Updated: Oct 3, 2019
Born in Cincinnati, raised in Va Beach. Ruckusthedj has always been around music. His father played Bob James, Crusaders, Earth Wind & Fire, Hubert Laws just to give him an early appreciation to music. In 1999 Ruckus managed to scrape up enough money to invest in his own equipment, but the grind didn't stop.
In 2001, Ruckus attended NSU and started dj'ing on campus as well as college radio WNSB and interned at heritage station WOWI in Norfolk, VA in 2005. After graduation, Ruckus worked at WWHV Hot 102. Wanting to try something different Ruckus went left field and decided to make an R&B show for Fresh Radio.
With the market being saturated in Hampton Roads in 2010, Ruckus relocated to a smaller market to pursue new radio interests. The road wasn't easy, but a club promoter told the PD of WZFX Foxy 99.1 about Ruckusthedj. In an Live On-Air audition Ruckusthedj was thrown to the thrusted into the limelight and has been shining 5 years strong.
Outside of djing Ruckusthedj is Operation Prom Fayetteville NC's Chapter President. Operation Prom is a non-profit organization that donates new or gently used prom attire to students who aren't able to purchase or rent outfits. Also, while he's not serving his Fayetteville community he's teaching Culinary Arts at Bragg Street Academy for Lee County Schools in Sanford.
Catch Ruckusthedj Mon thru Thurs 10p-11p for the Blackout Mix and Saturdays' on The Sat Nite Spin Cycle.
Check out interview:
Before I began this interview talking about your dj career. Let's chop it up about your second career as a Culinary Arts Instructor, at Bragg Street Academy for Lee County Schools in Sanford. How did that all come about and is it something we will see more of?
RUCKUS: Growing up I always wanted to be a better cook than my father. He’s the type of cook that could make Thanksgiving soup out of leftovers. I feel it is something people will see more of it. I’m just planning on the perfect time to unveil it.
That must be a southern thing, because my relatives does the samething every time... Okay! Now to the basics... What was your first ever hip hop record you ever played?
RUCKUS: Wow!! I have to think about that one there. The first hip-hop record (vinyl) that I remember ever playing would be Gangstarr’s “Dwyck”.. My mentor had me blend that song with O.D.B.’s “Shimmy Shimmy Ya”.
Great selection! One of my favs.... Where do you feel the direction of Hip-Hop is headed?
RUCKUS: I think hip-hop is slowly making a resurgence. The public and die hard “Golden Era” fans want to hear more J Cole’s, Nick Grant’s, Dave East’s and Kendrick Lamar’s on the mic. The lyrical skill is where it’s heading back to, but it’ll take time for radio to catch on.
Possibly! How much do you pay attention to what's going on in the present, as far as hip hop music and general trends?
RUCKUS: Being that I work in radio I always pay attention to the present in rap music. In order to remain relevant in radio you have to know the direction music is going (whether you like it or not). Some trends are just fads, but the trendsetter’s will always stand the test of time.
What’s you favorite track / record / album / mix set of all time?
RUCKUS: My favorite track to scratch and cut would be Common’s “Dooin It” from Like Water for Chocolate.
Let's fall all the way back to the beginning... For our readers who’ve never heard of DJ Ruckus, tell us who is DJ Ruckus and who or what inspired you to chase the dream?
RUCKUS: Ruckus is an acronym - Redefining Undeniable Convincing Kinds of Unique Sounds. I never chose music, music chose me. My father always played Jazz and R&B albums on his record player. Plus, my uncle plays the bass guitar. I grew up in performing arts and played the Alto & Baritone saxophone. DJ’ing was the next in my level of progression. The culture and newness of Hip-Hop in Virginia and it’s impact on the industry gave me the drive to chase the dream
That's a unique acronym...You started in radio back in 2005 at WWHV Hot 102 in Virginia Beach. You are currently a radio host on the Blackout Mix on Foxy 99.1. Tell us how your radio career began and some of the challenges?
DJRUCKUS: My radio career started back at my alma mater “Norfolk State University” I worked on WNSB on Friday’s Nights. My career started from other dj’s respecting my craft and inviting me to audition at various stations. One of the many challenges are convincing artists that rapping may not be for them, but you do have a knack for something in the industry. Artists fail to realize that just because I’m on a station doesn’t mean I have to play your song. Everyone has someone they have to answer to. It’s very rare that I hear a record that makes sense and I play because I believe in the record, but when I do I support it.
I think that's the misconception about radio jocks that they control what's being heard on radio. As they really don't have the freedom to make that decision, but on the other hand sometimes they do to a certain degree.... What was the first event you ever played at or put on?
RUCKUS: One of my most memorable events would be an event for a Scion dealership. It was the ability to obtain that event that birthed my aka “Corporate Money” and I’ve been blessed to DJ for DTLR, Victoria Secret and other dept stores that are no longer in business.
What do you think about digital DJ setups like Serato, Traktor, Ableton? Do you use them?
RUCKUS: I currently use Serato.. I definitely want to get more familiar with Ableton.
Outside of djing you are also Fayetteville’s Chapter President for the Operation Prom a non-profit organization. Explain what this is?
RUCKUS: Established in 2005, Operation PROM is a national 501 c 3 nonprofit organization that helps low-income students attend their Proms by providing free Prom dresses and tuxedos. Operation PROM provides resources, opportunity and mentoring to at-risk teens, those who are homeless, sick, or disabled.
That is definitely something great to be apart of and the impact your organization will bring to many young folks in your area.... What do you personally consider to be the incisive moments in your artistic career?
RUCKUS: When I decided to leave my comfort zone to try radio in a different market. I learned quite a bit about myself within these years.
Off the topic of everything, how much attention did you give the current presidential elections? What are your thoughts about the president elect?
RUCKUS: I pay attention to what’s going on to find out how it could affect me in the future. The president elect is a topic I won’t touch on. No matter how I feel, it won’t change what he wants to implement.
Missy Elliott just dropped a new single “I’m Better” on social media. Reviewing some of the comments, she’s getting a lot of negative feedback from her core fans. People are saying the sound is similar to the southern rappers out today. What’s your take on that?
RUCKUS: Being raised in Va, I feel I’m slightly biased to this question.. (He laughs) Missy’s core fans know that she has various styles’ of rap and one song doesn’t make or brake her. Missy’s video is clever and trailblazing and she’ll be fine.
True! At least we can understand the lyrics... What do you think about MC's and their role in the hip hop music culture?
RUCKUS: I think that MC’s should know that their voice affects people. If they don’t like it, they should’ve picked a better profession. I see how their voice affects the kids everyday in the classroom. The kids feel that their lyrics are the gospel, but behind closed doors rappers are great storytellers
So true! Old School or New School?
RUCKUS: Are we speaking on lyrics or beats?
RUCKUS: For lyrics, I would say old school and For beats new school.
Beats?? Really!!! They all sound alike, no originality.... What's one thing you would change about the current local music scene?
RUCKUS: More unity and less “crabs in the bucket mentality”.
We as people have a long way to go to make a change.... Who are your artists to watch’ at the moment?
RUCKUS: I think Russ is going to be here for a minute.. Money Man has a strong following and Da Baby out of Charlotte has a crazy buzz and humble way about himself.
If you had the chance to share the stage with a legend DJ/or Artist, who would that be and why?
RUCKUS: It would have to be Jazzy Jeff. Jeff’s transitions have always been spot on and he knows how to control a crowd by talking with his hands.
Great choice! What’s next for DJ Ruckus?
RUCKUS: Overseas maybe..or even the left coast. You’ll have to stay tuned in for the next great adventure