Martini: Spotlighting DJ Keith SuccessWritten by Martini Rox | | firstname.lastname@example.org
Ask any consistently working DJ in Toledo for the past 10 years who influenced or inspired them to be a DJ and 80 percent would name Keith Roberts aka DJ Keith Success.
The Hip-Hop scene in 1984 had exploded and at 14 years old, while attending “Hops” at the girls gym in Scott High School, Keith was mesmerized by the DJs. He decided this was his profession and immediately went to work buying his first turntable from an electronics store in Sylvania.
“I rode my bike all the way there and got a turntable that was used. No weight on the back, no needles. I rode my bike from Sylvania all the way home to Toledo,” he said.
This was only the beginning for Keith, a legend in his own right with a career that would span the next 25 years of musical contribution and influence the sound of the city. There were no FM urban stations at that time and it was up to the DJ’ to inform everyone what was new in music. Keith emerged as the most widely recognized DJ during that time and was called upon to DJ at high-profile concert afterparties. He is one of the founders of the United Soul Brothers (The USBs), a collective group started in the ’90s of friends involved in every element of Hip-Hop from DJ-ing to graffiti artists; they were a heavy influence in Toledo.
Keith continued to trail blaze when he began working at his first radio station WJUC FM 107.3 and soon Toledo’s other urban stations, Detroit and satellite radio. Within the past 10 years he is known mainly for his Old School parties and in 2007 he added mixtapes to his resume when he teamed up with DJ Money Mike. When the buzz on Keith and Money Mike’s mixtapes started to grow beyond Toledo, offers to do mixtapes came from popular early Hip-Hop acts like Big Daddy Kane and Afrika Bambaataa.
He also began working with radio legend DJ Tommy Kaye and his company Ebony World Productions (EWP) where he is able to mentor and aid in preparing and developing upcoming artists. A firm believer that the missing component in most artists is marketing and self-promotion, Keith stresses grassroots tactics like pounding the pavement with fliers, new music or mix tape promotions and visibility. Tools that combined with the luxury of today’s social media can push artists further than they can imagine. With recent changes in sound and style happening in Hip-Hop, I wanted to ask Keith Success his thoughts on new artists and their music.
Martini Rox: From when you began, what can you say the biggest difference is in Hip-Hop music?
DJ Keith Success: You want me to be honest with you? [There’s] no more pure music. Once the corporate side got a hold of it, they got money-driven. They [are] going to make you say you have to rap about anything in order to sell these kinds of records. The artist unknowingly follows that pattern. Therefore you [don’t have] nobody saying nothing real or what they think is real.
Martini Rox: Some would say it’s all about the beats.
DJ Keith Success: It’s all about the beat but that’s [also] the problem. It’s so much about the beat that you really are not paying attention to what’s being said.
I agree and it sounds more like a maturity issue than anything but there’s a lot to be said about Keith’s no nonsense opinion and the fact that he recently celebrated 25 years of DJ-ing along with the Legendary DJ Lyte-N-Rod earlier this month in a celebration for their core fan base. A tremendous turnout in his honor proves respect is well deserved when it comes to DJ Keith Success.
As we continue on …