Special selection

By KatherineGamby

There are many aspects of the music industry that are often underappreciated. One in particular is central to party life and the mixtape business. DJs have been constructing music for decades, but are rarely given credit for their work until recent years. People like DJ Drama, DJ Kay Slay and DJ Skee began taking more active roles in the production of music, as well as popular games like Guitar Hero, by adding a DJ segment to the game called DJ Hero.

Tzaddi “Selecta-T” Terrier is a Chicago DJ who is scratching his way into Chicago nightlife. Orginally from the South Side of Chicago, Terrier keeps busy nearly seven days a week with an increasingly booked schedule. Among his extracurricular activities are his recording company, D.O.V.E. Inc., DJ gigs and he spins on an international Web radio broadcast on Club Empire Radio on Fridays and Saturdays.

Terrier, who attended Columbia last year, was raised in Jamaica and draws his deejaying techniques from his Jamaican roots. He is now becoming more involved in American-style deejaying, which consists of scratching, mash-ups and remixes, whereas in Jamaica, a DJ’s skills are judged by how fast music is selected and what will keep the intensity of the party.

The Chronicle sat down with Terrier to talk about his start as a DJ and his experiences.

The Chronicle: When did you start to deejay?

Tzaddi Terrier: Officially, I would say that I was a DJ at 14, but I started doing it as a hobby at 7. When I was 7, I got this tape. It was a Jamaican DJ. His set was taped and from then, I just fell in love. I started getting gigs when I was 14, just throwing parties with my friends and making money. From there, my stepfather saw and invested his time and money into taking it to a higher level. He got me into 21 and above clubs.

The Chronicle: How did you come up with your name?

TT: I don’t go by DJ this or DJ that, it’s

Selecta-T, it’s a Jamaican thing. In Jamaica

a DJ is a disc jockey. It’s an ego thing with them—it’s hard to explain. But there’s an emcee that talks and there’s a selector that selects music because in Jamaica scratching, mash-ups and remixes are not that big. In Jamaica, they don’t call it DJ because that’s somebody that raps, like Sean Paul, he’s a DJ in Jamaica. My step-father called me Selecta-T and I took it from there.

The Chronicle: What was the worst experience you have had as a DJ?

TT: When my speakers caught on fire. I was doing this community thing where they play cricket up north. I was deejaying and it was like 105 degrees, the hottest day of the year. I guess I had an amplifier that was overpowering the speaker in the heat, they were like, “Your speaker is on fire!”

The Chronicle: Would you say spinning is like an addiction?

TT: Yeah, because you feed off of the crowd, when they’re having a good time, you start moving, selecting.

The Chronicle: What’s the hardest part about being a DJ?

TT: The hardest part is the starting of the party, for me at least. It’s like, what do you play? I mean, do you play the hottest stuff or play some nice, cool stuff that’s already been out? The process of knowing what to play and when to play, it is like a freestyle thing. Back in the day, me and my friends used to do this thing at school where, for every situation, we would come up with a song for it like I just got dumped, “I just lost a whole bunch of money or that car just went down the street.” My mom used to say, “Would you guys shut up?” But by doing that, you know what to play and when to play it. If you know music and love it, you’ll know what to do.

Selecta-T will be deejaying at Purdue University on Nov. 20. He can also be heard at ReggaeEmpireRadio.com on Fridays from 4 p.m. – 6 p.m. and Saturdays from 5 p.m. – 7 p.m. More information on Tzaddi Terrier can be found on Facebook.com.