Saturday, June 29, 2013

The Night I Got to DJ with Biz Markie

Last Thursday, June 27, 2013, marked the highlight of my entire adult life. For my one-year anniversary gift my husband gave me not jewelry, nor flowers, nor something lame, but he gave me the best gift ever: a two hour DJ session with BIZ MARKIE.

Yes, THAT Biz Markie, the guy whose 1989 classic "Just a Friend" I blasted on my Sony Walkman in middle school. The guy who wrote a song called "Pickin Boogers" and who is currently the coolest star on tour with the Yo Gabba Gabba! live show. The guy who was a beat boxing alien in Men in Black II. One of the greatest DJs/rappers/beatboxers/actors in history.

Biz back in the day

I've been a fan of Markie, and hip hop, since I was a kid in the '80s. I even wrote about him in an article about songs that influenced my love life. See, for years my secret dream was to be the first ever half white/half Korean female DJ to mix beats strictly with '90s hip hop music. So when my husband got me this Living Social deal I pretty much flipped my lid. I couldn't believe that I was actually going to DJ with the legendary Biz Markie, in an intimate session with a few other people, in Washington D.C. But I was, so I waited in anticipation for over two months.

When the night finally arrived, my husband and I took the metro from College Park, Maryland into the Gallery Place stop. The event started at 7:30 p.m., and we arrived around 6 p.m., so we decided to get some food. We first found the Living Social location a few blocks from the metro station, and then walked to a nearby pizza place. It was packed, and I didn't want to take the chance of arriving late to the DJ session, so we went to the next possible place to eat, Amorini Panini.

Biz with his friend
We walk in and guess who we see ordering a panini? Biz Markie! I kid you not! He's right at the counter, with a few members of his entourage, ordering food. I have never been that up close and personal to a celebrity before, so of course I was a bit star struck, but I also played it cool because I didn't want to be that  annoying fan. I made eye contact with the guys behind him, who obviously knew the same thing I did because they were smiling and texting profusely. When Biz walked away we all just chuckled.

After ordering our food we sat down a few tables from him and his crew. I sat with my back to them and couldn't look because I didn't want to make myself so obvious. I wanted to take a picture SO badly, but I refrained, and when my husband and I were done eating we casually got up and left. I still had a half hour until the session, so we walked around the corner to Hard Rock Cafe and I ordered a beer. I was still glowing and smiling from ear to ear, and couldn't believe I had actually been at a panini place with Biz Markie.

Around 7:10 p.m. my  husband walked me to the Living Social location and said he'd pick me up in
two hours. I walked in, showed my I.D., and was told to go to the fourth floor. This was a pretty swanky place, complete with several floors where concerts, cooking classes and of course, DJ lessons, took place through Living Social deals. When I walked into the room there were several tables set up with Stanton DJ mixers and headphones. And there was Biz and his crew, up at the front of the class, hanging out.

I took a seat toward the front and a guy sat down next to me. We talked about how awesome we thought this would be, and how we couldn't believe we were here. We both took a few pictures, and I even managed to get this video of Biz spinning while he waited for people to arrive:

When everyone finally arrived the Living Social MC did his thing and announced Biz and his DJ assistant. Biz was cool, funny and entertaining. He started with the basics of showing us how to use the equipment and program a song. We got to come up to his setup and watch him go between tracks, and then practice ourselves. We were shown how to rewind and scratch. He'd come around the class with his assistant and ask if we needed any help. Basically, he was an amazing, personable and great teacher.

At 9 p.m. Biz came around to each person, did a shoutout into our mics and then we got to take a picture with him! Here's mine:

My life = complete
He ended the class by playing "Just a Friend" and told us that he would be doing a scratch class next month. I mentally stored that in my head amongst the other happy thoughts that had popped into my head the last few hours.

My new hobby, courtesy of Biz
In the end, not only did I get up close and personal with Biz Markie twice in one night, but I also learned the basics of deejaying from a pro. I even got a take-home USB that included all of the mixes I did and Biz's shout out.

This was an amazing experience, and it only made me like Biz even more. He inspired me so much that two days later I went to Guitar Center and purchased a Numark Mixtrack Pro II to imitate his mixing skills.

I highly suggest that if you ever get a chance to see him, whether performing on stage or in a class, please do. He's definitely "got what you need, even if he is just a friend."

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