'Off the Needle' with Cosmo Baker / by Randy Ortiz

Welcome our first installment of 'Off the Needle,' where we talk to DJ's and ask their opinions on what's going on in their industry. Our first guest is Cosmo Baker part founder of The Rub and a DJ who truly keeps it bumpin n' shakin all night, we asked him a few questions on the mixtape front hear what he has to say below!

The Mixtape Touch

What was the last mixtape you bought? Well considering how much mixtapes are used these days as free promotional tools it's less often that I buy one than just downloading one honestly. But the last one that I bought was the Fabolous & DJ Drama "There Is No Competition 2 - The Funeral Service" mix. I'm a big fan of both and they consistently put out dope product, so it's kind of a no-brainer.

The word mixtape gets thrown around a lot now without an actual DJ on production. What are your thoughts on that? Well I think there's an art to compiling. Even back in the day when one would make mixtapes in high school, the programming and sequence is crucial, and working with the ebb and flow that conveys the feeling you are trying to express. Like think about that scene in "High Fidelity" when Cusack gets all into that. But obviously in the 21st century the bar has been raised so much higher where now you have mixtapes that are basically albums, both sonically and in a marketable sense. So the production is really important obviously. And you can look at the production techniques that a lot of the DJs in the 90s did with multiracking, and then how you had guys like Spinbad and Green Lantern take it to the next level. Then you have a guy like Drama who I mentioned before. Now normally I think it's lame when DJs - or so called "DJs" - have a mixtape and don't even mix one record. But then you have a guy like Drama and he basically took the art of compiling and the concept of "theme" and makes these super cohesive and together mixtapes, like a lot of the "Gangsta Grillz" series. LIke I said, basically like mini-albums. But ultimately I think that with any DJ it's important to have a fully formed vision and a concept of what you are trying to say. Most of the joints that I do, be it the Love Break series or shit like the Too Much Possee, I try to have definitive concepts that are fun and also unique.

Do you think it lessens the importance of a DJ when a mixtape is not done by an actual DJ? Yes and no. Anyone can cook an egg that will be good to eat for breakfast, and that's cool. You take a top chef and they will cook some eggs that will fuck your whole shit up, boy! And again, don't get me started about these mixtape "DJs" that don't mix at all.

What was the song or set that set you off into the wonderful world of vinyl? I dunno man, my first real record I owned was Elton John "Bennie & The Jets" on 45. I'm pretty sure the first record I went out and bought was Newcleus "Jam On It" for obvious reasons. But you know, once you get started with this shit, it just takes over you.

You play a wide variety of music in your sets, what kind of vibe do you like giving off from a Cosmo Baker night? I try to do a lot of shit that I think is smart and you can dissect and be like "Oh shit I get that!" But at the end of the day I don't want people standing around scratching their fucking heads like it's a goddamn symposium. I'm into making people dance, and helping them have fun and lose their shit. But I also try to do it in a unique way that people wouldn't expect, but works so naturally. So fuck it I'm just gonna be funky no matter what.

We'd like to thank Cosmo for sharing some time with WGM and hope our readers enjoyed this piece as there will be more to come. If you are a DJ and would like to share your thoughts on this topic hit us up!