DJ Drewski’s debut album Seat At The Table is a testament to who he is as a leading DJ in New York City and Hip Hop culture. The album features a wide array of up-and-coming rappers and blossoming stars that Drewski feels deserve the spotlight.
Seat At The Table could’ve been an album all about DJ Drewski and his big-name rapper friends, but the New Jersey native didn’t want to highlight the people who already earned their spots. Instead, Drewski wanted to make a statement and bring the artists who are hungry in proving they belong.
On the album’s cover, DJ Drewski is sitting on a throne in front of gold plaques containing the names of several iconic DJs that paved the way for him. It’s a respectful yet bold statement that he told HipHopDX is a sign he deserves a spot amongst the greats.
“A lot of these artists, especially from New York, you probably wouldn’t even heard of if Drewski didn’t really bring it, so I just felt like now is the time for this album,” he said. “These are the next stars, the next big artists, and I wanted it to be organic and not about me. I just want to introduce the artists, introduce the records. It’s about the artists and what they do, and I just wanted to bring the people that I felt like deserve the shot.”
DJ Drewski was the first person to give A Boogie Wit Da Hoodie his first radio interview. Lil Tjay, Pop Smoke, Cardi B and Fivio Foreign all had Drewski play their singles on the airwaves. Without those opportunities, who knows where these rappers could’ve ended up. Hip Hop is all about opportunity and proving yourself, and DJ Drewski is aware of how important that is, no matter how little or big of a rapper you are. Everyone had a shot and it’s up to that person to decide what they do with it.
“I made it as clear as I could and respectfully as I could,” Drewski said. “Thank you to the legends for opening those doors and creating these opportunities for me, but now it’s my turn.”
He added, “If you an artist, if you a DJ, a producer, it’s really hard to come up. But because I bring a lot to the culture and I’m really outside, really in tune and in touch with what’s going on, it’s like people not going to give it to you. You got to take it, and this is our respectful way of taking our seats because I know no one’s going to give it up, so we just got to take it.”
HipHopDX spoke more with DJ Drewski about Seat At The Table, putting on younger artists, the importance of taking opportunities, being a white Hip Hop DJ, his love for music, and more.
HipHopDX: First and foremost, people know you as a DJ. What inspired you to become one?
DJ Drewski: I always had a love for music. As a young kid growing up, my parents would be playing music in the house. I would go to my dad’s house, he’s playing rock and roll. We grew up with my mom, so in her house, she got the New York City freestyle music, and pop music. Then my older brother, he’s a straight Hip Hop head, so now I’m growing up around all this music. So I just always had a love for music and when it came to friends and being in social places, I was always a leader.
But I wondered, how do I put the love for music and being a leader together and I realized, wow, DJs. When it comes to parties and cracking that mic with the music, you’re leading. You’re still in a leader position and you’re held high in those clubs. So I started trying it and I’ve really had a love for it, and it just made me happy. It was a type of energy that just made me happy, and I just stuck to it, and then I realized it was big superstar DJs, like DJs I listened to on the radio growing up and that’s what ignited it.
HipHopDX: With Seat At The Table, you’re showing that you are more than just a club or radio DJ. When did you know there were other lanes you could tap into?
DJ Drewski: I always knew because the DJs I looked up to were doing other things. Funk Flex doing his car shows and then it was all the mixtape DJs, like Doo Wop and Kid Capri that were producing records and making original records with artists, getting original beats and getting freestyles. I always watched them guys do it and it just influenced me.
There are always opportunities to grow as a DJ, but I knew I had to get my foot in the door first. It was always in the back of my mind to produce records, and I always had relationships with artists, and I want to expand on those relationships. Not just play their music, but make music together, and that’s what really drove me to do this project.
HipHopDX: What was the hardest part about transitioning into this new chapter of your career with this new album Seat At The Table?
DJ Drewski: I think the hardest part was learning and distinguishing between the friendships with the artists and then the business side of things. A lot of these artists are signed to labels. So it’s not like we are in the studio, chilling, making a record then putting it out. I thought this was going to be easy like these are all my guys, I like them as musicians and I want to work with them so we’re going to drop music. But it’s like, hold up, we got a whole bunch of paperwork to do and lawyers that got to get involved, so that was the hardest part, being able to have the patience to deal with all that.
HipHopDX: With a Rolodex like yours, how’d you pick the rappers to be featured on Seat At The Table?
