The creative landscape is changing. Technologies like Pro Tools, the iPod, and peer-to-peer networks have become mainstream in the digital age, creating a wild frontier of sorts in music. Independent artists can reach mass audiences once forbidden to them. These technologies are fostering the rise of “semiotic democracy”—where more and more people are no longer passive consumers of mass media, but active participants in creating culture. Cops vs Lawyers, Issue 3

الأحد، تشرين الأول ١٠، ٢٠٠٤

Pam the Funkstress

By Bella Bakrania

The opportunity to go record shopping with Pam the Funkstress, the deejay for The Coup, was too good to pass up. I’ve seen her rock many parties, mix with her hands deftly racing, even mix with her chest!

Bella: What do you look for first when you get to a record shop?
Pam: I look for the old stuff.  There’s nothing new that’s really catching my eye. But I like Lean Back, the new Black Rob, the new Mobb Deep, and the new Jadakiss.

How often do you check the stacks?
About 3-4 times a month. But there’s nothing really that I don’t already have.  I buy more 12” and lay off the mix records. Sometimes I’ll get a mix record for a specific track I can’t get on a 12”, and it can be a good deal at 7 tracks for $10.99. But you can’t beat having the instrumentals.

What do you do once you get home with the records?
Everything’s in my garage. You know (she smiles wide and takes a fake puff on a fake joint) I smoke, pull the records out, start playing and get into it.  Sometimes I mark them up, I only wanna keep the records I’m gonna play at least four times.  I got a lot of records. But, a lot of my records got got.
Yeah. Me too, I’ve had records stolen at gigs, it’s painful.

Have you heard the new Roots?
Yeah it’s good.
Y’know, sometimes, I’m like, do I really want that?  But then sometimes, when I’m in a club, I wanna hear it, so I get it.  I am stingy on records.  There are certain things I should buy, but if I don’t like it, I don’t wanna play it.

What’s one of those club requests you don’t like?
“Slow Motion For Me”. What crap. I hate that song. It’s garbage. 

[She fires though the comp stacks and makes note of some more whack tunes, warning me.]
Like why did they do a love song on that hardcore Biggie beat? What were they thinking?

What’s your dj style all about?
When I play in clubs, I want people to dance. You can’t play slow stuff at midnight, but maybe at 9pm. Ooh – [pointing to “Hyphy”] you got this? You gotta have this!

[I take note of the many records with hoochie-lookin women on the covers, with Playboy style tease poses.]

So Pam, what do you make of this, the way wax is marketed to deejays as if they’re all men, with the girlie photos and all?
Girls don’t put out records [as much], that’s why it’s like this.

Are you planning on putting anything out?
I’ve got two mixes, one is an all Bay Area mix, it’s the knock! It’s like slammin! It’s got Mobb, Cellie Cell, RBL Posse. Apollo is working on my cover art.  For the cover I want a lady’s hand with dj needles as her fingernails and “Pam the Funkstress” written on it. Just an idea.

Have you been doing radio?
I did AOL live with Davey D and KMEL with Alex Mejia.

What gigs are you playing right now?
Some Saturdays I play Strawberry at the Endup in SF, it’s Toph One’s party. You can play anything. People get down. I can play Mack 10 there and they love it. 

I heard you manage a small business also?
Yeah—I run a catering business and I’m still doin it. It has been good. God has blessed me! I do weddings, and in the summertime I am really busy. For three months straight—it was bad timing this summer. I deejayed and catered a wedding in August and it was tiring.

Have you been interviewed a lot?
I was on 92.7FM recently. But me, I’m not gonna go whining after anyone. I’m not into going after the press thing, if they want to talk to me, they come to me.

So what are the tracks you always gotta play?
Snoop-”Bitch Please” and “Upside Your Head”
Tribe Called Quest-anything.
Lil Buck-old stuff.
EPMD-”You Gots to Chill
That’s me.

...But truly, having the records is only half the game, the other half is all about your skills. Pam’s straight-up style while talking is refreshing, cuz she doesn’t play up the fact that she has amazing skills, and pulls off deejay tricks that leave guys with their mouths hanging and their eyes envious (literally, I’ve seen it).  I thank her and SHOUT! for the fun field trip to the store and set out home with my own little stack to do what Pam says – pull em out, play em, and get into it, prepping for the next party to rock.