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DJ Lady Tribe Behind the 1's and 2's
2/11/06 - LatinRapper.com exclusive interview by Dante

 

Raised in Los Angeles, Tribe was immersed in the culturally diverse mecca of underground graffiti artists and muralists from a very young age. It was there that the famed female graffiti artist first picked up a mean streak at 13 and wrote her name on a wall: realizing a passion and obsession that would consume her life for the next 9 years.

 

Even though she has surpassed all her initial dreams of being a known LA graf artist, she continues the passion that began so many years ago as one of the youngest, hottest female DJs in the LA nightclub scene, DJ Lady Tribe is coming up the ranks in this male dominated profession. Lady Tribe took a break from her busy schedule to speak with LatinRapper in this exclusive interview.

 

LatinRapper.com: Tell us a bit about what you do.

I'm a graffiti artist, first and foremost, second I'm a DJ, third I'm a model and whatever I cant get my hands into.

What are some of the pros and cons to being a DJ who happens to model?

The pros, people say 'oh you get more work', the cons are that they automatically think you can't DJ because of other girls that look hot and donít do very well at the club, it makes you look bad. I gotta look like a tomboy. But I take my DJing very seriously, its not a little joke to me, I prove it through my playing the music.

So do you dress like a tomboy now or do you dress up?

I dress up every day, thatís how I've always been except for when I was 14, I was dressing like baggy clothes. I grew out of that, I dress very feminine I guess, like every day. I only have one pair of tennis shoes [laughs].

Youíre Mexican, Indian and Japanese, what was it like growing up L.A. with that kind of mix?

Well when I was growing up, everyone could tell I looked more Latin when I was younger, and then I was more on that scene until I started DJing. I was in the Latin scene in LA but in the national and world scene I was into the Asian scene. I didn't really have any Asian friends, every type of scene you can think of now

Coming up you earned your stripes as a graf artist, how much of that plays a part in your life today?

Well being a graffiti artist taught me a lot about respect, some people donít understand that. I know a lot of street knowledge, the street life, I didnít grow up rich at all. I grew up doing my thing, painting and racking and going to jail, I think I'm a survivor I guess [laughs].

How did you get into graf work in the first place?

 

I was into tagging with my friends and then going bombing and the writing buses, I was from a bus crew RTDK, and then going bombing, I was a crazy kid. I took it very seriously. I got raided three times by the police, the anti-graffiti squad that did a huge investigation on me, I had to stop so I wouldnít go to jail for five years, I already went to jail a few times for that. Thatís when I got into the next hip hop cycle, element, I was a real hip hop fan and got into DJing. I had my turntables for four years, but I got into them like crazy.


You went to jail a couple times?

A lot of times [laughs], my rap sheet is bigger than most guys, I'd say. Most graffiti artists can relate. But you know, not just tagging, you have to get the paint somehow.

At one point you were subject to a massive raid, how did that come about?

Two big raids like that, the second one wasnít as big, the first raid was a GHOST Team [Graffiti Habitual Offender Suppression Team], they didnít know anything about me, they threw my sister on the ground thinking she was me, blocked off my street. They came at five in the morning at my parents house. Second raid, the GHOST Team came with the CHP officers, they actually came to help the CHP raid me since they already had that same experience.

 

These GHOST team guys are really undercover, so they look young. I wondered 'what the hell this kids busting me for'. I've been there for other people's raids, pretty scary too, but I wont get into that.

Where do you see graffiti 20 years from now?

Well people donít really know this about me, but I'm still heavily, not bombing no more, but totally surrounded by graffiti. I have a bunch of canvases up, a few crew members staying here, painting, I still go to the meetings, I'm still into it a lot. I paint legal walls as much as possible, I even painted the Five Points out there in New York which was fun.

 

But my days as a bomber pretty much shut down. Or getting deported, I'm an alien. Graffiti was around before rap was around, so its always gonna be around. thatís why I love graffiti. Graffiti artists are so addicting, its so real compared to the entertainment industry.

Why is that?

If you're a bad DJ, like I started to be, they have the realness as graffiti, but once you turn to the mainstream DJ, it turns to entertainment, competition. There's competition in graffiti too, but its almost the same thing. DJing, its about getting your name known, getting credibility.

I understand that youíre a car enthusiast, is this true?

I'm a big time car enthusiast. Most girls would be modeling for a car, my cars are all fixed up. I have a '72 Impala, I'm in to lowriders of course, living in L.A. [laughs]. My lowrider was featured in Lowrider Magazine before I was even on the cover, I've been featured with a one page spread then a five page spread.

 

People think its easy for me because I'm a model. I pretty much collect Lowrider and different magazines. They never call me to ask me to model, they call me because they want me to DJ or for my cars, and then I end up modeling [laughs].

What other cars do you own?

I have a 2002 Escalade, I painted it pink with silver flakes, Lamborghini doors on it. I have a pink Fendi interior, 27 inch gator rims by Asanti, and a fully equipped eight TVs sound system from Audiovox. I have a Mercedes CLK 430 convertible, that one I'm gonna get a Gucci interior, right now it has 18 inch Ice Asantis, it has 5 TVs from Eagle Audio and full system two 12 inches.

What are you usually playing when you drive around the city?

