Exclusive Interview | DJ Kan-i

DJ Kan-i is known in the Hip-Hop community not just due to his accolades, but also because of his efforts to promote the art of ‘Turntablism’ and the passion he has for the art-form. He is often referred to as one of the DJ’s who pioneered the scene for all future Hip-Hop DJ’s in India, and that is no small feat.

He is THE DJ who introduced Video Turntablism to India, you have to be supremely talented to be selected among hundreds of DJs from around the world to participate live at the Video DJ Battle conducted at the 2nd Annual Video DJ Conference, Las Vegas. Kan-I was that DJ in 2012.

DJ Vice, DJ Mister E, Dj Joshua Carl & Mike May are among the top Hollywood DJ’s who gave DJ Kan-i a shout out, and he also got the same by the Head of Rane (largest DJ Hardware Company). No wonder he is now looked upon as a mentor figure for Hip-Hop DJ’s throughout India. Kan-i is also the founder of India’s longest running hip-hop club night called ‘Hip Hop Ryde’

He has played all across the globe at some of the the best venues in not only Indian cities like Mumbai, Bengaluru, Hyderabad, Chennai, Pune but also throughout the world, New York, Los Angeles, Dubai and Bangkok to name a few. He has opened for International artists like Grammy award-winning Chamillionaire (VH1 Hip- hop Hustle) Wyclef Jean, Kardinal Offishall, Apache Indian, Jay Sean & Raghav. If that is not an impressive resume then I don’t know what is.

Other than opening for such gigantic acts, he has had his share of some killer collaboration, some of his memorable ones with DJ’s such as DJ Spinbad (Official DJ for Russel Peter), DJ Doc (Official DJ of Kardinal Offishall), DJ Jam (Official DJ of Snoop Dogg, Dr.Dre), DJ Ta-Shi (Japan’s #1 DJ), DJ Whoo Kid (Official DJ of 50 Cent & G-Unit), DJ Mark Da Spot (Official DJ of Justin Timberlake) and these are just some of the names, the list goes on and on!

He has been in the industry for more than a decade and has plenty of awards, which include winning Best Hip Hop DJ in India for a massive total of 4 times!

I consider myself lucky to actually have had a conversation with him. This is how it went :

Slyck: When did you first realize that you were interested in being the man behind the console ?

DJ Kan-i: The day or should I say the night when I saw DJ Ivan perform at Treasure Island in Hyderabad, the way he was controlling the crowd with his Music & Spinning real Vinyls (Records) back in 98. Thats when I decided that i want to be that person.

Slyck: Who were your influences early on when you started playing live ?

DJ Kan-i:  Always been influenced by DJ’s like DJ Jam Master Jay, Dj Jazzy Jeff, DJ Premier, DJ AM, DJ Z-trip, Dj Mixmaster Mike to name the few.

Slyck: Among the various awards you received, which one is the closest to you ?

DJ Kan-i: My First Jury Panel Award given to me by My Fav Awards, for Best Hip Hop DJ, and was chosen by some of the most senior Dj’s of the country. For me its all about earning respect in front of your elders, like they always say “Live for Respect, Die for Respect”.

Slyck: What do you think about the art of turntablism spreading to all parts of the country ?

DJ Kan-i: When I started there where hardly anyone doing turntablism back in late 90’s & early 2000, but now I see a lot of young Dj’s getting into it, which makes me proud of my struggle to keep turntables alive in India and thank god that it has not gone to waste.

Slyck: What do you think about Desi Hip-Hop ? Would you like to mention some of your favorite acts ?

DJ Kan-i: I am so happy to see the way Desi Hip Hop has become so big in India, especially artists like Divine and Gully Gang who have a sold out show’s, and have impacted the younger generation.

Slyck: What motivated you start your project Hip-Hop Ryde ?

DJ Kan-i: This started back in 2004-05 when no one really accepted Hip Hop music in the club’s but looking at my passion towards the genre the club owner of ‘Bottles & Chimney’ decided to dedicate Thursday nights to Hip Hop, as it was a midweek, and business wise it was a slow night but then I started calling my friends for my Thursday nights… I had to bribe them with a Beer, which came to my club owners notice, so he decided to give free drinks for the ladies who came for that night, which was the birth of ladies night in my city. With in 2 year it’s became the most happening night in Hyderabad and that’s when I came up with a name for the night and I decided on the name ‘HIP HOP RYDE’ which has now completed 10 years straight..

Slyck: When will we be having the next Hip-Hop Ryde ?

DJ Kan-i: Just did my first Hip Hop Ryde club night outside of Hyderabad at Roxy (Kolkata) & Oko (Bangalore), Next stop 1 GST (Chennai) on the 25th Feb.

Slyck: Any advice you would like to other artists trying to follow your path ?

DJ Kan-i: All I can say is stay true to he game, keep practicing, always be a student & stay humble.

Slyck: Any message for fans and followers ??

DJ Kan-i: I would like to thank everyone who has been part of my journey all these years, and making me who I am today, would never let you all down. Thank you for all the love & support.

You can follow DJ Kan-i on Facebook here, we highly recommend it.