By Matthew Bridge
Hip Hop Vibe Staff Writer
Independent artists in hip hop have had varied success over the past few years. One label credited for “doing it right” is SKE Records, which is the label owned by Q The Question and Trel Mack. Together, the two have built an impressive company and their music is unlike other music out.
Diversity is big with SKE Records, as they have DJ A-Yo on the roster, along with Adry Sawza. A recent addition to the roster is DJ Ali, someone who has been affiliated with SKE Records for years. But, they decided to turn the affiliation into much more.
Recently, Hip Hop Vibe caught up with DJ Ali and she opened up on her new experiences since she joined the label. The Philadelphia native now has a crew to run with and she is making the most of her time with her new team. During the interview, DJ Ali discussed how she has fit in with the label and what it’s like to have their support.
Read the entire interview below:
Recently, your new deal with SKE Records was announced, what made you choose to join this label? I recognized talent first, performing together was excellent, a lot of energy and I recognized that SKE are always working, building up the SKE Records Brand.
They embraced me as a part of the team from the very first performance but when I saw their work ethic, consistently working on new songs, music videos, video blogs, interviews. I knew SKE Records was the label I wanted to be apart of.
Prior to officially signing with SKE, you worked with Trel Mack, can you talk about this? I was networking with Philly artists online via social media and I was suggested to check out Trel Mack. I sent him a message saying if he ever needed a DJ for an event, hit me up. He said ” I do need a DJ, this Thursday at the Trocadero in Philly. Are you free?” I was. I talked on the phone with the team about their vision in incorporating a DJ into their show and all the details about the event. I hadn’t rehearsed or worked with them yet but we chilled before the show and when we went on, we all had so much energy in performing, I knew we would probably work together again soon.
Now that you’ve gotten your feet wet with the team, what is it like working with Trel Mack and Q The Question on a business level? SKE Is filled with talented performers but more than that, we have a shared vision for artist development and growth..Q The Question and Trel Mack have already gone hard on boosting my publicity and increasing my bookings, which has given me more time to mix and record.
It has relieved some of the stress I have put on myself to build my DJ business and now we are able to work together on building the success of all members (including me!). of SKE Records. I am able to bring to the table some of my experiences with performing and some resources and contacts I’ve gained in my network as a DJ.
Can you discuss your experiences from going out on the road with Trel Mack? I love performing with Trel Mack. He is very easy going but he is also very focused on improving his performance at his shows. Trel has turned to me during rehearsals and asked for my input on how to phrase song intros, which songs to play first and what I think will hype up the crowd more.
It’s great that they respect my experience as a DJ/MC, take into consideration my feedback and incoporate some of my suggestions into their performances. It is nice to travel with him also. He is a real gentleman that always offers to carry my DJ gear and makes sure I get to my car okay. I feel like Trel Mack and the guys of SKE look out for me like how my older brothers do.
Now that you are on a label, do you see yourself doing some DJ Khaled-type records? I admire DJ Khaled a lot. He is a great DJ but I want to put out DJ ALi type records. DJ Khaled, along with many other DJ’s do inspire me, but I have an original style of djin and I want to stay true to that in all of my mixes. If you meant DJ Khaled like next-level type mixes then Yes, I’m all in!
Do you feel that it’s necessary for DJs to be down with actual record labels, ala DJ Clue on Roc-A-Fella Records? No, I don’t think its necessary but I know first hand there is a lot a DJ needs to do every day to grow in success. For me, I always saw it was possible that I would join a record label down the line. In the last few years especially, as my DJ successes grew, I knew it was becoming neccesary to hire more staff and becoming part of a label seemed like a natural step forward. I wasn’t going to take any offer though. SKE has talent, similar goals and excellent work ethic which made SKE Records the perfect label for me to join.
As a minority in the overall hip hop community, do you feel any added pressure to hit the game hard? I recognize some people look at me as the minority but I embrace it. Its what makes my team unique. I don’t feel I have added pressure for that reason. I love hip-hop and feel I am as much apart of the community as everybody else.
Before becoming part of SKE, I was organizing and planning hip-hop shows for independent artists and asked to speak at national conferences about my opinions on the emerging hip-hop artists and the overall music industry. I do feel added pressure to hit the game hard since I am now part of a team, working for a record label but not as a minority.
I’m used to only working for myself, working to improve my image, marketing, booking, and improving as a DJ. Now, as part of the SKE team they have assisted me in marketing, publicity and booking which takes a lot of the stress off me and lets me focus on improving on DJ skills, performing and gives me more time to drop mixtapes. My mixtape with SKE coming soon!
Can you let the people know where they can find you on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram? Facebook.com/DJALIPHILLY, Twitter.com/DJALIPHILLY, Instagram.com/DJALIPHILLY, Instagram.com/HIPHOPESSENTIALSPHILLY. www.DJALIPHILLY.com
Follow Matthew Bridge on Twitter @dgfxla.