Growing up in suburban Washington D.C., DJ I-Dee (born Isaac DeLima) began his DJ career in the mid-nineties at the tender age
of 10, where I-Dee would sneak into his older brother’s room and practice scratching on his turntables while he was out of the house. With nothing but school, homework and video games, time was ample for the turntable prodigy to perfect his craft. In 2002, I-Dee was ready to make his transition from the bedroom to the live stage. Little did he know, a handful of extremely prestigious victories were right around the corner…
DJ I-Dee has carved out a name for himself in the world of scratch music and is within a small handful of turntablists who have left an impeccable record on the DJ battle circuit. In 2005-06, he conquered the battle scene by winning three of its most prestigious titles–the DMC Battle for US Supremacy, Scribble Jam and Roc Raida’s First Ever Gong DJ Battle –all within six months of each other and by the age of 19. With recognition accomplished, I-Dee was then able to elevate his career and perform his eclectic sets around the world in such places as England, Australia, Czech Republic, Ireland, Bulgaria, Ukraine, Brazil, Taiwan, and China.
With a battle career fulfilled and touring lifestyle engraved, I-Dee transplanted to Miami Beach, Florida and switched his focus on creating new music as a producer by using the skills he developed as a deejay. In 2008, I-Dee was already seasoned turntablist and on the heels of releasing his debut LP “Solitude” on the late Grand Master Roc Raida’s Adiar Cor Records.
“…just as B-boys are dancers, I-Dee reminds us that DJs are entertainers.” – DJ Q-Bert
Fast forward to 2011, I-Dee is back with his 2nd album of original material entitled “DJ’s Have Feelings Too… But Can’t Rap”. With his signature playboy hat on top and flip-flops below, the future still looks bright for the 23 year-old turntable funny-man.
“This is my 2nd album and the follow-up to my debut, Solitude (2008). This project marks my vocal debut at my attempt at rapping while trying to shed some insight into my personal life. All in comedic fashion of course. However, halfway through the album, it takes a more serious route focusing on drug addiction, thoughts of suicide, domestic violence and so on. There hasn’t been a DJ album that clearly gives the listener a precise assumption of what a DJ has or hasn’t gone through in their personal life both on and off the turntables. My goal is to show that we’re just as complex mentally just like any other singer or rapper, the only difference is that we speak with our hands.” – DJ I-Dee
How did you get your DJ name?
It’s pretty simple actually, my real name is Isaac DeLima so I just took my initials and added a hyphen + double e.
What are your musical influences?
I get my influence from practically everything in life. Sometimes it’ll strike me indirectly and strangely enough, it might not even be related to music. From a production standpoint, my source of inspiration comes from DJ Premier, DJ Shadow and John Williams, just for starters. I saw Tron: Legacy over the weekend in which the soundtrack was composed by Daft Punk and it totally inspired me to up my production even further from here on out. I’m very open-minded when it comes to both listening and composing music. My musical backbone as a DJ is rooted in Hip-Hop first and foremost though.
Your top 3 Djs of all time
in order I can’t put these guys in order but they’re all uniquely talented in their own right: Roc Raida (R.I.P.), Q-Bert & Craze.
Whats your take on hip hop right now?
Its garbage. Inside and out. The only legit music is found in the underground. I’m not even going to waste my time on this subject.
Where do you see it heading?
Heavy on the Electro tip. Everything will be 120 BPMs or higher. It’ll be interesting what the next cycle will bring after that but I still could care less.
Describe the feeling of winning the DMC Battle for US Supremacy, Scribble Jam and Roc Raida’s 1st Ever Gong DJ Battle
DMC Supremacy was probably the hardest battle for me during that specific period. I flew all the way to San Francisco and immediately after I won, I got kicked out of the venue, lol. I was the only competitor under 21 and the venue was extremely strict (Thanks DNA Lounge).
Scribble Jam was pretty fun because I went in already with a bad taste in my mouth from the previous year in which I felt the finals should’ve been myself vs. Skratch Bastid and not Spare Change vs. Bombay. Anyway, I was able to redeem myself and another thing that cats don’t know is that I’m pretty sure I’m the only person with two Scribble Jam champion trophies from two different categories (DJ battle & music video award).
The Gong Battle was the most prestigious though given the legendary judging panel that consisted of Grandwizard Theodore, DJ Scratch, Rob Swift, Spinbad and a whole list of others. I have to pay respect and honor to the late Grandmaster Roc Raida because it was through winning the Gong Battle that he put my life on a course where I was able to do something I love and cherish for a living. I’ll never forget that and will forever be in debt to him. On a side note, I’ve been fortunate enough for the past few months to be teaching one of his daughters Nyra, how to DJ at the Beat Refinery here in Washington, DC. It’s going to be a beautiful thing to see her carry the torch and blossom into an amazing turntablist over the years to come.
Will you be in any future DMC events?
As a competitor? Not anytime soon. I haven’t competed since 2006 and my main focus has been on production and a new live show. However, you’ll definitely see me judging and/or showcasing at DMC events within the states and abroad.
So you have this new project/album “DJs Have Feelings Too…But Can’t Rap”, what was the mindset going in on this album? concepts, etc… Well its an experiment, to say the least. I’m really curious at how the listener will reflect on the project. The first half of the album is funny, bizarre and mildly freakish. On the other half, its dead serious and focuses on some personal topics. Don’t skip a track though, its mean’t to be listened from beginning to end or else it might not make a lot of sense. The featured guests are uncanny though: Eli Porter, Wrekonize, Jean Grae, Oddisee and Seez Mics.
Is this project soley for Dj’s or hip hop hedz in general?
Its definitely for the hip-hop heads in general as a testament on behalf of all DJs worldwide who feel that their feelings or voice has been thrown under the rug. Also, I don’t think you have to be a lover of hip-hop to enjoy or rather understand what I was trying to transcribe emotionally into music.
What’s the future hold for the DJ?
Less skill intake, more technological advances.
What DJ gear do you use?
With help and thanks to my sponsors, I’m currently using a Rane TTM-57 mixer and a pair of Ortofon S-120 OM needles.
What’s next for DJ I-DEE?
World tour in the spring/summer of 2011. I’m working on a new live show with some pretty dope visuals and drummer. Should be sweet. Oh yeah, can’t forget the new album available March 15th, 2011 on iTunes & Amazon. I got a nice handful of music videos in the work so expect a single dropping soon. Google me bitch.