Pandora’s Box: D-Nice Explains Life When The Music Stops [Pg 2]

Is this when you became DJ D-Nice?

Yes, I figured I could throw these sexy, intimate parties as a way of bringing business people together. I couldn’t find a DJ that would play the music I wanted to hear. I like Jay- Z, Lil Wayne, Bette Midler, ACDC and Stevie Wonder, no one was playing music like this. I decided to be my own DJ. It was all new to me, I was horrible at first. I went to different clubs to study the formula I found out that it’s all about counting bars and smooth transitions. I was only getting $100 a night at first. I wanted to develop this craft. I wanted to learn. I feel like if someone decides to come out and spend three to four hours with you, you need to give them a real experience.

About how many parties have you done since?

Over 1,500 in the past six years.

What was your craziest party?

It was actually a party thrown by Vibe/BET/Centric. It was last year in Martha’s Vineyard. They didn’t care what I played, they just wanted good music. I just got into a zone. The first record I played was Stevie Wonder “Do I Do.” From that point on, everyone got on the dance floor. My set was supposed to be from ten until twelve, but BET ended up having to pay the venue for an extra two hours. Then, on top of that, everyone stayed until the last song; you could feel the floor moving. It was the first time I ever got a standing ovation at the end of a party. What an amazing experience.

I notice you wear very fashionable suits to work when you DJ, is there a reason?

That comes from the pop DJ’s, everything is cool about them. The downtown DJ’s were wearing Tom Ford and Ralph Lauren Black Label. When I started dressing this way, I started getting better gigs. It’s all about marketing. The DJ is the center of attention in the club. Not to say I don’t have my dress down days, but when I’m working, I make sure the suit fits right.


D-Nice’s Photography: B.o.B on fields of green


What is your DJ technique? Who do you aim to please?

I play music for women, if the ladies are dancing, the guys will follow. I’m more like a house DJ. With house music, it’s more about the transition and the blend. Hip-hop is more about scratching and hard drops. Women want to feel finessed and sexy. So I aim to give them that music that will set a vibe for them to feel free.

Which one of your talents give you the most satisfaction?

Photography is my passion. What most don’t know, is that being a DJ is such a lonely life. You’re always in the booth, you can’t talk to any one, you’re getting paid to please the crowd. With my camera, I can allow people to see the world through my eyes. Ultimately, when I’m fifty, I will be a photographer. A lot of people don’t know this side of me. I want them to know me for everything I love, not just being a rapper and a DJ.

When did you take your first picture?

I started in the late eighties. I borrowed one of my boy’s cameras, but the way I shot then was totally different. I didn’t shoot with an understanding of composition. I didn’t respect the negatives. All the images I shot back then, I couldn’t even tell you where they are because I didn’t care. It was all about “I have a camera, let me take pictures.” It wasn’t until my recording career was over that I started to fully understand what photography is. I had nothing tangible to show my family, like what was out there, what the world was like when you leave New York. I wanted to inspire my daughter, show her pictures of me in Egypt. Once I started shooting, I would always carry my camera I have one in my pocket now.


Derrick puts the thick, woven, camera strap around his neck, and starts to focus in on my right hand. As I continued to vigorously type on my MacBook, I realized that his subject was my “LOYALTY” tattoo.


“I really like that tattoo, loyalty is a beautiful thing,” he said as he focused and snapped.


“Thank you, I believe it is,” I coyly replied.


He smiled…


Later that evening Derrick sent me the image. A classic, frozen moment in black and white. A profile shot of a word I boldly engraved on my body as a symbol of the way I chose to live my life. I was gifted with my very first Derrick Jones photograph.


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