(Photo Credit: Sasha Frumin)
by Peter Walsh / @goinginsquad
The evolution of the DJ within music is one of the most fascinating aspects of the culture. With humble beginnings in the early stages of hip-hop to today’s rock star, Grammy Award winning status, the DJ has surprisingly reached iconic status and can be seen anywhere from worldwide tours to NBA arenas and everywhere in between.
While thousands of DJ’s have popped up thanks to the popularity of DJ technology and software, the Brooklyn-based Mick Boogie remains one of the best in the biz. Formerly the official DJ for the Cleveland Cavaliers, Boogie has become one of the most in-demand turntablists on the market and has been sought after by brands like adidas, EA Sports and legendary musicians like DJ Jazzy Jeff. In between jet setting and performing at countless venues, the “all-around nice guy” recently chopped it up with SLAMonline to discuss hoops (he’s as hype as anyone about the Brooklyn Nets), music, business and kicks.
SLAM: I was reading up earlier that you were able to break into the basketball world a little bit by becoming the Cavs official DJ. How did you get involved in that, and what was that whole experience like?
Mick Boogie: Wow, I haven’t talked about that in a long time…A long time ago, what year is it 2012? I moved to Brooklyn in 2008…probably ’04-’05, was when LeBron was really hot in Cleveland and I thought we needed to bring a DJ into the arena. At the time, I was one of the biggest in Cleveland so I went in there and sold them on why they should hire me and they did. It was a pretty cool thing. There weren’t too many teams with dee-jays at the time so it was fun to be a part of that when I was in Cleveland.
SLAM: That’s kind of a trend that’s taken off over the last few years. I know the Knicks have had guys like DJ Clue in there…Do you feel partially responsible for that movement?
MB: No, I don’t feel responsible for it at all. I was glad I was able to help put some wings under it. The thing about NBA dee-jays is it is a really good opportunity if you play your cards right and I was able to take that and boost my career in other ways. I feel like I left at the right time. Someone like DJ Irie (Miami Heat’s official DJ) has used that to help take his career to totally different areas. Some teams have dee-jays and you don’t even know because the marketing isn’t straight. If you’re clever about how you do it you can take that and use it as a launch pad for other things, which is what I did.
SLAM: You grew up in Cleveland, are you a lifelong Cavs fan?
MB: No, actually I’m a lifelong Celtics fan. I wasn’t a Cavs fan until dee-jayed for them for those few years. There was no real reason why I was a Celtics fan, I just was. I’m still a Cavs fan because I have a lot of friends in the organization. Now I’m a Nets fan because I’ve lived in Brooklyn for the last four years and I live right across from where they’re building the stadium. I’ve been going to a lot of Jersey games over the last few years and getting my loyalties split between the Cavs, Celtics and now the Nets.
SLAM: It seems like the new stadium is going to trump the Garden, which hurts to say as a Knicks fan. Do you think they’ll be able to draw?
MB: Absolutely. It’s hands down going to be the nicest arena in the league, maybe even the nicest arena in sports when it opens. From the stuff I’ve been able to see and from what people have told me within the Nets organization, it’s going to be an amazing venue. Not just for basketball but for entertainment in general, I can’t wait until it opens.
SLAM: After watching LeBron in Cleveland for those years, do you feel any type of favoritism towards him and do you think this is the year he can win it all?
MB: Let me start by saying that LeBron is a friend and he’s a good guy and I’ve known him, his friends and his family for a long time. I think that he was slaughtered wrongly by basketball fans, Cleveland fans and the press for what he did. All he did was make a decision to better his life, which is not very different than the decision I made to move to New York and anyone else who moved to a city with a chance to do more things.
He was vilified for it because he happens to be a basketball player and not a doctor or a lawyer going where they have the best chance to succeed. With that being said, the way he did it, that could have been handled better. But the thought process of what he did, when people vilify that, I think it’s just bullshit. All he did was try to better things for himself and his family. With that being said, he’s my favorite player in the NBA, I think this is going to be the year that they do win and I hope so because he really deserves a ring.
SLAM: I agree with you. For people to get all bent out of shape over someone else’s decision is just silly. At the end of the day, he’s a ball player and it’s a game, no one was physically harmed by his choice. For him to be classified as a traitor is stupid. It’s funny because you look at it now and all this stuff with Dwight Howard makes Lebron’s situation look tame by comparison.
MB: The Dwight Howard situation is the silliest, weirdest thing I’ve ever seen in the history of the NBA! Exactly what you said, it makes the LeBron stuff look so minuscule in comparison. This is a guy that actually played with his team’s fate the whole season, flip-flopped three times about it and it seems a little too convenient for him to get an injury now. That is a very interesting situation, I think people started to realize they were a little too hard on LeBron when they saw the Dwight thing play out.
SLAM: Oh yeah, definitely. I think the way LeBron has played this season, and the fact that he has owned up to making a mistake in the way he handled himself during the whole decision ordeal has been a maturation process . In the long run, it will only help him better himself as a person.
MB: It is what it is. You have to understand the context of everything. This is a man who not only wanted to win but also wanted to be in a city where stuff is going on, you know? I don’t see anything wrong with his decision at all and I’ve been a supporter since the beginning and I’m happy to be a supporter now.
SLAM: You mentioned that you were a Celtics fan most of your life, are there any players that you looked up to growing up?
MB: I loved Larry Bird growing up, I loved the ‘90s Celtics with Reggie Lewis before he passed away. I loved Dee Brown when he won the Dunk Contest. At the time, for someone on the Celtics to win the dunk contest was unheard of since the Celtics were always thought of as old and slow so that was an awesome moment. It’s been awesome to see the Big Three era and I’m hoping that they have one more run in them. I think if the Celtics and Heat face off, it will be the best series in the Playoffs.
SLAM: I was hoping that the Knicks would have slid into the six seed and played the Pacers first round. Historically–and obviously the Knicks-Heat have a tremendous amount of bad blood between them as well–that’s such an amazing series with Reggie and everything in the ‘90s so I thought it would have been fun to see again.
MB: It’s been so long since the Pacers have been this good. I was just in Indianapolis last month, and was talking to a kid who works for the Pacers and he was telling me that they’re so excited to have a good team again. They have worked so hard to build a team with character as well as talent and most teams don’t look to have both.But the Pacers kind of had to since they had to rebuild their whole image after that brawl. They’re really excited about them out in Indy.