RIP DJ PRZM

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DJ PRZM passed away. He had a lifelong heart problem that finally got the best of him. P moved to Cali last year in hopes of getting a heart transplant.

PRZM was a crucial force in Columbus Hip Hop. He produced several songs on Def Jux including Camu Tao’s hit song “Hold the Floor”. Przm rapped and made beats Hip Hop group Spitball. In Columbus many people’s memories of P prolly center around the Fonoslut Hip Hop Night.

P was one of the least judgemental, most exciting,hella talented, and wildly fun people I have ever met in my life. Anyone involved in Columbus Hip Hop definitely learned a lot about Hip Hop and just life in general from being around him.

Here is his myspace.

After the break is an article about the Fonosluts Hip Hop Night that was in the Alive a few years ago.

The Rap Pack

Hip-hop heads enjoy five years of residency in Bernie’s basement

by Wes Flexner

For five years now Bernie’s, the campus-area deli/dive bar and rock club, has played host to an ongoing hip-hop house party that at times has been as anarchistic as the music. A typical Sunday night includes rappers exhaling plumes of smoke as well as rhymes, graffiti writers using slight of hand to reface the scenery, breakdancers contorting in rhythm, displays of liquor-inflamed libidos and the occasional fist fight–all while hardcore boom-bap beats blast from the speakers.

RJD2, the former Columbus resident and producer/deejay extraordinaire who’s star has been on the rise, says he has “played in every shitty bar in the country, and Bernie’s is the shittiest…because it’s the grimiest.”

Copywrite, the Columbus rapper who’s being courted by several major labels including Roc-a-Fella, agrees. He jokes, “Bernie’s is rather unique because it’s the only venue that I know where you can use the bathroom without leaving the stage!”

Many notable hip-hop acts–from local talent MHz, Lip the Early Riser, Illogic, Blueprint and Spitball to out-of-state acts like Cannibal Ox, Swollen Members, Breeze Evahflowin’, C-Rayz Walls, Thirsten Howl, Akrobatik and Josh Martinez–have enjoyed the debauchery at Bernie’s.

It is that griminess as well as a laissez faire attitude that’s made Bernie’s a mainstay on the punk rock circuit, and those same qualities have made it the ideal venue for hardcore hip-hop.

The weekly event started in the spring of 1999 when DJ Self talked club owner Tony Painter into letting him alternate Sundays with Bob Sfero, a house deejay. Eventually Bob quit and Self turned the night into a weekly hip-hop event. Self soon met DJ Przm at a party and invited him to start spinning with him on Sundays. When Self left town himself a few months later, Przm took over the night.

A Detroit native, Przm claims to have moved to Columbus because he heard, “They had girls here.” He stuck around once he saw that Columbus also had a burgeoning hip-hop scene and he clicked with several artists. He’s gone on to work as a producer for Columbus’ notorious misfits Spitball and assisted Camu Tao on his hip-hop mosh-pit anthem “Hold the Floor” as well as SA Smash’s debut album for the Def Jux label.

Upon taking over the night, Przm contacted DJ Lozone. Lozone claims it was because he was “the only person in Columbus that [Self] knew with turntables and a mixer.” Besides owning equipment, Lozone also was a respected deejay who had been in Columbus turntablist crew the Vibration Society and had competed several times at the notable hip-hop fest Scribble Jam and Columbus’ Hip-Hop Expo. In early 2000, Przm and Lozone added DJ Pos 2 and host So What?! and dubbed themselves the Fonosluts.

Those initial Sundays were sparsely attended, but over time the Fonosluts’ event became one of Bernie’s staples. It even helped raise $800 in one night when the club fell on hard times in 2001.

As hip-hop has exploded in popularity nationwide, the music and culture have been embraced by a wide array of people. Sunday nights at Bernie’s are no different.

“It is a mix of everything,” So What?! says. “Punk rockers, indie-rock scenesters, breakers, Asian girls, frat boys and sorority chicks, rappers, weird graffiti kids, dreads–every different type of sub-genre of society has walked through those doors on a Sunday. I love it.”

The social traffic jam sometimes results in conflict. But though the reckless energy has gotten out of hand on occasion in the past, there are fewer fights these days.

