On Record: DJ Spinn on how Freddie Gibbs' 'Thuggin' "broke drown the whole mentality of our region"

On Record is a regular feature on FACT in which we ask an artist we admire to pick a record that means a lot to them, and use it as a jumping off point for a conversation.

In this edition, we caught up with DJ Spinn. Spinn, along with his regular production partner Rashad, is a crucial figure in Chicago’s juke and footwork scene, and one of the best DJs around full stop. On June 27, Spinn will be playing at the Chicago leg of Olmeca Altos’ Colors of Tequila series alongside Rashad and Kid Color – Chicago-based readers can sign up for free entry (and food!) here. He chose Freddie Gibbs’ Madlib-produced Thuggin EP.


Why this record? What’s it mean to you, and how did you get into it?

Well I picked ‘Thuggin’ because it was an instant classic as soon as I heard it. The beat and the rhymes grabbed me immediately, I haven’t heard nothing that real in a while. I was in London at my guys Tim & Barry studio and some of the video guys that work there put me on the video – the video work was crazy and I related to his slang, like I can tell he’s from where I’m from or somewhere close to it. No disrespect to whoever in the game all on the radio and all, but Gibbs broke drown the whole mentality of our region in way I haven’t heard in a minute. I memorized his verses quick and I ain’t memorized anybody’s raps in a while.

 

“Gibbs broke drown the whole mentality of our region in way I haven’t heard in a minute.”

 

Your productions have always had a pretty jazzy side to them, just like Madlib who produced this. Are you a fan?

I’m definitely a fan, actually right after I saw the ‘Thuggin’ video, I got to meet Madlib and Freddie Gibbs in Poland at Tauron Nowa Muzyka Festival. They were real ass dudes too and I got to watch them kill it. That shit was inspiring!

You’re on the road more and more these days, do you find yourself taking a couple of albums with you and just fully locking into them? Or are you one of these guys who gets on Spotify / their promo folder whenever they have wifi and listens to a bunch of new stuff?

When I’m on the road I have a few playlists, the first one is all our new Teklife joints, the second playlist consist of all Freddie Gibbs mixtapes, all the newer Curren$y mixtapes, old Three 6 Mafia, all the Kanye West, Jay-Z albums, then last but not least, a mixture of Roy Ayers, Erykah Badu, some smooth shit and a lot of instrumentals.

What else have you been jamming a lot this year?

This year I’ve been listening to everyone from my playlist and mostly our music. Kode9 put me up on some Lemon D & Dillinja on the drum’n’bass tip, [that] and a bunch of random Soundcloud joints.


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