I'm playing 2pac, Kurupt, Cypress Hill of course, Psycho Realm of course. Anything from Soul Assassins, I love Muggs' stuff. I like listening to my boy, his name is Seven, me and him did a song together, next week weíre gonna do the music video.

 

I did an album with an Asian guy, its called How the West was Won, now I'm doing something with Seven, I'm feeling their [Latin] style a lot more, it sounds better if you listen to it. This guy has been around a long time, he has distribution, he does all his own beats and he raps too

So you rap or sing?

I get into other stuff too, I do a little. Its called sexy vocal. I'm not a rapper, I just kind of like sexy vocals, like I'm talking, thatís sexy [laughs], like that.

As far as the music goes, whatís your involvement with Murda Mamis?

I'm totally, as friends, those are my home girls. I promote them, I'm down for them, everywhere in the nation, to be a part of Murda Mamis, you have to be an influential lady in hip hop. Actress, rapper, host, a woman thatís very active in hip hop and influential. From my graffiti is how I got in, Lazy K and I did mixtapes together, we're working on part 2 of our stuff. Everywhere I go I call El or Lazy K, I've chilled with everyone: Mami Chula, Chantelle, Lazy K, Remy Ma.

 

Every from the west coast, I travel a lot. Last year I traveled, I did 13 dub shows, and 25 Hot Import shows, only two were in L.A.! So you could imagine, I was on the road every weekend. I got to meet everyone from the crew in different cities. Also from my tagging crew too.

Where do you usually DJ for those who want to see you perform?

In L.A. I'm locking down some dates, I do a lot of private parties. I did the Spider Club Friday, Hollywood bourgie events [laughs], I get to do all night instead of a one hour set. I control the clock from the time it opens. They have to go to my website, I'm trying to lock in different dates and see where I'm gonna be at next.

You were actually born in Hong Kong, have you ever returned to DJ there or anywhere else outside of the U.S?

No, I was supposed to go to Taiwan last week. I'm kinda naÔve too, I couldnít go out the country. I've been to London, Germany, Indonesia. I ripped out two pages from my passport 'cause it had a bunch of blank pages, I couldnít go [because of the removed pages]. I felt so bad, it was the Chinese new year.

So you're not a US citizen?

No I'm not, because of my felony its hard to become one. I just got off probation. They told me to not even try because if I try they are gonna look up my record.

If you get deported, where will they send you?

Hong Kong. Which is weird..

You don't have any relatives there?

No, my mom's Japanese, they just met there and had me there.

You'd be stuck there by yourself?

Yeah, totally

You mentioned going to Indonesia, which has a large Muslim population. Were you asked to tone down your outfit and not wear revealing clothes?

Actually they wanted me in a cute getup. Only one time they told me to dress down, Numark, 'cause it was all businesses. I was in a suit. It was cool because I got these new HT turntables.

Most men would consider you sexy, how do you define sexiness?

Confidence, thatís the number one thing in sexiness, no girl is sexy thatís shy or insecure, I'm very confident. Another thing is how you dress. You donít have to dress totally crazy to be sexy, but you could wear some little sweatsuit and have some cute little earrings and accessories and makeup and look sexy. And sexy is also ambition for me, someone that doesnít know what the hell to do is lame.

If youíre taking a break from DJing a gig, how should a guy approach you?

Oh man, donít give me your demo [laughs]Ö I guess, would you like a drink or something, thatís nice. The guys not a tightwad.

That doesnít seem too hard.

I'm not very mean, as long as they come correct at the right time. Donít when I'm on the turntables 'cause I'm concentrating on the crowd. A lot of times, I just want to sit there. Bored is the best time to approach me. I donít know, seems like guys donít approach me like lets hang out, its more like check out my demo, I get more of those then lets hang out.

Your looks intimidate men?

Maybe, I think that could be it, or they can tell that I'm into my work, and thatís probably how to get to me, but thatís really the opposite.

Any last thoughts?

One thing is to check out my show, ďLA OndaĒ on LATV, I'm the host, Tuesdays at 11 and I just started doing. I'm a regular on musicplustv.com, I'm straight live interviewing people. Thatís hot, right there you can look at it live, its free and watch some cool underground or old school videos. My show is from 6-7 to see when I'm on live, I just talk s**t 'cause itís the internet, its my hour so its pretty fun.

I'm gonna be in a movie called Platinum Illusions with Noel G and all the guys you ever see in movies, all the Latinos you love.

Noel Gugliemi, Chino XL, Lil Rob are in that movie.

Lil Rob! That was my part, I'm the DJ in the club scene, thatís when Lil Rob comes in , everyone does their performances, I just have to DJ and host. That was my part, it was a two day shoot, 12 hours a day, I did a mixtape for them. I have a DVD coming out, mixtape DVD and a mixtape thatís already being printed right now.

I'm the official DJ of the Dub Car Show for 2006, definitely see me at all those shows. And the tour starts in LA, Pitbull, Mike Jones, Busta Rhymes, Paul Wall, I'm the DJ between all the acts, pretty cool. I did it for two years but I couldnít go that much because I was on the other tour first, but this year I dropped the other tour and focusing on this tour. Saturday night I'd be at one show, and the next day I'd be at a show across the country. February 19th at the Dub Show!

 

DJ Lady Tribe on Twitter: http://twitter.com/djladytribe  

 

 




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