No Coincidence: Deejay T-Jr.
We’ve heard of them, the go-getters that turn their dreams into a reality but have you ever experienced someone that turns your reality into a dream-like state? This is exactly what Canada’s reigning DMC DJ Champion, Deejay T-Jr. described as the feedback she received after DJing at the 2019 Bastid’s BBQ in Toronto.
“I just remember noticing what first welcomed me, which was a scattered crowd, turning into a close knit hut through loops of hip-hop instrumentals with absolutely no vocals… just a build-up of anticipation!”
For T-Jr. turntablism, the art of DJ’ing is what attracted her to it. The technicality and manipulation of sound mixed with music knowledge is what she quickly selected as her instrument and outlet. What initially led T-Jr. to turntablism was her curiosity and love for hip-hop music and culture which she recalls was an ice breaker between her and her mentor, DJ Zee.
“Here I am, this 15 year-old kid and Zee just always had a certain swag to him so I remember asking him, ‘What kind of music do you listen to?’ and I’ll never forget his response because he said, ‘real hip-hop’. So I instantly start listing off hip-hop giants like: Rakim, Big Daddy Kane, KRS-ONE, and that’s what started it!”
Quickly the two developed a friendship and mentorship which led her to discover that Zee was a DJ outside of his work as a General Manager. Hearing Zee scratch on the turntables for the first time triggered her curiosity for turntablism and although reluctant at first due to the unfamiliarity around the turntables and coordination, she slowly became a natural due to her hunger of learning and perfecting.
T-Jr. believes in being a student of the things that we love and are passionate about, so anytime someone mentioned a hip-hop artist that she was unfamiliar with she took that as her cue to go home, hit the books, web and any possible source to learn everything and anything there was to learn about their music.
“I just wanted to know more than everyone, because I loved it (hip-hop) more than they did. So that was the catalyst, I got home and discovered and printed out a discography of artists from A-Z like 20 pages, front and back, and just went to the names that stood out to me most!”
That list first led her to the sounds of Big L, then trickled down to D.I.T.C. 's Lord Finesse, Diamond D then Wu-Tang, Nas and others at just 13 years-old. T-Jr.’s Top 5’s (with shared ranks) are:
Big L/50 Cent
Although T-Jr. always felt intertwined with her craft, there was a pivotal moment that proved to her that her calling to turntablism was her destiny. She recalls bringing her father to her the 2019 Bastid’s BBQ in Toronto and how taken back he was seeing how the crowd interacted with her, and the amount of people who knew her.
“After that, in typical dad fashion he started showing me off at work and telling his co-workers about who I was, and the show. This led him in discovering that his coworker Dizz, was DJ Zee’s mentor who then became my mentor. So crazy full circle moment, that’s when I knew this was generational and aligned!”
For T-Jr. she hopes she can encourage youth and others to avoid saturating their passions with things that deter them from locking in on their ambitions and dreams. She aspires to be a vessel of creativity and art that inspires youth to cater to those elements in their personal lives.
“T, finish this sentence for us, I fell in love with hip-hop when I heard?”
“Old Dirty Bastard - Got Your Money!”