“There have been very few incidents that have involved law enforcement,” Painter says. “Two or two and a half years ago, when things had flared up, we started prepping our doormen and having a few people undercover watching things, and that helped.”

The night has also been marred by vandalism at times, mostly as a result of attracting graffiti writers. The Fonosluts had to pay $80 a week to clean up graffiti in the club for two months in early 2002. Przm eventually took matters into his own hands. “We threatened to beat up the graffiti writers by name. I would get on the mic and tell people that I was gonna whoop their ass,” he reveals.

For awhile the discord dampened attendance. Eventually, though, the chaotic magnetism brought people back into the fold. And more often these days conflict is resolved with rap battles instead of physical fights.

Unlike more organized battles, those at Bernie’s tend to be loose and spontaneous, or “street.” Metro (of SA Smash) says he enjoys the Bernie’s style because they “are more real, no time limits on the flow, just pure unadulterated wit battles. No judges. No crowd noise meters. The traditional battle is to claim the title ‘the illest.'”

Such battles are a point of pride–even more so when outsiders don’t show proper respect to the locals. When Bruce Wayne, a member of a Los Angeles crew called Gotham Asylum, dissed Columbus from Bernie’s stage, Blueprint (of Soul Position) quickly rose to the challenge. The bar was closing so the crowd of 100-plus filtered onto the sidewalk outside. Blueprint, Metro and Spitball member Bru Lei came out victorious, and the matter was settled without violence.

“They came to ‘Cowtown’ and got served,” So What?! recollects.

“Print came off,” Pos 2 adds. “But that’s just hip-hop, man. No beefs after that.”

Over the years, Sunday nights at Bernie’s have become so popular that other events can’t compete. Phife Dawg (of a Tribe Called Quest) once scheduled a show at Club 504 on a Sunday, but few showed up.

“Some cat that was at the event and was talking to Phife Dawg’s manager told him the spot to be at was Bernie’s,” Pos 2 recalls. “Well, the pack all came down to Bernie’s ’cause no one was at his show. Bernie’s was packed, and he did a couple of tracks and an a cappella. He was very impressed.”

This anything-can-happen spirit has remained at the heart of the night. “Music is secondary at Bernie’s,” RJD2 says. “People getting cracked over the heads with pool sticks, Copywrite rapping from the perspective of an Eve poster–these things make Bernie’s so great. Hip-hop is a big moneymaker, but only a club with a punk rock background that is used to lawlessness would be patient enough in order to earn a buck.”

That may be overstating it a bit. “We give them freedom to do what they want to do,” Painter says. “But the police can come down whenever they want–and we want them to–and will check in on them. It’s not a free-for-all.”

Still, Przm feels at home. “It’s like a big-ass house party,” he says. “People like to go where they can wh’all out.”

The Fonoslut crew will throw an anniversary party, on April 11 at Bernie’s, where Spitball will perform with J.U.I.C.E, a Chicago emcee who’s famous for defeating Eminem at Scribble Jam ’97.

1:50 AM – 4 Comments – 6 Kudos – Add Comment – Edit -

  • http://www.supastition.com Supastition

    That was my dude. It was a pleasure knowing, performing, and working with him. Rest in Peace PRZM!!!

  • http://www.yarisversusyaris.com matt

    RIP DJ PRZM

    i think it’s great people are remembering him and his contribution to the DJ community. focus on his life–his art/music, the people he affected– not his death.

    i think DJ PRZM would support new up-and-comers and a healthy DJ battle. Yaris VS Yaris (supported by Toyota) is hosting a DJ Battle Competition and they need fresh new faces to enter. if you got the mad hooks then bring your A game to the front of the line. Also, if you in the DC area, they’re having a competition at The Sphinx Club at the Almas Temple on June 21st. it’s slated for DJ Sixth Sense to mix and DJ Iran to host. Also Dice Raw of the Roots and Truck North are involved in the events too. i work with them so i’m trying to get the word out. so def check out http://www.yarisversusyaris.com for more info if you’re interested.

    remember the greats, and look to the future, right?

  • gcat

    Przm was my homie, he blessed so many people’s lives. no matter how hard life got for him he always had a smile on his face. he kept it real and kept beats fresh. i miss him like crazy. no one in this world like phresh…

    i miss him dearly

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