DJ Jab Logo DJ Jab DJ Jab · Hip Hop & Rap DJ from Berlin, Germany

DJ Jab

Hip Hop Mixtapes

Digger's Paradise

About

DJ Jab · Hip Hop & Rap DJ from Berlin, Germany

In the 90’s, I got inspired to become a DJ by the Hip Hop radio shows of DJ Stretch Armstrong and Bobbito the barber on New York University’s college radio station WNYU-FM (United States of America), by the The Dutch Masters radio show Villa65 on Radio 3 hosted by Mental Case, 2Tall & DJ Knowhow (Netherlands), the Def Beats show with DJ Inspector G and the Rapper’s Paradise show with DJ Groove, both on Jam FM (Germany).

The radio aspect of “putting on a show” still heavily influences my mixing and productions until today.

Voice Over artist, Tobi in 2001.
Voice Over artist, Tobi in 2001.

I started playing under the name DJ Jab in 2000, mixing boom bap Hip Hop at private parties, small night clubs in Hamburg, Germany and on cassette tapes which were spread among friends and family.

Around 2001, at a private party, I was introduced to Tobi, who is a friend of a friend. Tobi later went on to become a professional Voice Over artist for advertisements and movies.

DJ Jab - Rote Laterne, 2002
DJ Jab - Rote Laterne, 2002

In 2016, right before a concert, I asked Tobi to spit out some variations of “DJ Jab” for me. We recorded outdoors, in front of the concert hall on my cellphone. One of the variations became my sound logo, which I have been using since then.

In 2002 I had my first monthly Saturday Night gig at Rote Laterne, St. Pauli, Hamburg, Germany. At the same time I released the Party Up In Here and The City Never Sleeps cassette mixtapes and could be heard on the Jam FM Def Beats show.

DJ Jab & DJ Vlader, 2003
DJ Jab & DJ Vlader, 2003

It was also in 2002 when I met DJ Vlader during a gig at Große Freiheit 36, Hamburg, Germany. We became friends and he dragged me through Northern Germany’s night clubs as a support DJ for some years. Thanks Bro!

About the same year, I started a social network for DJ’s on the World Wide Web: Jabz 100, a toplist network connecting several hundreds of DJs who were releasing underground DJ Remixes of popular songs. Jabz 100 had several thousand visitors a day and was part of the Roc-A-Fella Records Street Team in Germany. Crazy times.

DJ Jab hosting the Blaque Joints radio show, 2004
DJ Jab hosting the Blaque Joints radio show, 2004

In 2003, I released the Charismatic Rap CD mixtape, which got airplay on Beatbasement. The same year I put out the Streets sampler, a collection of recorded freestyle sessions and music by fellow rappers and DJs. Despite a very small edition of only 50 pieces, the release caused a lot of trouble. Buyers often assumed they would get a production from UK rapper The Streets. D’uh!

Later in 2003, I started hosting the Blaque Joints weekly web radio show (120 Minutes of Funk) on blackbeatclub.com, playing Hip Hop, R&B and Party breaks on Friday nights to warm up the crowd. Luckily the show was prerecorded, so I could also do gigs on Fridays in parallel. It was a great experience and opportunity that would not have been possible without the Jabz 100 website. Thanks and shout outs to Dejan Bosic a.k.a. Realmaster D.

Samofant during the recording of the Weekend EP in summer 2003
Samofant during the recording of the Weekend EP in summer 2003

During of my gigs at Rote Laterne, I had met Samofant, who introduced me to producing and actually making music instead of just DJing. Samo had great insights in how to make things sound funky and groovy.

In early 2004, we released the vinyl record Weekend, which was recorded over the year 2003. After we delivered to some record stores, the record found its way to the radio. It got airplay on the Soundfiles Hip Hop radio show with DJ Mad on NDR and on DJ Beware’s Tribe Vibes radio show on Austrias ORF FM4 station.

Samofant & Jab during the cover shooting for the Weekend EP.
Samofant & Jab during the cover shooting for the Weekend EP.

Both radio appearances triggered record sales and DJ gigs in a plathea of nightclubs in Berlin, Hamburg, Lüneburg, Kiel, Bremerhaven and other cities in Northern Germany. Too many to name, I cannot remember. That’s when I finally had to cancel my initial Saturday Night gig at Rote Laterne. DJing was quite intense for quite some time.

In 2005 I decided to take a creative pause. I felt empty. Mixing at night clubs didn’t cater my 1st love: Listening to and playing really good music. I also felt uninspired by the idea of releasing another record. I have “been there and done that”, several times. I was ready to move on.

Erick Sermon & DJ Jab in 2013.
Erick Sermon & DJ Jab in 2013.

During the following years, I cleaned up my record collection. I was trying to find again my own style and personal taste in Hip Hop / Rap music. Playing at night clubs made me numb for the actual art. DJ Vlader still got my complete vinyl collection from that time. I gave everything away.

In the following years I got back to digging and collecting. Hip Hop, Jazz, Soul, and Folk music from all parts of the world. I occasionally compile some nuggets and publish them in a show, called Digger’s Paradise.

In recent years I was lucky enough to have the opportunity to play alongside some of the artists which I really like a lot and I enjoyed connecting with them. I finally had the time again to go to concerts, discuss music with friends, investigate producers, rappers, checkout remixes, bootlegs, etc. and not mainly take what I was sampled with by labels and dealers.

DJ Jab during MacGuffin cover shooting in summer 2020.
DJ Jab during MacGuffin cover shooting in summer 2020.

The freedom and the creative wild growth of my music collection gave me my mojo back. I became a fan again and was no longer a player. That felt liberating.

Since 2017 I am releasing Hip Hop mixtapes again and am appearing on radio stations left and right. I love and enjoy the music and am happy to be able to focus on my day job and having DJing just as a hobby on the side instead of it being my main source of income. 2020 marks my 20th anniversary as DJ Jab and it never felt better to be DJ Jab.

These days I solely release music on Mixcloud. Mixcloud pays the artists for plays and I can play whatever I want. A win-win situation. What’s not to love?

Shout-outs

Love and respect to Joseph Abajian, founder of Fat Beats, who also goes by the name DJ Jab and probably uses it longer than me.

Peace and love to Sheraz and Les Tristes Cannibalistes for being a source of inspiration.