By: Brittney O.
Hip-Hopvibe.com Entertainment Editor
DJ Coop! What’s good? How are you today?
DJ Coop: Man, I’m good, out here detailing [cars] right now!
Brittney O: Always on the grind, I love it! You are a man that wears many hats. Which are you most proud of?
DJ Coop: I’d have to say my latest business. It’s a restaurant called The Chicken Coop here in Nashville, TN. It’s something that I get to learn about inside out. I’ve never done anything like this — I have my own club but I’ve never done a restaurant. When I first started out it was good because I was [the person] actually doing it but I had to go back to the drawing board and fix some things and make it A-1, ya feel me?
Brittney O: Is it something that you always wanted to do?
DJ Coop: Not really, it just happened! I have a club, a recording studio, and a mobile detailing company things like that – and my business partner has another property which I had plans to turn into another lounge. But opening a lounge isn’t a necessity. It’s something people want to do – not what they GOTTA do. People GOTTA eat, ya feel me? So I took from it there. I really don’t like naming stuff after me because it’s gotta be A-1. It’s YOU! He wanted to name it The Coop. We decided to name it The Chicken Coop instead and here we are now at location number 2 working on number 3.
Brittney O: I love it! I’m inspired already! Where did you acquire your business savvy? You go from one thing to the next like it’s nothing!
DJ Coop: Before my Grandma passed they had a cafe in Memphis and they had land and stuff like that. My Mom was in the medical field. It really just came from being a hustler – seeing my Mom struggle. I’m not trying to struggle at all. So I moved out when I was 17. I graduated a year early when I was in the 11th grade and was in the real world at 17 years old working multiple jobs. All at once. I always kept a job until I got into DJing. I got fired from a job 10 years ago and never looked back.
I just look at things like why give somebody else 40 hours of my time for them to tell me what I’m gonna be makin’? I don’t feel like I had to go to college for someone to tell me how to make some money. I know how to make some money!
Brittney O: Do you have mentors?
DJ Coop: I have people that I look at – not necessarily look up to. I have a few people that I learn from. I learn from other people’s mistakes rather than make my own. I look to Rocko (rapper), that’s one of my people. Snoop down in Atlanta he’s very entrepreneurial. A couple more people like my brother. My Momma. We’re all entrepreneurs with our own businesses so I don’t have mentors. I just feed off of others and incorporate into my own world.
Brittney O: What are some things that you learned during the pandemic that you were excited to apply in your life?
DJ Coop: Well, that’s actually when my mobile detailing company really kicked off! I’m always gone because I also tour with Lil’ Duval so it gave me the time to sit down and do some things that I really wanted to get done. I have a recording studio and different things going on so it really gave me the time to do exactly what I needed to do.
From the end of March until now we really stopped touring and everything just picked up when the world shut down. It was a blessing in disguise for me. My Mobile Detailing company picked up tremendously and I [finally] had time to do it. I have a service that people need. It was going but I couldn’t really promote it like I needed to because I was never around the truck, I had someone else over it. It really gave me time to do what I needed to do. Everything is good now!
Brittney O: Someone once said that ‘Excellence derives from small things done well consistently over a period of time.’ Do you agree with that?
DJ Coop: I do! I agree with that. I do a lot of stuff in a snowball effect.
Brittney O: What are some small things that you’ve done over time that results in all of your wins?
DJ Coop: The crazy thing about it is my company – my mobile detailing company “Real Coopish” – which was originally named for my music when I was mixing ten years ago because my last name is Cooper. I just changed it up. Everything really is just like you said.. Start small! I have a company called Slept on Music Group, which focuses on artist development and management; I manage DJ the Rapper— and the way I came up with that is I won an award called “Slept on DJ of the Year.” From there, I started doing ‘Slept on Mixes’ and came up with Slept on Music Group which was 2014. So six years later I’ve got my own Slept on Music studios — everything is ‘slept on’ for me! So yeah, I agree with that.
Brittney O: How do you know when it’s right to collaborate with different artists and businesses? I’m sure people are always reaching out to you!
DJ Coop: It’s really the vibe. When you have a kindred spirit — you just read people. If it makes sense, I’m with it. That’s how I look at it. Great example! I’ve got The Chicken Coop I have different entrepreneurs who make desserts, sauces, whatever!
I’ll buy your product wholesale and resale it so you now have a place to sale your products! I’ll promote it and you can promote that it’s in my restaurant!
Brittney O: I love it.. What are some things that you’d be interested in investing in?
DJ Coop: I think my next venture is probably gonna be either a printing company, a nail shop or a barber shop. I have a barbering license that I got when I was like 17 years old. I ain’t tryna cut no hair, but I’ll open a barbershop. I’ve been in conversations with someone about an idea to invest in too. It’s gotta make sense and make money. I really try to cut the middle man out of anything that I need. That’s my main thing, cut the middle man out… So a T-shirt printing company, or a nail spa.. something like that. That’s probably my next venture. And franchising these Chicken Coops!
Brittney O: Have you considered opening a business in Atlanta? Businesses are really thriving down there!
DJ Coop: Oh yeah! Everything in the 200 mile radius from Nashville I’m looking at. I’m the first black person in Nashville to have multiple businesses. Currently working on location number three. I should have four locations by January for sure.
Brittney O: Wait — but we won’t just brush by that lightly.. That’s huge what you just shared. The first black man in Nashville to have several businesses at once?!
