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Songtrust Spotlight: DJ Kass

New York-based DJ/rapper DJ Kass was born in Harlem and grew up in the Bronx, NY. Kass' father was a DJ and he grew up learning the tricks of the trade from his dad before starting to do his own gigs as a teenager. Before striking out with his own original tracks, he dabbled in remixes as well as continuous mixes of other artists' music which he released on his SoundCloud page.

His first original singles began appearing around 2016 when he released the energetic party banger "Tamo Open Yo." The next year a remix of the song surfaced with El Alfa, as well as a second single "Los Patrones." In 2018, he dropped the spare but fiery "Scooby Doo Pa Pa.” The song reached the Top 10 on Billboard’s US Latin chart, amassing over two billion streams, and was certified 2x platinum. Since the release, DJ Kass has collaborated with various artists including Chimbala, Kiko El Crazy, Play-N-Skillz, El Cherry Scom, and Quimico Ultra Mega. April 1st, 2022 saw the release of “Los Chingones” - Kass’s newest Dembow release with El Mega, Don Forty Five, and Eleven One.


WHAT OR WHO INSPIRED YOU TO GET INTO MUSIC?

My father was a DJ and I learned the skills of the trade from him.

HOW WOULD YOU DESCRIBE YOUR PHILOSOPHY AND STYLE AS AN ARTIST?

The style of music I make is called Dembow. My music is about partying and having fun. That's the energy I bring when I DJ, so I echo that feeling with my own music.

WHAT DRIVES YOU TO CREATE, AND HOW DO YOU DEFINE SUCCESS FOR YOURSELF IN MUSIC?

My musical peers within Latin and Hip-Hop music drive me to create. I define success by the way people react to my music. I play my own records during my DJ sets and get to see firsthand people enjoying themselves to my songs. It’s an amazing feeling.

THROUGHOUT YOUR CAREER, WHO HAS HELPED YOU THE MOST WITH DEVELOPMENT AND SUPPORT?

I need to shout out my management team, Made 4 It Management! Alex Vasquez and Max Clayman have always held me down and make sure that I stay booked most weeks of the year, as well as ensuring that all of my music-related business is in order. I’m fortunate to have them running the day-to-day operations so that I can remain creative.

SOMETIMES BEING IN THIS BUSINESS CAN BE OVERWHELMING. DO YOU HAVE ANY TIPS FOR MAINTAINING PERSPECTIVE AND NOT SWEATING THE SMALL STUFF?

If you wait at the bus stop long enough, a bus will come. Keep putting in your time, keep believing in yourself, and keep showing up. And eventually, the opportunity you are seeking will appear.

FOR SOME MUSIC CREATORS, THEIR CULTURE, RELIGION, OR COMMUNITY PLAYS A BIG PART IN HOW THEY DEFINE THEMSELVES MUSICALLY, WHILE FOR OTHERS, IT'S MORE ABOUT ESCAPING OR UNDERSTANDING THOSE EXPERIENCES RATHER THAN PAYING HOMAGE TO IT. HOW HAS YOUR UPBRINGING, COMMUNITY, AND/OR CULTURE INFLUENCED YOUR MUSIC OR STYLE, IF AT ALL, THROUGHOUT YOUR MUSICAL JOURNEY?

Growing up, Dominican music like Bachata was always heard in my house. But once I stepped foot outside, I was surrounded by Hip-Hop. So my music fuses the swagger of rap with the humor and style of Dominican culture. When I’m DJing in New York, I’m playing in Washington Heights or the Bronx - so I’m playing a combination of Latin music and Hip-Hop. The Bronx is the birthplace of Hip-Hop and it’s also home to many Dominicans and Puerto Ricans. So I got all bases covered!

WHAT MOTTO, AFFIRMATION, OR QUOTE EMPOWERS, INSPIRES, OR MOTIVATES YOU?

"Don’t chase success. Decide to make a difference and success will find you.”

FOR FUN, IF YOU WERE STRANDED ON AN ISLAND AND COULD ONLY HAVE (3) ITEMS WITH YOU, WHAT WOULD YOU BRING?

My Hookah, my phone, and my truck

WHAT DO YOU HAVE COMING UP NEXT?

I have a BIG dembow with Chimbala, Kiko El Crazy, and Cauty, that I’m getting ready to drop. Can’t wait for the world to hear this one!!

WHAT HAS YOUR EXPERIENCE WITH SONGTRUST BEEN LIKE SO FAR?

It has been a truly great experience. We love the ease of use and accounting transparency that Songtrust provides. My song “Scooby Doo Pa Pa” has thousands of user-generated videos on YouTube. Songtrust made it so easy to claim and monetize those videos, and CJ from the team was always available to answer any questions we had throughout the process. I plan on keeping my catalog with Songtrust for many years to come!

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