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As a revered DJ with over two decades of experience under his belt, Capri came on as a perfect fit to judge and mentor up-and-coming DJs. Grammy-winning producer Just Blaze joins Capri at the judging table as each of the record spinners vie for the opportunity to etch their place in music history. Although many will get a chance to show their scratching skills, only one will walk away with the 'Master of the Mix' crown. For Capri, he's not just looking for technique, he's looking for the "it factor" in a DJ that can connect to the crowd by offering a little something extra.
The BoomBox caught up with Capri, born David Anthony Love, Jr., to speak on his decision to sit at the judge's table 'American Idol' style, what he thinks of storied beef -- Nicki Minaj and Lil' Kim as well as Ja Rule and 50 Cent -- and witnessing the birth of hip-hop at 8 years old.
Why did you want to get involved in the 'Master of the Mix'?
Well, first, 'Master of the Mix' is a show about DJs that come from all different areas of the country and they do their own thing. The first season was about DJs who had their name in their own right; they were known people and they were picked by the staff. But this year, we're doing it like 'American Idol' to get them to the show that way. It's definitely a good show and it represents what the DJ is all about.
What would you say DJing is all about?
When I do a show, I look at DJing the same as an artist [looks at performing], like I'm doing a platinum record. When I go on stage, my whole idea is to crush anybody that comes on before me or after me and make these people feel better when they got here, and make it hard for that platinum artist to come on after me. The DJ is the first element. The music business is messed up and there's a lot of artists that were hot at one time, becoming DJs now because they're not hot. The DJ is always going to be around, people are always going to want to party. At the end of the day, the DJ is always going to work.
You mentioned that the show is akin to 'American Idol.' Did you get any judging tips from watching Randy Jackson or the other judges on the show?
No, because the first season we did we didn't do it like that. We just picked the seven DJs. But this time around the powers that be have said that they wanted to do it this way. I'm not in control of that, all I can do is judge it. I know exactly what I'm looking for. I'm looking for originality. I'm not looking for a dude that's going to make me say, "Wow."
Just Blaze is also involved in the show. Are you guys working on any collaborations?
Just is busy, I'm busy. I would love to work with Just, that's my dude. This is the most we ever did [together]. We just became real friends on this show. We knew each other and everything but we never really got that close. At first, when they said Just was hosting I didn't get it. But when he came, I got it. I think he's going to do a great job this time.
As a veteran in the music game, who are some of the artists that you feel have staying power?
Drake, Wayne... Nicki Minaj. I wanna see what Nicki does [on] the next album. I think she has longevity, I think she can last. I know Drake is going to take it up a notch.
What are your thoughts on Nicki butting heads with Lil Kim, when they could potentially be working together instead of beefing?
I think that's what they need to be doing; they need to be worried about doing something together. Beef is a part of hip-hop. It's been that way since hip-hop started. Hip-hop started right down the street from where I live at, Cedar Avenue [in the Bronx]. I was right there the day it started. I was 8 years old.
You have to tell that story!
I'll tell you the day it started for me. I was on my block and this dude named Gerald was throwing dice and he kept saying, "Yes, yes ya'll and ya don't stop! To the beat ya'll, freak, freak ya'll!" I was like, "What the hell is he talking about?" I went to a party that Friday and a DJ named B Ward, Brian Ward, he was on the microphone saying, "Yes! Yes! Ya'll!" I ran home and told my moms I wanted to be a DJ and that was it.
Has there ever been a record you hated that turned out to be a great record or vice versa?
There's a bunch of records I hate, but I know they're going to be a hit. I pick hits off top. I don't really wanna blow nobody up but put it this way: when it comes to me making sure that the crowd is all right, it has nothing to do with my personal feelings.
Being a DJ based in New York City, what was your reaction to the Mister Cee sex scandal?
That's that man's situation. At the end of the day, personally, I don't think the man is gay, in my personal opinion. I think he might of got caught up in a freaky moment maybe. What I will say is he's a great DJ. He put his work in, that's all I really focus on. Everybody focuses on the negative. The ones that focus on the negative have done a lot of rotten s--- in their life. You can't call the kettle black when you know you're doing it. It's an unfortunate situation for him because of what it is but at the same time all you can do is keep going, and he's on the radio doing what he been doing. It's like it never happened to him.
This year is shaping up to be a big year for new releases are there any new albums that youíre looking forward to?
I'm looking for that Jay-Z and Kanye ['Watch the Throne'] album; I'm interested to see how that comes out. I wish Jay and R. Kelly could have lived out that album that they did, 'The Best of Both Worlds' album as far as doing a tour and all that. That would've been crazy. You know Beyonce is going to do her thing as usual. 50 [Cent] has been putting out some bangers. 50 put out about 10 joints that I just got.
What about 50's nemesis, Ja Rule. He's dropping two albums this year?
He's putting out two albums at the same time? I understand why [laughs]. I like Ja. Ja's a cool dude. This is hip-hop, he gotta bring that s---. He made many classics, no question about that, so it's not like he couldn't do it again.
But do you feel like 50 ruined Ja's career?
Yeah. No question. I'mma tell you the day that it happened. The day that it happened to Ja was when he was on '106 & Park.' This is right in the mix of 50 getting at him heavy. He premiered his next video on '106' and it was a video talking about in the rain, or rain something, and that wasn't the record to put out at that time. And then they had the two kids they put out on the side asking them what they thought about the video and they both were like, "Ja Rule, you gotta go back." That 'Clap [Back]' record that he came out with, that's what he was supposed to come out with at that time and that would've leveled [the beef] and he would've been good. That's what kind of like took him out of here, but there's no denying that the man made classics. He definitely put his work in and at the same time, he's still going. It's unfortunate that he gotta get locked up but you can't stop that. But if he makes the right joints, he can last until he gets out.