Two weeks ago, I went to a bar where the much-hyped DJ was actually a guy who just plugged an aux cord into his iPhone, then proceeded to fist-pump his way through a Spotify playlist of select choices like a radio remix of Justin Bieber’s “Sorry” and Migos’ “Bad and Boujee.”
There’s no doubt about it: We are living in an interesting, complex time for music, one where, technically, anyone can call themselves a DJ. In 2017, mention “DJing” and you’re more likely to be met with a reference to DJ Khaled’s Snapchat, an “Oh, that guy from Netflix?” if you mention Grandmaster Flash, and a straight-up “Huh?” if you bring up Afrika Bambaataa.
DJing has always been more a part of the underground music scene than the mainstream one. Now more than ever, though, it feels even more difficult to find an actual DJ — not one titled with the misnomer — who creates music that is both innovative and true to the original form. But, if you know where to look, in the clubs of Bushwick and the Bandcamps and Soundclouds of the internet, the real DJs are still there.