Here’s what it’s like to DJ a Raptors game
Raptors come and Raptors go, but there’s one man who’s stuck with the team for more than a decade: 4Korners, the Raps’ official DJ. Now in his 12th season (he’s been around since Vince Carter left), the homegrown musician is responsible for pumping up the players, getting fans into the game and pre-producing music for the team’s videos and Dance Pak. Last summer, he found time to drop an original track, “Told Me Shake It,” and, between games and nightclub gigs around the world, he performs up to 300 sets a year. We went behind the scenes to find out what it’s like to be the sixth man in the 6.
“Win or lose, it’s my job to keep the energy up, so I’m playing songs to hype players and amp the crowd. When the doors open, I play some intro music to set the vibe, then I raise the energy slowly as the game goes on. By the fourth quarter, it’s absolutely raging. When the game’s going well, I go for ‘Hey Ya’ by Outkast or AC/DC’s ‘You Shook Me All Night Long.’ When things don’t go that well, I choose songs like ‘Push It’ by Salt-n-Pepa or ‘Are You Gonna Go My Way’ by Lenny Kravitz—subliminal stuff that I’m not sure everybody catches. When it’s down to the wire, I might play Calvin Harris’ ‘Feel So Close'”:
“People always say the games have a nightclub environment—they want to dance. People also tweet requests to me about what they want to hear, and those go up on the big screen. I don’t pre-plan anything. You always have to figure things out on the fly. I know what some of the players like, so I throw some of that stuff in here or there, too, and I see them give me the nod. Patrick Patterson is the most outgoing personality on the team, and I know he loves ’90s R&B: Mary J. Blige, Biggie Smalls, that kind of stuff. The other guys like current trap-hop—Migos, Desiigner—and obviously Drake”:
“I’ve been DJing on a software called Serato Scratch Live for about six or seven years. I have about 500 gigabytes of music on my laptop. I pull up a song on my virtual deck, and manipulate it like a record on the two digital turntables in front of me. It used to be that if you didn’t have the record, you couldn’t play the song. Now? I get word that Drake put out a new song, I go on iTunes, buy it and I can play it 10 minutes later. When he releases a track at midnight, people know the lyrics by 9 in the morning”:
“I use a Pioneer DJM-2000 mixer and turntables, and Monster headphones”:
“I have to wear Raptors gear, but I like to edit my clothing to suit my own style—cutting sleeves, poking holes, whatever. I have no idea how many hats and jerseys I own. I give a lot of old stuff out to kids or raffle it off on Twitter. Now that the Raps have the OVO collaboration, I think we’ve got the best merch in all of sports”:
“I was born and raised in Toronto, so it’s important for me to represent the city. I play in nightclubs all over the world, and more and more, the momentum is building. When I’m in Shanghai or Dubai or Berlin, people come up and talk to me about Toronto: ‘Yo, Toronto’s amazing right now, isn’t it?’ People ask, ‘Where do we get that We The North stuff or that Raptors OVO stuff?’ People have literally offered to buy it off my person”: