Head Spins: DJ Sandman

The first time I caught DJ Sandman, it was on a Sunday afternoon outside by the pool at the ever-swinging Shore Club. TAI Entertainment was throwing another of its long-running blowouts, and the joint was jumping with more models and bottles per square foot than Hefner's dream house. Even better was the beat the crowd was keeping to, a beat that said we were right where we wanted to be.

Behind that beat was DJ Sandman, the kind of bold-faced heavyweight head-spinner who knows just what to play and just when to play it — not to mention just which parties to play. Born in Chi-town but raised in Miami, Sandman comes to the turntables through no less a name than DJ Irie. See, it was Irie who took a then-18-year-old Sandman under his wing, showing him what worked where and how and how to make certain that where you were working was where it was at. In other words, Irie not only put Sandman's ear to the music; he gave him entry into some of the best venues in the world.

Then along came Tommy Pooch and Alan Roth, the two kingpins who run TAI Entertainment. Like Irie, Pooch and Roth saw something special in the Sandman, and they gave him his first solo gig, at South Beach's ultrahip Astor Hotel. That was five years ago, and Sandman's been with TAI ever since. In fact, three out of his four weekly residencies are for the firm, and once a month, he even heads back into the Shore Club just to keep his feet wet and the beat true.

Naturally if you spin in all the best spots, you're privy to all the best action. As highlights of his head-spinning career, he counts throwing down with the Sugar Hill Gang at the Delano, handling Shaq's birthday at Hard Rock, and spinning for Erykah Badu at Chakra.

With a résumé that ranges from Cameo to Karu & Y, a pedigree fit for Irie's Artist Related firm, and that all-important go-to position with the TAI boys, Sandman's got it going on indeed. Don't believe me? Try slipping into the Mondrian one Friday night and watch the throng sway as Sandman plays a patented mashup from Tim Westwood. Or brave the ropes at the Delano on a Tuesday and get a peek at the elite moving to the beat of Biggie. Hell, just close your eyes and imagine that you're at the hottest party you've never been to, then double it. You'll get the idea all right. And then you'll get going out. Happy clubbing.

DJ Sandman's Current Top Five:

1. "Blame It (Remix)," Jamie Foxx featuring T-Pain

2. "Roc Boys," Jay-Z

3. "Rockin That Shit," The-Dream

4. "Jockin Jay-Z," Jay-Z

5. "Always Strapped," Lil Wayne

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John Hood