orn and raised in France, DJ Modesty has a career that spans over a decade, producing music and becoming affiliated with some of Hop Hop’s most known DJ crews around the globe. He hosts a monthly podcast called The Real Hip Hop Show, which focuses mainly on indie hip hop, which he supports wholeheartedly. Here he speaks of his new mixtape, advice for the up & comer and his love for the Boom Bap….and DJ Premier.
Mika: How did you start The Real Hip Hop Show?
Modesty: We had with 2 friends a radio show with HIP HOP & R&B and I started to have internet around 2000’s…I looked to get promo records from labels and started to contact MC’s, Labels, Majors… they started to send me music and as my actual records in my collection was not commercial & more underground, I tried a mix on a small FM French radio. With internet contacts, I had a request from Canada, I played the Real Hip hop Show over there for a few years, after in London UK and Rennes, France. I finally decided to stay on podcast for many reasons. I’m now back again on FM and in different places around the globe.
Mika: What makes your station unique? How would you compare it to other stations you’ve worked at?
Modesty: I’m the DJ & creator of THE REAL HIP HOP SHOW and as it’s a podcast available on Mixcloud, Podomatic & iTunes, the advantage is that I play the music I like, I can promote the Boom Bap & Underground music more than commercial joints. The show is also played on French FM but I finally have more feedback & exposure worldwide with Internet. It’s not unique because I checked many other shows who promote the same style of music but I’m here since more than 10 years and 270 episodes, I do blend mixes and I don’t speak, so a lot of people believe that the show is a series of mixtapes. It’s sometimes hosted by artists. I stay consistent and try to be the area for Hip Hop lovers to discover the newest boom bap bangers & the place to be for the artists to promote their new music.
Mika: What is your favorite part of the job?
Modesty: I love all part of the Job because as i’m independent , I have to deal with all elements, music, design and promo but I like all that because it’s always a different work, I have to be creative as an artist everyday. What I like is to discover some new bangers to mix & record my show & after, to see the feedback from the listeners.. it’s the same way when I build a beat, to find a good sample, make the beat & when the MC lays his verse, it’s like magic. My pleasure is to give pleasure to the people because they like what I like, I can just be myself & enjoy makin music. That’s a dope feeling.
Mika: Who is your favorite air personality?
Modesty: DJ Premier because it’s one of the only one show I can listen to when it’s not just music. They talk about music and that’s also very funny. I like a lot also Eclipse, Beatminerz. because they give dope opportunities for the underground artists.
Mika: Who would be a “dream guest” to have on your show?
Modesty: I’ll say DJ Premier. I often have MC’s but he’s the artist I respect the most. I’ll like a lot to have artists as Large Professor, DITC, AG, OC, Fat Joe, Diamond D and if I can continue to dream a little bit, I’ll say Nas, Rakim, Mobb Deep, Saigon & many others I have in my list. If I could return back in time, I’ll say Biggie, Big L, Guru
Mika: How do you keep your station visible and involved in the community?
Modesty: I do the promo solo with post on my Facebook pages, the Podomatic, Mixcloud, Twitter. I started on Myspace and since 10 years I have people who support the show. A lot of them are artists i support in my mixes but there is also a few loyal fans, It takes time & i continue to develop the show, to create new concepts and overall to WORK HARD. I think the key is here, to work hard and to be respected, to be accessible for the fans, artists. It’s a mutual help to success.
Mika: How would you describe the radio landscape in your market?
Modesty: I think it’s like in the USA, there is a few big radio stations who play commercial music from the major labels, they use to spin the new Nicki Minaj, David Guetta & all that…these stations play the music for the new generation who believe that it’s the only one Hip Hop music they’ll have to hear and they close the doors to the independent & real music. We have a few smaller radio stations who continue to spin underground & Hip hop music on FM & Internet but not a lot in my area. It’s really hard, a lil bit as when indies artists fight vs. Hot97.
Mika: What is the current state of the radio ‘talent pool”?
Modesty: On Underground radio and on shows like mine, it stayed alive, we give opportunities for any MCs, major artists or unknown if the talent is here and if the track is dope. After, it’s like on the TV’s, the big radios build the success of artists and educate the people with commercial sounds, not always on point and it’s a style who have to be created for their radios… they not just play talents, they create artists & look for the money first… It’s very sad. Our difference in the underground is that we are what we do…
Mika: What gave you that initial push to become a DJ?
Modesty: I liked basketball, The Fresh Prince of Bel Air, The Hip Hop culture…I loved to listen blended mixes and wanted to do the same, create mixes… I liked the underground and wanted to spin these records somewhere to be heard by listeners, I started the Real Hip Hop Show, internet came & this is the story. I’m a lil bit more of a fan now, 12 years after I’m always here with hard working, I continue on this road.
Mika: Who were your mentors? Who would you say has influenced your career the most?
