I want to show some appreciation for my favorite DJs who live and play in Broward and West Palm Beach as one of the first installments of this new column. These are the people I go out of my way to hear live, trade music with, and listen to their mixes because I like being surprised by each of them (in a good way), and I respect all of their tastes.
One of the best things about being a DJ is hearing someone play a new track that you love, then doing some research and finding more gems from that artist or producer. Since there's so much great music being released all the time, listening to other DJs is the best way to stay on top of what's coming out. We are all pretty much stealing from one another all the time -- it's like an ongoing conversation.
The ten DJs who made this list each have a distinct style and have found their sonic niches. They are listed in no particular order, so read on and find out what makes each of them special.
Kent is from Baltimore and was one of the first people I connected with when I moved to South Florida. We have been gigging together for years, and I'm always blown away by his track selection and distinctive style.
He is also the founder of the South Florida Soul Club, which hosts vinyl-only Motown nights with DJs like Mikey Ramirez of Radio-Active Records. You can catch him regularly during the South Florida Soul Club events, at Lazer Wolf, during art events at C&I Studios, and around FAT Village, O Lounge, S3, and Fork and Balls.
Originally from Colombia, Nikko is one of the most technically skilled and hardest-working DJs I know, spending hour after hour practicing his routines and perfecting his technique. You can find him regularly at Vibe Las Olas, O Lounge, venues all over Miami, or out on tour. He was selected to compete in the Red Bull ThreeStyle DJ competition, one of six chosen from the entire southern region.
Check out his newest mixtape above.
Arguably West Palm Beach's most popular DJ, Lipson spends up to five nights a week working at the nicest venues in the area, playing his laid-back, Miami-style blend of nu-disco and deep and tech house. You can find him at venues all over Miami and regularly at Polo Players Club, Camelot, Honey, and Sketch.
As the man behind Radio-Active Records in Fort Lauderdale, Mikey is the one responsible for keeping this mostly vinyl store not just surviving but thriving as a business and as a cultural force in Fort Lauderdale.
Hearing him DJ is a special treat, because he still plays vinyl-only sets, and his collection and taste are spot-on. Hear him regularly at Gramps in Miami on Friday nights (when he throws with DJ Benton Galgay) and plenty of other concerts and events around the area.
Todd grew up in the Bahamas and had already been playing on the major radio stations there all throughout high school.
By fusing his aggressive, scratch-heavy style with American electronic, indie, and pop music, Todd created a sound of his own that is sought-after by clubs all over the area. He has headlined pretty much every major club in Broward and Miami. He has also performed for more than 4K partiers on New Year's Eve and 10K hip-hop fans at the Nine Mile Festival.
He and I are also in a group together called Prom Night that is worth checking out.
Mister Gray has been a staple of nightlife here for a long time. If you've been going out at all in the area over the past five years or so, chances are you've already heard him live. Or you've heard another DJ play one of the many remixes he's been putting out for years, lately finding huge success in producing with Miami's DJ Ruen.
You can hear him performing regularly at Monarchy, Passion, E11even, Wall, and Hyde Beach. Check out some of his latest productions above and here.
Chaos is probably the most versatile and clever DJ I've ever heard. He creates scratch routines and wordplay within his sets and moves effortlessly among styles. He and I also share an intense love for cheesy disco house tracks that no one likes except us. You can hear him nearly every night of the week at Monarchy, Tarpon Bend, Blue Martini, Camelot, Lux, and many other venues around the area.
Brendan has created a specific niche for himself fusing funky Latin and African and tech house into one sound. It's funky and soulful. He's also built a community of loyal followers for his record label and events company, Oceans Deep.
He hosts a weekly dance workshop that he DJs on Tuesday nights at Muse Studios in Fort Lauderdale and teaches people of all ages house and break dancing, along with other styles. He plays monthly at Funk Box Miami, the legendary NYC party started by Tony Touch, Segafredo, and Sushi Samba. He and I play the monthly Full Moon Rising event at S3, featuring live instruments -- trumpet, saxophone, and percussion from the Urban Tribal Project.
Check out one of his latest remixes above and one of his Oceans Deep mixes here.
The young Jamaican import just turned 21, and already he regularly travels back and forth between here and Jamaica, where he performs with major artists like Major Lazer and Skrillex. Locally, find him playing off-the-record house parties and venues like Vibe Las Olas, Rokbar Miami, Club 50 at the Viceroy, and Cameo. Check his latest mix above.
Another young artist, Frankie has quickly established himself as a well-sought-after DJ in South Florida. He is currently hosting his own radio show on Hits 97.3, five days a week, from 7 p.m. to midnight.
You can hear him play live weekly at Blue Martini, W Hotel Fort Lauderdale, the Hard Rock, American Social, and other hot spots. Check out one of his latest mixes above.
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