DJ Epps has both good and bad to say about making music in South Florida in 2013. You might think the East Harlem-bred, Haitian DJ is contradicting himself. But the truth is, he thinks Miami is making progress, thanks to some of our shining stars of hip-hop. His beef is with bottom-feeding rappers and local radio stations not representing the voices of the area.
And Epps is a voice worth listening to, especially on the subject of South Florida music. He first gained ground as a DJ at the Sugar Shack on South Beach and then as Liquid's resident DJ at Fat Black Pussycat, a hot hip-hop Monday-night party that started in the mid-'90s. But most people know DJ Epps from his former after-dark Friday- and Saturday-night show on Power 96. Though he was signed to G-Unit Records, his current closest ally is Pitbull, who offered the DJ safe haven from a stormy situation a few months ago.
"Just 'cause I was one of their DJs," Epps says of his time with 50 Cent's crew, "people would categorize me as a certain type of DJ. When they would go to my show, they would notice that I'm all around, [that] I play everything. So Pitbull decided to take me out of that misery. Put me on his label. I've known Armando [Pitbull] for a long, long time. Even before he was Mr. Worldwide, Mr. 305. He just puts in effort, grind, hustle." He calls working with his old friend "an honor" and a "great situation." The new alliance is major, he says: "My career just shifted."