DJ Drewski: I wanted to work with a lot of artists that I had relationships with, and felt like they deserve their seat at the table as well. When I’m looking at the tracklisting, these guys have little special places in my life with memories and all the history we have together like A Boogie, Trap Manny, Sheff G and Sleepy Hallow. It’s bigger than me because it’s about making a collaboration and building relationships with these artists.
The whole goal of this is to get the energy flowing in these collaborations and have these people working together so we could bring it back. We want to just bring different elements, and have you see the artists in a different light and bring them together. That’s the whole concept of the project, it’s like it ain’t about just Drewski’s project, it’s our project, you know what I’m saying? It’s that type of energy we want to create.
HipHopDX: One rapper you had step out the box was Fivio Foreign on “Ryder” with TJ Porter. How did you manage to get Fivio on autotune to hit those high notes?
DJ Drewski: I think I just caught him at a good time when he was feeling good [laughs]. I don’t know what he was on, but he was just feeling good, and his energy is always great. No matter what, he’s always on 10. Me and TJ cooked up the record, and we were thinking who could we put on it. It’s just so melodic that I wasn’t even thinking about Fivio but he called me and he came in, heard the record and wanted to get on it. But in my head, I’m like, “It’s so melodic, what is he going to do?”
He went into the booth, started singing and I’m like, “Oh God, this is different.” We never heard Fivio singing on a record, but he still kept his personality on the song. I never heard him sing on no record, but he actually likes it. It’s different, and that’s what I wanted to bring, something different. Different vibes, showing the artists that they can do different things, and Fivio definitely threw us a curveball in that one.
HipHopDX: Your fans on social media have been sharing Seat At The Table all over their Twitter feeds and Instagram Stories. What does this project really mean for them?
DJ Drewski: I want Seat At The Table to show people what they can really do. I question myself a lot. Am I ready to drop a project? Are people going to accept it? Are people going to listen to it? Are they going to download it? It’s like you have to get to the point where you feel super secure in yourself and just say, “I’m doing it because I love it, and if I love it, and I know people that are watching it, and I can inspire other people.” I’m dropping this to inspire you to do whatever it is you want with your dreams.
If you’re a DJ and want to start a clothing line, but you feel like you don’t got the support, or you feel like you got to overthink it and doubt yourself, it’s like no. If Drewski can go ahead and drop a whole project with some of the hottest artists out then you can start that clothing line. I can do what I want to do and I can follow my dreams too. I think that’s the most important part of Seat At The Table, is you have to go for what you want, but do it respectfully. This whole album is me showing love to the people that inspire me and I’m going to do the same and put on artists that I feel deserve their seat at the table, and I’m going to go ahead and take mine too, but we’re doing it all respectfully.
HipHopDX: You’re seeing DJs crossover into other genres like Marshmello linking up with various Hip Hop artists. Do you see yourself doing that outside of Hip Hop?
DJ Drewski: Well, I’m a Hip Hop DJ, and there was a time where people around me are telling me to play EDM music because I would make a killing. But it just wasn’t in me. Nothing about EDM music made me happy or want me to play it, and even though they were trying to get me to do it because I could’ve played in Las Vegas or gone overseas I’m like nah, it’s not for me.
I’m glad that Hip Hop has made it to the point where it’s the number one genre of music, and I could stick to what I do and what I love, and that’s what I’m focused on. If music starts to change and we have to transition, I’m cool with transitioning, I know how to do that. But I think right now, I’m more excited with how big Hip Hop is, and I can do what I love, and do records with artists that I listen to, and know. I’m not trying to do something that I’m not in tune with. Everything we do, I’m in tune with.
HipHopDX: It’s interesting to hear you say people told you to do EDM music instead of Hip Hop. With you being a white Hip Hop DJ, did you ever have any concerns jumping into a field that’s predominantly run by Black people?
DJ Drewski: As a kid, starting from elementary school, I was always involved in the culture. I never had or dated no white girls and all my friends were either Black or Hispanic. So as a kid, it never even crossed my mind until now where I’m becoming an adult, and now I’m at a different level doing television, radio, and I realize, oh, people really don’t know me. But I’m not going to change who I am to please other people.
If you don’t know me then that’s your problem, and I never let that negativity really affect me. Now fortunately, like I said, it never really came crazy at me. I think people, if you listen, you understand, okay, this is real, this is not made up, this is really what I do. If we want to talk numbers and facts, I do more for artists than some Black and Hispanic DJs out there so there’s no way it could even be a question. It’s like, yo, it doesn’t matter who the artist is because I’m outside helping artists no matter what color they are.
Checkout more DJ Drewski content here and here. Stream ‘Seat At The Table’ below.