new about the art of DJ’ing.

Are there any artists you want to work with?

If I had to pick a female a artist, it would be Mary J. Blige, she will always be dear to my heart. She’s my favorite female artist of all time; and also Teena Marie, rest in peace. 

But, who I would work with now… would be Melanie Fiona. I think Melanie Fiona doesn’t get the just due that she deserves. I think her craft is on another level, I think her singing capacity is on another level and I think her song writing is on another level.

Now, as far as in Philly, I would love to work with Beanie because he’s from my hood. I also would love to work with Peedi Crakk and maybe a collaboration with DJ Jazzy Jeff or Cash Money. Like a DJ mixtape but with all Philly artists. 

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What are your future plans for 81 Hip Hop as the new GM and how did that come about?

Well basically, I’m going to become the GM soon. I’ve been appointed the General Manager but I’m the type of person that if it’s not in Black and White, and if we don’t have a notarized contract, then it didn’t happen. Verbally I’m the GM, but like I told Zar, the owner of 81 Hip Hop, I want paperwork. So I’m going to be taking a business trip to Cleveland; and he doesn’t mind signing those certain documents that need to be signed for me to become the GM. Once that’s done and finalized, then I will officially be the General Manager. But I can honestly say I’m the GM because I handle the day to day operations for the station.

And your future plans for 81 Hip Hop?

Starting off, I want to do a serious promotion campaign with the models, and we’re going to start off in Philly because Philly is going to be the flagship city for 81 Hip Hop, and I live here. I’ve been struggling with the other cities involved- the fact that I’m not there, and the DJ’s that are there… I don’t think they’re as adamant as I am about this.

I’m taking my skills that I learned from Power 99 and channeling them into 81 Hip Hop because after I graduated from Lincoln, I became a promotions assistant for Power 99 for four years. I worked under Stacey Thomas, the Director of Media at Clear Channel; I learned from her. So everything I’ve learned and soaked up like a sponge, I want to channel that same stuff into 81 Hip Hop.

If you weren’t a DJ, what else would you be doing?

That’s a good question!

If music wasn’t a factor, and I wasn’t into radio, I would probably do something to help the youth in the inner cities. I want to still do that, even though I’m in music. I plan to, as I grow and get enriched- I plan to do something for young men, because with all the things that’s going on in our country lately with Trayvon Martin and Freddie Gray…

I just want to find a way that I can aid these young guys and find out what their talents are and try and put them in the right direction, so they can tap into their talents. I think a lot of it comes from them not being able to tap into their talents, a lot of it comes from broken homes, a lot of it comes from their fathers not being there, or their moms not being there. My job is to be a role model or a mentor, so I want to start a mentor-ship program.

What advice would you give to your fans or other aspiring DJ’s?

I would say: do your research, do your history. 

Anybody that’s interested in radio, I would suggest reaching out to local stations for internships, because that’s how I got started. It’s very imperative that you do that while you’re in college. Some internships are available before you even get in college. They have some high schools set up where you can do internships while you’re actually in high school. 

Don’t sign anything without someone else looking at it, whether it’s attorney or someone who has the expertise for such things. I would also say, be you. Don’t try and copy off of other people’s scratches, don’t try to copy off of people’s break beats… do your own thing and be your own DJ.

That’s what I try to do.

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For more info about DJ Bugsy or to reach out to him, check out his Twitter, Instagram and visit 81HipHop.com!