Interview “Dedicated” DJ 3RD RAIL
Nahila S – When did you start DJing and what or who were your early influences?
DJ 3RD RAIL – I started collecting records in 1981 and trying to DJ. My cousin was one of the first influences and hearing DJ’s late at night on the radio in Chicago. Later it would be two guys Gabriel Rican Rodriguez and Devastating Dennis.
Nahila S – Where does the name Dj 3rd Rail come from?
DJ 3RD RAIL – DJ 3rd Rail comes being a Guardian Angel. It is my code name for the last 27 years and since we ride the train and the subway it fit perfectly. The trains in NYC and Chicago and other cities around the world connected back in the days and even now.
Nahila S – You are a Dj and a record collector about how many vinyls do you have?
DJ 3RD RAIL – I have a lot of records and have never sat down to even think how many I have. I have shelves, crates, boxes and stacks. I’m still missing a bunch more and shop sometimes weekly so if we gave you a number today, by the end of the month is would be higher.
Nahila S – How and when did Dedicated the Hip Hop vinyl Mixshow was born?
DJ 3RD RAIL – Dedicated hip hop mixshow started in the mid 90’s on Chicago’s WNUR Northwestern college 7200 watt radio station. It was originally called “6ft Unda” hosted by Vaughn C. After the 911 terrorist attacks on America in 2001 we felt the name “6ft Unda” did not fit. So we brainstormed for 2-3 weeks to think of a name that honored those who lost their life that day and the weeks, months and years to come. Also a name that fit our show, so we came up with “Dedicated”.
Nahila S – The mixshow lasts 5 hours, how do you prepare for a set?
DJ 3RD RAIL – 5 hours is a long time to DJ so many times we try to get a half crate filled and than as the show is playing we’ll think of songs that would sound good with the ones we are playing and than just grab those songs and mixed them together. Once in a while we will do a specialty show. Maybe an artist, producer, label, group, or theme and we gather those records together and just mix one after another for 5 hours. It takes several hours or sometimes days to put shows together but we wouldn’t have it any other way. We play new, old, rare, remixes and mix them together.
Nahila S – Dedicated’s audience is worldwide, how does it influences your musical choices (if it does)?
DJ 3RD RAIL – Our audience is globally because we have been doing radio for almost 24 years. We have done over 50 different mixtapes (cassette’s and CD’s) that have been sold globally. We have traveled the world and have purchased hip hop records in different languages. People have followed us before the internet, but since the internet we have been one of the first to have a presence. People can count on us and the respect has been earned for the thousands of radio shows we have done. We mix great hip hop on vinyl regardless of language barriers.
Nahila S – The Dedicated HH Mixshow is every week on Sunday starting at midnight till Monday 5 am and still your fans either do not sleep to tun in or wake up early in the morning. How do you explain such a success? What makes Dedicated so different from the other mixshows?
DJ 3RD RAIL – The name Dedicated means we and our fans are dedicated. People stay up late, get up early all over the world to listen to us. We have earned that reputation. We mix new records, classics, rare limited pressings, remixes for 5 hours. No commercials, unedited records and we don’t have egos and build with people on our social media links. Many times we see what some of those people are feeling hip hop record wise that day or week and we combine that into our program. People can reach out to us and get a response. They call the station over the decades hit us on instant messenger, websites, emails, Twitter, Facebook and we respond to everyone. It’s a family type feeling and we respect everyone, even if we don’t agree on taste of hip hop. Our hip hop record selection is something many famous DJ’s would love to own and we share those records with the world. You can tune in or log in on any given show and guaranteed to hear something you’ve never heard or haven’t heard in ages. It’s something we are proud of and how we mix our records together is unlike anyone else, globally.
Nahila S – Apart from Dedicated, what projects are you working on or do you have?
DJ 3RD RAIL – Right now our main focus is strictly “Dedicated”. We are working on getting some hip hop vinyl pressed but over the decades we have been on many different radio stations on the same week for years, but now just focus on our WNUR show.
Nahila S – What is your perception of the Hip Hop scene today?
DJ 3RD RAIL – We don’t focus on the hip hop scene. Many good things globally and many bad things. We just try to make sure we do the best show each week and that we out do our last show each time we go live.
Nahila S – As a conclusion, what advise would you give to someone who would intend to start a vinyl Dj carrier?
DJ 3RD RAIL – If you collect or spin vinyl make sure you take care of your records. Put them in paper sleeves, jackets and plastic covers. Buy original copies and shop around. You can find great original pressings at great or cheap prices, just be patient. We don’t have every record and you might not either so don’t get caught up trying to have everything. It’s an expensive hobby and if you make money it’s a blessing and not expected. If you love vinyl practice what you preach.
TUN IN TO THE MIXSHOW: “Dedicated” all vinyl hip hop radio unedited mixshow every week starting on Sunday midnight-5am Monday morning CST from Chicago’s WNUR 89.3fm & www.wnur.org.