DJ Nash | photo courtesy of the artist
DJ Na$h Prepares to celebrate Juneteenth with an Interna$hional Bounce party at Sunflower Philly
The first time I met DJ Na$h was at a program called the Institute of Hip Hop Entrepreneurship in 2016. She had just got into DJing the year before, when a teacher at Charter High School for Architecture and Design suggested that she work on the music for an event she was throwing. Since then, the young DJ from the West Philly hasn’t looked back.
Whether spinning at Dahlak restaurant or the 700 Club or even rocking parties for Heineken Green Room and the Function, DJ Na$h’s eclectic ear for music has allowed her to receive an immense amount of love from her hometown but also in the DJ community. Her music taste has earned the respect from DJs such as DJ Hvnlee, Bobby Flowers (formerly known as DJ Lean Wit It), and even Questlove, who invited her to spin on BlackStream Live’s Twitch two months ago.
This Saturday, DJ Na$h is set to bring her back her popular event Interna$hional Bounce to Sunflower Philly to celebrate Juneteenth with the help of her peers and music genres of African diaspora such as dancehall, afrobeats, and soca. Before the festivities begin, I was able to sit and talk to DJ Na$h about her beginning stage as a DJ and how the tight knit DJ community in Philadelphia allows her to create events like Interna$hional Bounce.
The Key: Your first time DJing for a crowd was in 2015, for an event you helped put together at Charter High School for Architecture and Design, where your teacher suggested you work on the music. Why do you think she suggested that to you, and what made you open to that challenge?
DJ Na$h: I know why she suggested it, but I don’t think it was because she thought I was good with music. She told me to work on the music because she could tell that I was really trying in school with sewing and stuff but it was not my thing, I sucked! Like, she could have gave me bad grades for it, but she was like “This is not your thing, I see that you’re really trying hard,” and she was like “How about you just work on the music?” I was like “Sure why not,” because I was burning CD’s for dollar parties when I was like 11 or younger than that. I was never allowed to go to the parties, but I was burning CD’s for people, that’s why I got so heavy into club music. I was on Limewire and I had all the Philly club and Baltimore club.
I guess that’s where DJ’ing started, but it was nothing like with turntables or stuff. It was just meant to be when she said that, like a sign from the universe. Even my security guard at school was like “I can see you being like a DJ or something.” But I don’t know why people were saying that, because I was always quiet and to myself in school, so I don’t know where it came from. It may have come from when I started doing my own events. I was doing little art shows so it may have come from that.
TK: As a DJ and events curator, what do you think makes for a dope DJ?
DJ Na$h: I feel like a dope DJ, to me, is when they’re in their element and they’re not trying to play like the next DJ. Like they play whatever they want and still give everyone a vibe and make them want to dance. A lot of times, I’ll play music that people don’t know. Like at The Saint, it’s known for top 40 stuff but when I go there, I play music that people don’t even know. I’ll play a lot of club music, disco, house or anything with a bop that makes people move. I feel like music is a science, and people don’t have to know the song to have fun you know?
TK: You said growing up, your thing was club music and you love playing house music. What is some of the music you grew up listening to that got you interested into DJing?
DJ Na$h: M.I.A. is my favorite artist ever, and I think her as a person, she created my whole music taste palette — because when you think about it, she’s very clubbish and international. She’s very different when it comes to the sound, so I give my props to her because I’ve been listening to her since I was young young.
TK: That then lead to spinning at Dahlak and from there creating your own events like Beats and Babes, and Interna$hional Bounce. Besides your own events, what parties do you think have gotten some of your best sets?
DJ Na$h: Shout out to the Function. They be looking out for the cookout and I’ve grown as a DJ there. I feel like The Function has gotten some of my best sets. I have DJ’ed for them about four or five times and that crowd of people is such a vibe.
TK: Your event Interna$hional Bounce focuses on dancehall, Afro beats, soca and reggaeton, which I’ve noticed has been the go-to genres for a lot of DJs in the city. What is it about these genres that have been so appealing to DJs over the past 5 years?
DJ Na$h: It might just be like a trend right now, but it also could be that DJs are getting back to their roots. The whole thing of Interna$hional Bounce is just focusing on music of the whole African diaspora and bringing all of those cultures together as one, because we’re divided for no reason. That might be it and I feel like those genres activate us the most as Black people. They might feel it and feel the need to share it with other people.
TK: That’s real the one thing I do notice about those genres is the same thing I notice about R&B music: it makes you want to dance and dance together. Is that the reason why you brought it back for Juneteenth?
DJ Na$h: Yeah! I mean, even though we don’t do much of it, we also focus on Black American music. Even though Juneteenth is like the day the last slaves were free, I don’t know why were celebrating that because like…were we really free? So it’s like creating a whole new twist on Juneteenth and the purpose is bring Black from different cultures and places together.
TK: Interna$hional Bounce for has a solid line up of DJs in Philly such as Bobby Flowers, DJ Aura and Kingspy to name a few. I’ve also seen you link up and collaborate with other DJs in the past when it comes to events like DJ Hvnlee, D Is For Darius, and DJ Next. What do you think makes the DJ community so strong to be able to do that?
DJ Na$h: I feel like it’s definitely a small community and I didn’t realize it until I looked at the list of DJs. But we pretty much do all know each other and it is tight-knit. I can contact anyone if I don’t have clean music and I need it real quick I can reach out to anyone for it. I feel close to a lot of DJs. Someone who’s helped me a lot is Bobby Flowers, he’s definitely helped me not make certain mistakes and that industry is the industry. People will take your money and finesse you for your ideas. Can’t share too much, I didn’t tell anyone about Interna$hional Bounce until everything was secured because I couldn’t believe that I got that space.
For more on DJ Na$h’s Interna$hional Bounce party at Sunflower, go here. Below check out DJ Na$h’s Interna$hional Bounce Vol.1 mix, as well as her Juneteenth Playlist from Apple Music.