Walking into the Back Alley Bar in the Stratosphere on Sunday, November 15th for the annual CORE DJ weekend I was surrounded by baggy jeans, sunglasses, top hats and a lot of swagger. The Core DJ retreat was founded in December 2003 by CEO Tony Neal in order to give the core of hip hop, the DJs, a chance to network and listen to new talent from all over the U.S.
New Artist Showcase at Stratosphere Las Vegas | Photo by Mathew Carpenter | MyVegasScene.com
The weekend began on Friday the 13th with DJs from all over registering at the Stratosphere Hotel, then attending a Core DJs Poker Tournament, followed by a Welcome to Las Vegas Party at the Voodoo Lounge in the Rio Hotel and Casino. Saturday consisted of a listening suite hosted by Digi Waxx at the Stratosphere, followed by the Jam Master Jay “Two Tables & a Microphone” movie premiere that was hosted by 50 Cent.
The movie premiere was so packed that they had to turn some DJs away because the theater filled so quickly! Saturday night ended in the Fight after party at Rum Jungle where DJs stayed out until the sun came up. Sunday morning Interscope / Bad Boy records hosted the Dirty Money Sunday Brunch at the Stratosphere complete with mimosas and P. Diddy himself. The Core DJs Industry Panel “Branding and Marketing” followed at the Back Alley Bar where many DJs and artists got to speak their minds and ask questions to the featured panelists including founder, Tony Neal.
I was lucky enough to cover the best event of the weekend: The New Artist Showcase that was located in the Back Alley Bar in the Stratosphere. This event showcased all the new talent from L.A. all the way to Miami. As I walked into the dark bar I was overwhelmed with how many artists and DJs there were all anxious in anticipation for the show to begin. These were the artists that were on the rise that were waiting to spill their talent all over the stage for executives and experienced talent to hear. I sat down in a chair by the bar while the host introduced the first performer named Miz who was all the way from Louisville, Kentucky. He got the crowd right up out of their seats and soon everyone in the bar was bobbin their heads up and down to the beat. I got the chance to talk to Miz after he got off the stage and ask him a few questions.
“Miz” & “D-Train” | Photo by Mathew Carpenter | MyVegasScene.com
My Vegas Scene: What was your favorite event so far?
Miz: “Definitely the Diddy Brunch because it was cool to see Diddy come out for us.”
MVS: What are some of your inspirations for your music?
Miz: “A lot of people doubted me and there were a lot of haters out there. They kept me motivated and so did my family.”
Be sure to check out Miz’s single “I Can Do Ya Better.”
A lot of new artists graced the stage that day and as I watched all the male performers I was excited to hear some female talent as well. A group called Unladylike came up on the stage in matching bedazzled varsity jackets paired with booty shorts and attitude.
Rap Female Duo “Unladylike” | Photo by Mathew Carpenter | MyVegasScene.com
These ladies had all of the gentlemen in the bar on their feet and even caught the attention of people outside the bar as well. Tee, 21 years old and Gunna, 22 of Unladylike said that they support and are inspired by the female group Salt-N-Peppa and they had the energy and attitude to back that up. I have never heard a female artist rap as fast as Gunna did and the crowd was loving it! This female group from East St. Louis, Illinois has got it goin’ on! Be sure to check out their album “Certified” out now.
As the showcase went on I took the opportunity to introduce myself to a lot of different artists out in the casino and ask them some questions. I met artist John Blu, 25 years old from Chicago, Illinois who is a singer, writer and producer for AllAbou Us Records.
Multi-Talented Artist “JohnBlu” | Photo by Mathew Carpenter | MyVegasScene.com
MVS: What was your favorite event at Core DJ weekend?
John Blu: “The New Artist Showcase because we get to see and hear the artists.”
MVS: What is your music style?
JB: “I have a different and unique style that is inspired by all different kinds of music from gospel, to blues to hip hop.”
MVS: Who do you look up to in the music industry?
JB: “People in the industry that do it all like I do, write, produce, sing, like R. Kelly and Jay-Z.
You can listen to John Blu’s new single “Nicknames” at Myspace.com/Johnblu.
A Cuban DJ named DJ RPS from Miami caught my attention with his sunglasses on and his warm persona.
“The Crazy Cuban” | Photo by Mathew Carpenter | MyVegasScene.com
MVS: What was your favorite event this weekend?
RPS: “The Industry Panel and the New Artist Showcase.”
MVS: What are your inspirations in your day to day music making?
RPS: “My inspiration is to be the most creative and express the music in an original way.”
MVS: Do you have a nickname?
RPS: “Yes, I do. It’s the Crazy Cuban.”
Another artist that I met that is “big” in the bay area is Big Rich. He took time away from the black jack table to talk to me about his music and what keeps him motivated in this business.
MVS: What are some of your inspirations and what keeps you motivated?
BR: “I am family orientated and I concentrate on the business side of this industry. The thrill of this business is what keeps me motivated, and not a lot of people can say that.”
MVS: Who do you look up to in the industry?
BR: “The Godfather E-40 because he presented me to Catch Records in the bay area, also San Quinn and I am west coast so I have always followed and looked up to 2Pac.”
MVS: What has been your favorite event of the weekend?
BR: “The New Artist Showcase because I can sit at the table and gamble and watch and listen to the show at the same time. Also I have always been an artist that says in with the new and out with the old and I am listening to the new as we speak.”
Be sure and check out Big Rich’s single “Ballin’” on Catch Records.
After the New Artist Showcase had ended the artists and DJs all shuffled upstairs to the Hip Hop Mixer with the Legends of the West & East Coast and the viewing of “Founding Fathers.” The Core DJ weekend ended with a bang at the finale party at Rum Jungle hosted by the Atlantic-Grand Hustle Family. From all the artists I had the honor of talking to it seemed like the majority favorite event was the New Artist Showcase. That goes without saying because it was a great way for the DJs and artists to listen to and enjoy all the new talent. Hopefully next year there will be just as much swagger and attitude to go around!