Artist: Jose Pizarro, aka DJ 5053, 26

How were you picked to host the 2010 Female Hip Hop Honors Awards? I hosted the 2010 Female Hip Hop Honors Mixtape and they called me and asked if I could co-host the show alongside Luenell. She's a comedian . . . in Katt Williams' standup comedy show. They flew me out to (Los Angeles) to host the event (in May).

Did you get to meet a lot of people out there? (There) was a lot of networking. There were a lot of new artists alongside with the old artists. It was a good experience.

You're originally from New York, right? I'm from the New York area, but I've been living here in (York) for the past 15 years. (I) go back and forth.

Do you constantly have your ear on the ground for local talent? Being a producer, I listen to a lot of . . . rock 'n' roll or country or whatever. I might (use) a sample from one of those songs. I also own my own studio (NFL Productions), so I get of lot of artists around the area that come there to record. I work alongside a lot of artists (including) Verbal Murda. (Earlier this summer) I dropped a mixtape with him called "On My Grind." I'm working with a local artist . . Durty Flow.

Do you think this area has a lot of potential? There is a lot of good potential. I think the main problem with artists here is that they think everything is just going to fall into their hands. They don't go out and get it. But musically, (there) is a lot of talent here.

When did you get into music? There was something about just putting music together. To tell you the truth, it was like karaoke machines - kind of mixing tracks. I (didn't) think I would ever get into it. One of my friends used to rap. I couldn't rap, so I started making beats. Then, I went from recording to (being) a DJ. It was something that just fell into place.

Who were your influences? My main influence growing up was Notorious B.I.G. He kind of painted a lot of pictures for me. There was something that he did and I was like, "All right, I'm going to try to do something similar to that beat." I liked Jay-Z growing up. A lot of the local artists . . . influenced me, to tell you the truth.

Were you ever able to work with one of the artists that inspired you? I would say the rapper Kokane. He used to be down with N.W.A. (He) was someone I saw on TV all the time. Then, I happened to network with him and then I got to work with him. (I also got to work with) Kurupt. He was in Tha Dogg Pound.

Do you DJ full time or on the side? I would say full time because there is a lot of work to it. I try to take little breaks here and there, but it seems like it doesn't work. It seems like constantly I'm doing stuff with music.

Do you work at local parties and clubs? Actually, I focus more on (being a) mixtape DJ. I try to stay away from the clubs and stuff. It's a kind of a different . . . DJ. I hosted a couple events at . . . (Club) NV.

Do you listen to other DJs? I'm about to work on a mixtape with DJ Mami Fresh. She's a U.K. DJ, but she's a Slip N Slide DJ as (am I). We were sitting there talking (recently) about how we could make a mixtape. I look up to, like, DJ Cali.

Do you still spend a lot of time in New York? I go constantly . . . maybe, like, once a week. I'm working with Sweet Tea. She was actually the one that kind of brought out LL Cool J. I'll be driving up there to work with (Alabama artist Suzanna Samone) and do her mixtape.

What all goes into making a mixtape? You can have an artist you'll be working with and he'll be able to send you the songs, the drop, the scripts (and) the whole view of the mixtape. Other ones, you have to sit in the studio and work with them. A lot of artists kind of leave it up to me. It's not just slapping songs together and putting it out there and just hosting it. (There) is more than that. You have to mix (tracks) down . . . and pick the songs that go in rotation that won't mess up the mixtape's flow. The best way to do it is to be in the studio with the artist that way you can both work together.

What sets you apart? As a DJ, I would say that I get a lot of exclusive songs. Half of the time the celebrity artists send me tracks themselves. I'm always stepping outside my box. I'm always trying something new. I've done a lot of mixtapes with females. I think that's how I separated myself.


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