DJ Spinderella Talks The Art of Blending At Rémy Martin's Mixtape Street Art Museum Event
DJ Spinderella. Photo courtesy of Angela Pham/BFA
Hip-hop and cognac have a longstanding relationship, so it was only natural that Rémy Martin is celebrating the game-changing genre's 50th birthday this year with a string of events. Titled Rémy Martin Mixtape Limited Edition Series, the trilogy (which honors those who laid the foundation for hip-hop) concluded on March 22 at the birthplace of hip-hop: The Bronx.
Taking place at the borough's Universal Hip-Hop Museum (set to officially open to the public next year), the event showcased the Rémy Martin Mixtape Street Art Museum, a traveling exhibit that highlights eight iconic DJs from five key cities across the nation. The vision was brought to life by illustrator Xia Gordon. Attendees included legendary mixtape DJs like DJ Spinderella, DJ Cocoa Chanelle, Kool DJ Red Alert, DJ Marley Marl, DJ Yella, DJ Jelly, and DJ Jay Illa. Spinning the rap classics were DJ Suss One and DJ Quicksilva, and Hip Hop Dance Junkies kept the vibrant energy flowing with their breakdancing battle.
Photo by Josh Sobel
As the specialty cocktails were pouring and guests enjoyed the museum, EDITION spoke to DJ Spinderella about her own legacy in hip-hop. “I haven’t seen a lot of people from my hip-hop past like this in a while," she stated. "So to be able to see legends like DJ Red Alert and DJ Yella is a surreal feeling.”
Along with the event, Rémy Martin plans to continue to celebrate hip-hop's 50th birthday throughout 2023 "through dynamic partnerships with iHeartMedia and the Universal Hip Hop Museum." Read on for our chat with the Salt-N-Pepa member and rap icon herself.
Hip Hop Dance Junkies Breakdancers on the dance floor. Photo by Josh Sobel
Salt-N-Pepa helped lay the foundation for women in hip-hop today. Take me back to the ‘90s when you were all navigating through the industry when it was more of a guy’s club.
It was beautiful but we didn’t really know what the outcome would be. It wasn’t until we started to hear back from the fans that we understood our assignment, which was to motivate and inspire women. So for me as a DJ and being in my own lane is a pride that I have just to see what’s become of the women DJs now.
Do you remember that moment when you realized you really made it in music?
The ride itself has some really great highlights. We’ve performed for the likes of Frank Sinatra—before he passed we performed “Whatta Man” for him. The things that we’ve been a part of has always been like, “Wow, this is crazy!” The fans just loving on you makes you feel like you’ve made it. Also the Grammy [wins], the record sales and just the love. But what I’ll tell you today, for me it’s when I see little girls DJ. And they’re so nice on it—these girls are killing it! I’m just glad to be a light for them and their journey. It’s a beautiful feeling to know that I’ve been part of the thread.
Inside the Mixtape Museum. Photo courtesy of Angela Pham/BFA
Tying it back to Rémy Martin, the art of DJing shares similarities with the art of blending spirits. I do feel like the art of old-school DJing is being lost a bit. I’d love to know your thoughts on preserving it.
I believe that as long as I’m here, the art is not lost. I love the old-school foundation of DJing. I love the feel of vinyl. As long as I can continue to live and breathe, it isn’t lost. And the idea of passing it on to the next generation and having a museum like this is very important—it’s part of the preservation. I talk to my fellow DJs all the time about how we as turntable specialists can get lost in technology, but you have to keep that foundation in the forefront.
DJ Suss One. Photo courtesy of Angela Pham/BFA
Can you recall the first song or album that made you fall in love with hip-hop?
Oh yeah, I can’t stick to one but when I first heard BDP’s [rap group Boogie Down Productions comprised of KRS-One, D-Nice, and DJ Scott La Rock] Criminal Minded album. They were a game-changer. [Their 1987 song] “South Bronx”...that beat was so infectious. It was the James Brown vibe but gritty. Anything that has to do with old soul [songs] that are looped, I love. A Tribe Called Quest was my favorite. Even the producers back then, like Pete Rock and DJ Premier, helped changed the game for me. The feeling of music then was like no other and to see how it’s grown to what it is today is beautiful.
Rémy Martin VSOP Mixtape Volume 3 Limited Edition. Photo courtesy of Angela Pham/BFA