Hip-Hop History Month: The Legacy of DJ Davy DMX

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The first time that I interviewed Davy DMX was 22 years ago, and I got off to a bad start as of the first question. He quickly corrected me after I referred to him as “a second generation Hip-Hop DJ”. He firmly responded that he was indeed a first generation Hip-Hop DJ, and he proceeded to give me a small piece of his great story.

Since my blunder two decades ago I’ve interviewed Dave at his home, acted as a consultant on his upcoming documentary, and dialed his phone many times to confirm information about breakbeats, his discography and to pick his brain about his band Orange Krush. What I’ve come to realize after many marathon-long talks with him is that David Reeves is perhaps one of music’s most versatile musicians, and definitely one of Hip-Hop’s most underrated DJ/producers. Many Hip-Hop fans first became familiar Davy DMX via his 1984 debut instrumental hit “One For The Treble”, but his story starts well before that single.

The man who has become a Queens icon was actually born in the Bronx and raised in Harlem. “I was looking at my birth certificate recently and saw that I was born at Lincoln Hospital, that’s in the Bronx,” he reveals. “I was raised in Harlem between 114 and 115 & Lexington Avenue, and I moved to Queens in 1970.” Dave absorbed the soulful sounds of r&b masters such as Isaac Hayes, The Isley Brothers, Sam Cooke, and The Commodores on 8 track while riding in the back of his father’s car as a kid. He later became a guitar player and played in church choirs and several bands before teaching himself bass. After seeing the late DJ Junebug at club 371, Dave was bitten by the Hip-Hop bug and began to explore collecting beats, DJing and scratching.

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