DJ EQUE IS MORE THAN A PRETTY FACE. SHE ROCKS THE PARTY WITH A SKILL SET BUILT FROM NOTHING MORE THAN DETERMINATION AND HARD WORK. NOW THAT SHE’S WORKED HER WAY INTO A SUCCESSFUL CAREER SHE’S FOCUSING ON EMPOWERING YOUNG GIRLS. READ OUR INTERVIEW WITH HER TO LEARN HOW SKILLS GOT HER WAY FURTHER THAN HER LOOKS.
HHD (HIPHOPDIVA): You began to DJ in college. What initially sparked your interest and what has kept you doing it for over 10 years?
DE (DJ EQUE): I think what started my interest is that I’ve always been a person to challenge myself. I was in college playing basketball. I’ve always been the person to want to try something different, that’s not normal…I knew I wanted to be different so I sought out this guy that was DJing all the parties. I never seen a girl do it, except for Spinderella and I was like, I would like to do that…from there I just kept pushing towards it, getting my own equipment and started collecting vinyl’s and really just practicing at home by myself…playing for me and my friends.
HHD: What’s the one song you can go to that you know will get the crowd going?
DE: I DJ for so many diverse crowds, every crowd is different. I have one song particularly for every crowd. A crowd that really loves music,while I’m on the east coast I know I can go to certain tracks that they can dance to. If it’s a soulful crowd I can go anywhere from classic House music to Funk& Soul with James Brown or I can go to Maze. Maze is always a for sure joint to get everybody on the floor singing and dancing. If it’s a more Top 40’s crowd, more of a mixture between white and black, I know I can go to Earth, Wind & Fire or The Whispers, something with soul. Soul always rocks a party. You can always win with soul.
HHD: You’ve been the tour DJ for numerous artists, including Luke, Beyoncé, Missy Elliott, and Usher, just to name a few. Which tour did you have the best experience on and why?
DE: The best experience I had was the Sugarwater Tour with Queen Latifah. That tour was so amazing because it was all women. It was always Erykah Badu, Jill Scott, and Queen Latifah and they brought in different opening acts. That tour to me was the best, I just loved that tour.
HHD: If there was one piece of advice you could give to aspiring artists on what gets a crowd rocking what would it be?
DE: When you’re an artist you gotta be you. If you’re an artist you have a gift. Stay true to yourself. You can listen to other people to inspire you but try to be your own person and find your own way.
HHD: As an attractive woman working in the music industry, before you were well known, people were shocked when you showed up to DJ. Do you believe there’s a double standard in hip hop between the roles men and women play and what they’re capable of doing?
DE: I think just in general, in life period, when it comes to men and women, hip hop is not separated out of that, it’s the same thing. If anything you gotta be 10 times better than the dude. Guys can be mediocre and get jobs.
HHD: When you began DJing that was around the time when there were tons of female emcees that were out there that were hot. You’ve been in this industry and seen the rise and fall of the female emcee. In your opinion what happened to the female emcee?
DE: Because this industry is so dominated I feel like they never went anywhere. They’re still there. The industry is saturated with anything that’s selling. Back then it was more diverse, you had a Public Enemy and a Tribe Called Quest. Now it’s not diverse, so being a female is really hard. There are so many emcees out there and always has been. But because the industry and the record labels are not signing them or doing anything with them you’re thinking they’re gone. They’re still there. It’s just that it’s not in the forefront as much as it used to be. If you do it you have to grind. I never was a Nicki Minaj fan but I do respect her grind. I can’t deny she’s grinding and her mixtapes she kept pushing and pushing and pushing and she found a way. I definitely know it’s a grind and you gotta do it 10 times harder than what a dude is doing to even get recognized.
HHD: If you had to name the top five female hip hop artists, who would you name?
DE: My top five hip hop, emcees that I like…I like Jean Grae, Lauryn Hill of course, Rah Digga…I like Eve, I like her style, and then it would be Latifah, I love Latifah.
HHD: Do you have any upcoming projects going on right now that you would like for us to support?
DE: I’m on the radio on Fridays on 97.9. I’m getting ready for 2012 and work towards giving back more and charity towards young women.
HHD: What is your definition of a hip hop diva?
DE: A hip hop diva to me is someone who has their own talent and hustles. If you have the talent or want to have the talent just put 100% behind you and invest in yourself if you want the world to see you as being a diva and being a boss about it. Put your own material out there and be positive about it without any gimmicks or anything just to get over. If you have the talent and put it out there it has no choice but to come across as raw talent and truly your gift.
Read the feature article on the Spotlight on Hip Hop DIVA DJ Eque page
Find DJ Eque at www.djeque.com