DJ Coop: Yeah but that’s not something that I just flaunt or put in nobody head like that. But it’s a fact. A simple fact. I’m not a reactive person, I’m a proactive person. I’m gonna go ahead and get it rather than wait around for someone else to do it — I hate waiting on people.
Brittney O: YES! What’s something key that you’ve instilled in your children along the way as they’re growing up?
DJ Coop: Don’t depend on nobody. My oldest son is 12 – he’s producing music. He’s in a private school in Memphis. He wants to work at the restaurant. He wants to do it! So I let him do it! He doesn’t sit around an play the game all day, none of that. He’s into trying to make some money so I’m like okay. He knows how to play the piano, he knows how to play the bass, he knows how to play the drums so I’m like alright, I’m gonna give you these programs and show you how to make some money.
My other kids are younger, like 5, but for him right now is a thorough time for him to be around. I moved here to Nashville so he didn’t get to really grow up around me, but we speak all of the time. He’s really impressionable so I want to instill in him to really have some money, not just getting caught up in looking like you have it.
Brittney O: You’re a serial entrepreneur, which is a different level. What can you share with business owners that feel stuck at their level of business at this time?
DJ Coop: Take that risk. A lot of people are scared of taking that risk. That faith walk. I ain’t know none of this was gonna happen but anything I put my name on I feel is gonna be successful. And not get caught up in negative — if it’s wrong just fix it, you know what I mean? Make something out of it, that’s how I look at it.
Brittney O: I’d take that advice from a man that flourished during a pandemic! Turning to music now, tell us as a touring DJ, what are some things that you do to prepare mentally? I know there’s a lot of behind-the-scenes work.
DJ Coop: Well, I’ve been a touring DJ for several artists. My first touring gig was with Starlito and several others all the way now to Duval. I think the timing of it is everything. I enjoy it! I get to meet new people. I get to network and use my resources. I really just have to be there for the show. Duval he ain’t trippin’ [about what I’m doing] as long as I’m there for the show! Anything before or after that, if I want to do a meet & greet or throw a party he ain’t trippin. It’s a good experience. I would just say get your money. I know a lot of DJs that don’t get paid what they’re supposed to because a lot of them get caught up in the fame… I could’ve gotten caught up in the fame but I didn’t.
At one point I was the top DJ down here but not making any money worth nothin’! I put my foot down and for a whole year I didn’t let nobody book me. You have to remove yourself from it. Ya’ll gotta pay me to rent my club out now!
Brittney O: Wow! What is some advice that you could give young recording artists that are looking to be in the music industry full time?
DJ Coop: Follow your dreams but if you’re not gonna do it 100% then don’t do it. Don’t half ass anything. I got an artist that I’ve been working with for a year now, DJ the Rapper. The artist gotta want it. He just turned 17 and is still a kid. He’s getting it now.. but the past two years he had to learn that you have to do your part [as an artist]. A lot of artists aren’t fortunate enough to have a backing or an investor so it takes a lot longer and they’re waiting for that ‘big break.’
They try to rely on the internet but if you’re not making any noise within a 200 mile radius of where you at and you’re a rapper- and you’re not wanted for shows then what you really got going on?
Brittney O: What are some ways that you’ve reached back in your community with all that you’re doing?
DJ Coop: Recently I donated money to a young man that’s 7-year old and that has a business because I believe if you’re at that age already having your own business, that’s something that should be invested into. When I gave him the money I explained to him to go get your LLC and simple stuff like that. His parents may know this but didn’t necessarily have the funds to do it. Now they do!
I’ve done Block Parties, Back to School giveaways, me and my team and my artist, DJ the Rapper, are giving away like 25 laptops to less fortunate students soon. I just gave away like 500 wings at the skating ring during my grand opening and 200 bikes with one of my good friends Benny Cunningham, a former NFL player. I really don’t boast about things that I do. If I do it I just do it from the heart. I don’t post or brag about it. That just ain’t me.
Even with the businesses that I have, I mean, it’s eye-opening for a lot of people. I give people jobs! That’s another way I give back. Employing people. That’s a way of me giving back. If I start a business I’m going to need people to come work.
Brittney O: Who was DJ Coop in high school? Were you the class clown? An athlete? Were you in the band?
DJ Coop: I wasn’t a class clown but I had a smart mouth. I was smart. I graduated early because I skipped the 11th grade. I could play basketball. Any sport! But we weren’t stable because we moved around a lot so I wasn’t able to really be on a team like that. I was really a school dude though! I could make you laugh. The good part about moving around a lot is that you get to meet a lot of people, so a lot of people knew me from just being out here! I enjoyed it though. I was a cool dude. My brother was a little older than me so watching him get a job and then we started detailing cars, even way back then we were hustling. I enjoyed it!
Brittney O: What is a piece of advice that you’d like to leave from your personal journey, to your fans today?
DJ Coop: I’d just say Do It! I have a T-Shirt that says DOUBT and all of the words are scratched out until it reads DO. So we changing the narrative to DO. If you’re gonna do it then DO IT.
Change the narrative from Doubt to DO!
Brittney O: I’m gonna come cop one of those shirts!
DJ Coop: I’ll get your info from my Publicist Melody and send you one!
Brittney O: I appreciate that!! DJ Coop this interview was so inspiring! Thanks for taking the time out to chat with us here at Hip-HopVibe.com and we wish you more success!
DJ Coop: It’s all good! Thanks for having me! And when you come visit Nashville I’ll make sure you come get some of the best chicken you’ve ever had at The Chicken Coop!