DJ Shor-T Hoping for OEAA Award
By Kyle Eustice
If you’ve ever listened to Hot 106.9 FM, then you’re most likely familiar with DJ Shor-T. The pint size (yes, it’s true) radio personality and DJ has been spitting out everyone’s favorite classic hip-hop tracks for nearly a decade. However, her love affair with hip-hop started at a very young age and has carried her into her 30s. That passion has never wavered, in fact, it’s stronger than ever. She recently teamed up with Brent Crampton and his House of Loom for monthly theme parties that are quickly becoming a main weekend attraction. Most recently, she helped celebrate the late Ol’ Dirty Bastard’s birthday and all things Wu-Tang with a huge party at House of Loom. It’s just getting better. Nominated for her fifth Omaha Entertainment Award in the Best DJ category, Shor-T is hoping for win. After all, it’s about time. Shor-T and DJ EBabbs kick of the OEAA Showcase at The Sydney Friday, November 21. Short-T had a few moments to talk hip-hop, vinyl and being a working mom.
Shout Weekly: When did you first fall in love with hip-hop and why?
Shor-T: I fell in love with hip-hop when I first heard the Beastie Boys’ Licensed to Ill tape when I was about 10-years-old. I listened to it from beginning to end over and over and over. I can’t tell you why. I just know it was unlike anything else I had heard and I was hooked.
What is your relationship with vinyl? And how has technology changed the art of turntablism?
Of course I had a record player when I was young, but for the most part I listened to tapes then CDs. I started DJing with CDs so that’s what I feel the most comfortable with and I feel like I’m best with. I get a lot of judgments and opinions from people because I use CDJs, but I’ve never tried to call myself a turntablist, so I don’t see what the problem is. Once those people see my passion for hip-hop I guess you could say they usually give me a pass. Who cares how I keep hip-hop alive, just as long as I’m keeping it alive, right? I did buy myself some Technics and I can and have used vinyl when I need to, but I prefer CDJs. I have the utmost respect for turntablists and love to watch and listen to them do their thing. I feel like the art of turntablism changes with the times and with technology. I don’t see it as a bad thing; it’s a natural progression. I think DJs should take it back to our roots occasionally and spin straight vinyl, no Serato or Traktor, just because! Respect the culture!
Tell me a little bit about how your career in DJing started.
When I was in college radio, I’d attempt to “mix” using the soundboard and when our college radio station would have parties, I’d kind of take over at the end of the night and play what everybody wanted to dance to. My first club gig was Monday and Tuesday nights at Club Patrick’s, thanks to my friend since middle school, Patrick himself!
How has your career evolved over the years?
I really started to learn how to DJ from watching, listening and learning from other DJs. Back in the Hot 107.7/97.3 days I had the best DJs in the city to learn from and give me advice. I have all of them to thank for getting me where I am today. I’m proud to be a Crowd Rocka DJ!
What are your favorite events you’ve ever done?
My favorite events are the theme parties I throw myself, most recently at House of Loom. Then I can really dive into a particular theme and research the music to fit that theme. That’s how I discover those gems that I may have either forgotten about or never even knew about. I love to learn about and discover music, even if it’s not new music.
How does working at 106.9 influence your style? How do you decide on the stuff you play for the Old School Lunch hour and does working for a radio station limit you as far as what you can play?
Working at Power 106.9 keeps me current, keeps me fresh, and keeps me young. The younger listeners would never know who I was if I wasn’t in their ears everyday. The Old School Power Lunch is by far my favorite thing to do, period. Many years of playing old school, requests and knowing my crowd (or in this case, listeners) is how I decide what to play everyday. My program director Hot Boy and I sit down and go through music routinely, as well. I try to stick to the “classics.” Just because a song is old doesn’t mean it’s a classic. I try to play the tracks that people will remember and even better, sparks a memory of a certain time in their life.
How can you take your career to the next level?
I had that on my mind when I moved to Denver in 2008. I wanted to see if I could do what I did here in another bigger city. I feel like I proved to myself that I could, just short of three years. Once I found out I was pregnant, I decided to move home and make being a mom my number one priority. Now I just do the things I want to do. I only say yes to the gigs that I feel like I’ll enjoy. I’m a very stable, happy person because of that.
You have a young son, ironically named DJ. How are you going to raise him in terms of music style? You got him listening to Wu-Tang yet?
DJ can listen to whatever he wants. I just really hope it’s not country [laughs]. Of course, when he’s in the car with me, I listen to hip-hop and when he’s in the car with my husband, he listens to ‘90s alternative rock. He has access to our iPad, which is loaded with many different types of music. I do get extra happy when his favorite tracks are hip-hop tracks, which is usually the case. His favorites are Jay Z and ScHoolboy Q, which are completely his choice. I taught him at a very young age to chant Wu-Tang, Wu-Tang, Wu-Tang with me because…it’s fun! And cute! And dope!
Where do yourself in five years? What’s next for DJ SHOR-T?
I would like my theme parties to become something that people look forward to, and be the events they “have to” go to. I’d love to start bringing national artists to Omaha as well. I feel like Omaha is heading in the right direction and has had some really great shows since I’ve been back. I’d like to see that continue and I’d like to contribute to that in some way. My good friends Mars Black and Jamazz and I have started talking about those goals recently, and how to get there. I guess you could call it, “thinking of a master plan”. 😉
If you could have dinner with any emcee or DJ in the world, who would it be?
Wow, so many names popped into my head just now. I think if I had to choose one, it would be Chuck D. He’s lived this hip-hop culture that I love so much, from the very beginning and continues living it today. I’m sure he has stories for days and I would sit with him for as long as he wanted to tell those stories!