Photo and design by Donald Andrew Agarrat, 2004.
Use “LDJ” to describe your personality, one word for each letter.
Ah, it’s LdJ, lowercase d. You did know that, right? But anyway, that’s a good question. I never thought about it as an acronym. I had been using the lowercase d for some time, and then a friend designed a biz card with the logo LdJ and it looked so cool, and everybody started calling me that. Then when I began to DJ professionally it became EL d j, you know, The DJ. Like I’m the only one and there is no other. LOL. But seriously, if I had to come up with an acronym for it, I’d guess I’d go for something over-the-top and self-serving like “lyrically divine juggernaut.” And that probably sounds like I’m trying to be a rapper. I’m not even sure it’s grammatically correct. But you asked, didn’t you?
How does blogging heal you?
Well I started this whole blogging thing, without really knowing there were blogs or what I was doing. I put up a website in the summer of 2001, after being laid off from my gig at BlackPlanet.com. I primarily put it up as a resource for job-hunting, and mainly freelance writing. So it was my online biz card. But I had decided from the outset that I’d include a diary. I needed an outlet for my voice, when I wasn’t doing any professional writing. Through time, I met other bloggers like George at allaboutgeorge.com and Cecily at formica.ca, and they helped me to find other bloggers and to really understand what a blog or online journal could become. At times, I’ve used it just to deal with my day-to-day, and other times I’ve used it to share my day-to-day, and even other times as some sort of cultural criticism space. I guess overall, I’d have to say it’s similar to any other type of journal, it helps you work through your shit and deal with self, and also to know self and bond with self.
Talk about the state of R&B music.
Is there really an R&B today? I mean I know the history of the term. Some dude over at Billboard came up with it in the late ’40s to encompass blues and soul music, so basically at some point all black music became defined as R&B. That was until you got pop and hip-hop. Most of the time I’m annoyed with today’s R&B, it tries to be too much like hip-hop and not enough like itself. It’s not creating a lot of newness within it’s own foundation. I’m overly skeptical of the categorizations to begin with, it’s too boxed in. But on the other hand, over the past decade we have seen some really creative artists coming out of what is typically referred to as R&B. Though often too much imitations, duplications, and artists who cover past hits, or put their own lyrics over old soul tones. I love Mary J. to def, ‘cuz to me, though not the best singer in the world, she’s emotive. She brings those gutturals deep down from the depths of her pussy. That’s right, I said it. But I didn’t coin it myself. I think I first heard a statement like that when Karen R. Good put it down writing about Mary J. in the Village Voice awhile back. And when I read it, I was like yeah, that’s it. But her latest efforts are much like the stuff I was talking about being disappointed with. I do feel what artists like Erykah Badu put out there, because you either gotta’ love her or hate her, and there is no in between. She’s doing that real artist shit just like Prince did, and now that’s the same thing that Andre 3000 of Outkast is attempting to do.
Basically, I feel there are a lot of people who can really sing, but most of the time their lyrics aren’t saying anything and they’re not pushing boundaries with the music. If you asked me about the state of hip-hop, you would’ve gotten a dissertation. Funny thing is everyone thinks I’m this big hip-hop head, when I actually listen to all genres of music. What’s been classified as electronica and acid jazz is what I really like. Those folks do something different. Those folks push boundaries. And of course, I love my straight-ahead jazz and house/dance music will always be a favorite.