2010 has been a hopeful year for hip-hop. Dr. Dre releasing Detox is still feasible (barely), Kanye may have changed the game (once again), and on top of that, hip-hop phoenix Lauryn Hill officially returned to the stage after ditching the music industry for motherhood for much of the past decade.
In Janurary, L-Boogs set out on the reggae themed Raggmuffin tour, which hit spot dates across Australia and various cities in Europe. Instantly, fans and media began conjuring up Lauryn Hill comeback album talk. Then she joined this summer’s throwback-themed Rock The Bells tour, with a brand-new band backing her highly criticized live show, which features almost entirely reincarnated mixes from The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill era. Looking for insight on her music reemergence, VIBE tracked down Lauryn’s current tour jockey DJ Rampage, who spoke on how they got acquainted, preparing for the tour, the chances of Lauryn releasing new music, oh—and her approval of Nicki Minaj. —Mikey Fresh
VIBE: How did you first meet Lauryn?
DJ Rampage: I met Ms. Hill last December at a party I was spinning at for Chris Blackwell of the reggae label, Island Records. It was down in Soho for a vintage clothing boutique. I was just doing my usual thing, really going in on some reggae records from Chris’ label. And Ms. Hill walked in with her manager, Chris Shwartz.. When the lady who organized the party told me, I didn’t really react. Only because I’m the kind of person who’s focused just on my job. Next thing I know, her manager walked up to me and started asking about some of the records that I was playing. If I can remember correctly, I was playing that John Legend and Buju Banton record “Can‘t Be My Lover.” After a little while, he came back again asked about another record.
Did you think at any point she was really the one inquiring about your choice of records?
Not really, but toward the end of the event, she came up to me and introduced herself. I passed her one of our mixtapes, and she told me that she was feeling my style. But just based on the level of events and artists that I’ve dealt with, I didnt allow myself to get starstruck. I just felt like I met a genuine person who was really feeling my music. I went to another event, forgot about it and got an email the next morning from Chris Shwartz expressing Ms. Hill’s thoughts about me. That’s when I started thinking “okay is this real”? [laughs]
What did that email say?
He said that Ms. Hill was open to work with me and was really feeling my style of DJing. She probably heard me for about 45 minutes the night before. Ultimately, the email ended up saying that they would call me at a certain time.
Did she call you direct?
Yeah, I’d say we spoke for like half an hour. At that time she was gearing up to head out on the Raggamuffin tour across Australia and a few other dates. So from that event, it led to me joining her on the road. She explained everything that she wanted to get done, musically. The whole band went back and fourth with her working on the show.
Talk about the opportunity of a lifetime.
To be able to have this experience is like a dream. Every DJ doesn’t get to really be a part of a show and be involved in everything that it takes to make it happen. There’s tension at times and a lot of hard work from an entire group of people that goes in before the artist even gets on stage.
Can you describe your relationship with her?