See also: Phife Dawg at Club Red, 6/22/12 See also: Talib Kweli, Club Red, 7/21/12 See also: Elzhi and RoQ'y TyRaid, Chasers Bar & Night Club, 8/1/12
It's been a good time for Valley hip-hop fans lately. Over the last few weeks major rap players like Phife Dawg, Talib Kweli, and Elzhi have been all over the local radar. The trend will continue next week when O.G. Wu-Tang Clanner Ghostface Killah hits Club Red in Tempe, on Thursday, August 23.
Besides the New Times (we reviewed the shows), there have been some other familiar faces at the aforementioned shows. Local DJ/producer Luis "El-Jay" Perez, better known as El-Jay Beats, has warming up the crowd with his collaborative team, The Bakers. The early opening spots have paid off, with Perez earning a prime slot right before Ghostface at next week's show (which also features Saigon and Sheek Louch).
Employing a live band and an army of local rappers, Perez is hoping to make some waves of his own.
"I'm open as far as my sound is concerned," Perez, an ASU student and military veteran, says. "I'm mostly known for my sampling and then I like to take those samples and rework them with the live band. I also record with instruments and mix in synthesizers for a more electronic feel. So I try to involve rock, jazz, hip-hop, house and electronic elements. If you listen to my music, I have beats for every artists. East Coast, West Coast, whatever."
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Perez has been grinding since 2001 when he first started dabbling with beat making and DJing while still in the military. Thanks to a little luck and legwork from manager Carlos Reynoso, he's now only a few days away from sharing the stage with one of his boyhood heroes.
"With a little bit of luck and the help of my manager, we were able to land this spot," Perez says. "Our first big shot was opening for Talib Kweli. They had us open in the opening slot which was ... kinda hard because everyone was still trying to get in line and walking in, so I had to hurry up and set up. But the show went well, and apparently the promoter was happy so they gave us an opportunity to appear in the premier spot for this one."