An interview with DJ AMEN of Young California
1. State your stage name and its origins, your profession, & where your rep?
Dj Amen came from my older brother who was a graffiti artist turned yogi, turned MC. I am a curator of culture by day and DJ by night. I was born and raised in the Northern Bay Area and currently reside in San Francisco. I spend a lot of my time travelling all over the western United States building brands.
2. How many years in the game, and how many hours a day do you put into your hustle?
I got my first pair of turntables a little over 15 years ago. It’s been non-stop ever since. As long as my eyes are open I’m always working on what the next move is.
I was fortunate to grow up with a lot of classic rock, pop and soul as a kid. Once I learned about Hip-Hop I spent a lot of time going back and educating myself on it’s history. I hear some other music in everyday life but Hip-Hop/Rap/R&B have completely consumed me. I really don’t have the free time anymore to keep up with everything else.
4. Talk to me about Young California. What is it, who is in it, and what’s the story and/or meaning behind the movement?
A couple years ago before the recent resurgence of West Coast Hip Hop I was doing a lot of work with young local artists in Northern California and I heard that in Southern California there was another passionate DJ named Carisma that was doing the same thing. I found her and told her about an idea I had to help shorten the translation time between the two different areas and build a platform for artists, DJ’s, producers, record labels and radio stations to help stimulate the local economy as well as promote local brands. After she partnered up with me we found almost 30 like-minded key influencers to come together and help spread the idea. It has been an amazing journey with an awesome group of people.
5. What is it about Northern Cali that keeps DJs like you here, still hungry and inspired by the scene and determined to let the world know what’s going on around here?
There is no place like home. The San Francisco Bay Area is a melting pot of progressive people, ideas, and talent. We are so independent at heart we feel like we can accomplish anything. I honestly feel like “cool” comes from the Bay Area too. That’s why people from other regions are so intrigued by us and borrow our (for a lack of better words) “swag”.
6. Current top 10.
Top 10 what lol? How about artists from the California I’m listening to right now. Everybody is always asking me that. Ummm…
1.) IAMSU! (Richmond)
2.) Ty$ (Los Angeles)
3.) The Kid Ryan (Fresno)
4.) RJ (Los Angeles)
5.) Kool John (Richmond)
6.) Kehlani (Oakland)
7.) Super Duper Kyle (Ventura)
8.) Eric Bellinger (Los Angeles)
9.) Jay305 (Los Angeles)
10.) Boogie (Long Beach)
7. Who’s your favorite rapper of all time, and if you had to choose, your favorite album by them, and if you had to choose, your favorite song by them. Only if you had to of course.
Honestly I don’t have a favorite artist, album or song. There are many greats that were the best at a particular skill. Biggie, Pac, Jay, Em, etc… but I think E-40 is one of the most underrated rappers of all time. Maybe it’s just because I’m from the 707 and feel like he’s talking to me but none the less he is a genius. I talk to him a lot and he still sharp as ever after all these years in the business.
8. Shout outs, thank yous, big ups, peace outs, etc…
Thanks to TRUE for always being a Bay Area staple and for making sure I was fresh growing up. I have been shopping there for what seems like my whole life lol. Make sure you guys follow @YoungCalifornia and @DjAmen3000 for all the latest and I just want to say thank you to everybody that has been rockin with me from jump. I always try to do my part to support local artists and brands. That’s how we all win.