Modesty: It’s hard to say now because I created my career solo but I had a lot of influences with the style of music I listened in the Golden Years. My favorite DJs were Funkmaster Flex in the US & DJ Cut Killer & Poska in France & few more, for their blend mix style, the Golden era classics they played in their dope mixtapes, the way to host the mixtape with their voices, like DJ Clue, Tony Touch, Kayslay.. I liked a french DJ by the name of JR Ewing because he played the style of tracks I listened too, the Independent, grimey & undergound sounds with a real atmosphere around the projects. As I said, if I could say one name, I’ll say DJ Premier because he’s my favorite producer & a dope DJ. He’s the perfect combination of everything and he got this aura I really respect. That’s the most respectable artist to represent the words “Real Hip Hop, Boom Bap”. DJ JS1, Jazzy Jeff, DJ Revolution are also some of the Illest DJ’s & producers of the globe that I appreciate.
Mika: How big is your vinyl collection?
Modesty: Maybe around 1000 – 1500 Records, Hip Hop, R&B, Funk, Soul & Variety for samples.
Mika: What was your first record you bought?
Modesty: Wow, I can’t remember exactly, My parents had a few vinyl records but not Hip Hop music in their house. I started to have copies of audio tapes from my homies in 91-93 with NTM, a french crew, Kris Kross, MC SOLAAR…I bought my first CD, the BEST OF THE 1996 and also CDs as Dr. Dre’s The Chronic, 2Pac All Eyes On Me, and Wu Tang. One of my first vinyl is La Cliqua (A french Golden era Crew), I used to scratch on it with a phono turntable and a Goldorak vinyl, it was funny when I think again about the beginning.
Mika: What is it about the industry that keeps you wanting to do it for a living?
Modesty: I Like Hip Hop because that’s my life and i gave my life & time for it. It’s the only one reason why I would like to do it for a living, to continue what I like. After, I often think that I do the most part of my work for other people, for the artists, for the fans, for the world, but at the same time, they’ll be never here when I’ll have problems in my own life, and sometimes this game is cruel for many reasons. It’s not easy but I hadn’t chose this life, I was born to live this life of passion & sacrifices. That’s the life of artists: UP & DOWN…
Mika: What music do you listen to when you are not on the decks?
Modesty: I overall listen Hip Hop Music and I try to listen these new joints, albums I could maybe spin in my future shows, it give me inspiration, selections & creativity to start working on something. I also listen radio shows as live from The Headqcourterz, Halftime Radio Show, DJ Nice, DJ Brasko and sometimes oldies albums. There is never enough time to check everything, it’s hard to be a DJ.
Mika: Tell me more about the Brooklyn Kingz County mixtape.
Modesty: It’s an album i decided to produce entirely to do a dedication to this great borough. As I’m a real lover of the East Coast NY sound & boom bap, I worked on a precedent double album KINGS FROM QUEENS 2 & 2.1. This time I called all my Brooklyn comrades, Shabaam Sahdeeq who came for a tour in France & recorded the 1st joint, Mic Handz who recorded the single with the legendaries Jaz O, General Steele & Ruste Juxx. Also on this album, Bateria (House of Repz), Wyld Bunch, Sav Killz, Illa Ghee, FT, Bekay & many more. It’s 35 Artists for 20 exclusive tracks. A little bit like a movie with different atmospheres and Boom Bap Beats, it’s an Ode to the Brooklyn Borough. It’s available on Bandcamp and it‘ll be soon on ITUNES. I look for some physical releases too. Thanks a lot to all the MC’s, En Phase for the mixing & video and to all the people who’ll support this album.
Mika: What’s one thing that would surprise many people to learn about you?
Modesty: The place where I live, the city, the Region in the South of France so, it’s all my way to live here far of everything and overall the Hip Hop culture. I had to learn almost alone. I can’t complain because we have other traditions and I’m proud of this life but it was and it is really hard to do what I do everyday for my love of Hip Hop, live from my city and for the people who dont know before to be a DJ, I tried also the B-boying, Graffiti, but I’m a basketball player first. Hoop dreams.
Mika: What is the one truth that has held constant throughout your career?
Modesty: HARD WORK. Never stop working. I think that for myself. I work more than to have a pure talent. I have ideas and i’m a lil ‘bit crazy as many artists, but everything I obtain came with more work & more work. If somebody is stronger than you with talent or not, you’ll have to work more than him, stop to sleep, to practice more. That’s the rules, only the strong survive, No pain no gain.
Mika: What advice would you give people new to the business?
Modesty: It’s not easy, check the precedent answer (HARD WORK & MOTIVATION) and create your own style, work hard before to drop something and progression’ll come after time & work…NEVER STOP TO DREAM !!!
Catch DJ Modesty’s Real Hip hop Show on podomatic