Could you imagine being the woman scratching records behind one of the most legendary singers of our time and our parents’ time? Prince–yes, The Purple One has an affinity for working with beautiful women–word to Apollonia and Vanity6.
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Prince’s DJ is no different. The stunning DJ Rashida found herself behind His Purple Majesty in 2004, spinning his tunes, only after she impressed him with her musical prowess. DJ Rashida was more than willing to chat with us about how she met Prince, how she impressed him and what’s so special about her sound that even Prince had to ask her, “How do you know about all this music?”
Check out the full exclusive below!
Is it intimidating working with Prince?
Well it’s been a long time at this point, but even at the beginning it was never intimidating I always felt like I was part of his club anyway. So when we did meet it was very organic and that’s my dude.
How does it feel to grow up listening to someone and then end up working with them?
On one hand its super amazing, but on the other hand, as a little kid you think about things [like this] and as an adult I pretty much manifested a lot of them.
Who did you work with otherwise before Prince?
He’s the first celebrity I worked with. I was in a band before around the time I started working with him called Plant Life. I’ve been touring with Kelis and Cee-Lo. But same thing with them too–Kelis is one of my best girlfriends and even before I got to know her and meet her I was like she’s cool that’s my girl.
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You must live this divine life that manifests itself. Must be nice.
I think we all can. To me, it’s things you subconsciously think of and think this person is a part of my tribe and then sure enough, you meet them and you are part of the same tribe.
Can you break down a little bit of your background? What you’ve done? Where you come from?
i got my turntables when I was 18 in Atlanta, Georgia. I went to high school and college out there– art school…
You always wanted to DJ at that point?
No not at all, I was a music lover and I had been going to the clubs and dancing for quite some time and I had a lot of friends that were DJ’s. When I first got my turntables, I didn’t actually DJ outside of my house for the first three years. I never had plans on being a club DJ I literally just wanted to mix. That was only my goal.
But then my friends started forcing me to go play their parties and when I got into that [party] group I realized I really liked it and people actually like me doing it. That’s when the wheels started turning and I knew I could actually do this. I started seeing what was happening in the New York scene with Beverly Bond and Mark Ronson…I’ll never forget I opened up a magazine and I saw this picture Beverly Bond in a Mercedes Benz ad and I was like, “Oh this not just a hobby, this is like a career!” From that moment on, I was I wanted to do this. All the doors opened from there when I decided I wanted to do this as a job.
How does one catch the eye or ear of Prince when you’re like, “I’m not leaving my house I’m just going to DJ here”?
[laughs] Well I will tell you this–the first time I played one of Prince’s parties (this is all pre-MTV, pre this being a career for me) and at the time I was only playing records that I love, not anything that was on the radio. I was playing a lot of Rare Groove–that’s what caught Prince’s ear. He was like, “How do you about all this music?” I know being true to myself is what got me that job. Everyone had been telling me if you want to play celebrity parties, if you want to do big Hollywood parties, you have to play radio music. At the time I refused, I was a purist. Now I can mix it up and make it more pleasurable for myself, but at the time I was in a zone and that zone worked for me.
So what is your DJ sound?
Well it’s always been a mix of things. I like so many styles of music. My perfect set is when I can play everything from Hip Hop to Dancehall to Deep House to Brazilian to Funk Soul and I can really mix everything. I love it all.
I would really love to hear a DJ Rashida playlist–a 10 song playlist of music that you’re into right now…
Let me see what I’ve been listening to incessantly…Well for sure I’m into Lianne La Havas. My homeboy Thundercat is making amazing music right now, I really love Azealia Banks she’s super raw and I wish she’d make cleaner versions, but I love her and the sound she’s going for. I love A$AP Rocky and the new Frank Ocean.
There’s this group called Disclosure and a group SBTRKT and I think they’re both out of the UK. SBTRKT is off the chain. I love them. Is that 10? [laugh] Kelis has some real dope stuff coming out. I’ m leaving someone out! I’m really pleased with the state of music right now. For a second there was a drought. I was very sad. I love James Blake as well. Oh and I love Little Dragon. You should check out my mix tapes on DJRashida.com. There’s actually a mix that has all of them on there–even Prince.
I may need you to DJ my life.