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In the world of hip-hop, mixtapes are the currency of the street, the vehicles that many underground artists use to create exposure and build their names outside the confines of major-label marketing campaigns. By creating a street-level buzz, such artists as 50 Cent have forced mainstream tastemakers to take notice. Conversely, mixtapes have also become a way for savvy majors to get the word out on emerging artists they're trying to break. Here in the Mile High, DJ Quote (aka Quentin Jones) is one of the most prolific DJs in the mixtape game (his work is available for download at www.djquotetv.com) — and with the introduction of his new DVD mixtape series (available for purchase at Independent Records), Quote has taken things to a whole new level.
We recently caught up with the DJ and asked about this latest move.
Westword: With nearly 300 mixtapes under your belt, it's safe to say that you've pretty much cornered the market in that aspect. What inspired you to step up your game with the introduction of DVD mixtapes?
DJ Quote: Honestly, mixtape DJs are pretty easy to find these days. Though I've put a lot of time and effort into making my mixtapes the best, I felt that it was time to use technology to accelerate my business. In today's world, with all the computer software and downloads, anybody can mash together a bunch of music, call it a mixtape and be considered a DJ. Video screens are everywhere — on our desks, in our pockets, in our cars — and that's where I want my video mixtapes to be. I've been doing mixtapes for over five years. It felt like it was time to enter a new area, to bring new energy into my work. Unless you're the lead dog, the view is always the same. By the time you read this sentence, DVD 4 will be on the streets.
How big of an impact have the mixtapes had in terms of getting your name out there?
Mixtapes have been my primary tool in "branding" myself. I've given away thousands of them. They're my audio business card. You can download mixtapes for free. If someone knows I'm going to be in their city, they can hear a mixtape ahead of time to know that they'll want to pay to hear me live.
How does a DVD mixtape differ from a traditional mixtape?
If you're familiar with audio mixtapes, you know that a smooth transition from one song to the next is a skill worth showing off. The idea is the same with videos, to move smoothly from one video into the next, but it's just a little trickier. Video also allows me to interview my hosts, the same way I did with audio mixtapes, only better. In this day and age, you can get a host to drop a few sentences in an e-mail. Can't do that as easily with video. I actually have to interview my hosts.
What's your vision for the DVDs?
I want them to be in more places than my CDs have been. I'm able to share my hosts and myself in ways that I haven't been able to do before. My online videos have been very popular. DVDs let me put that and more in mobile settings. Vision is my vision.
Visit blogs.westword.com/backbeat/qa for more of our interview with DJ Quote.