20 Years Later, DJ Expo Still Slammin

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In the 20-year history of the DJ Expo, more than 50,000 DJs have walked through the exhibit hall, listened and learned at the seminars and workshops, and grooved to the beats and rhymes at the late-night parties. All of these elements, after 20 years, have aged well, as evidenced by the spirited reaction among attendees at the 20-year anniversary Expo., closing today at the Trump Taj Mahal in Atlantic City—the guest list is closed, the free drinks have been drained, and the equipment has been loaded out.

More than 5,000 DJs have registered, and for the first time, the Expo exhibit floor sold out.

This years’ keynote speaker, DJ Jazzy Jeff, summed up the career trajectory of the DJ industry.

“When ‘The Fresh Prince’ debuted on TV, all of a sudden, 80-year-old white women started noticing me,” he said.  “When we debuted “Summertime” on the show, 30 million people saw it, it was mind-blowing.”

Soon, his popularity surged to a point, he said, “that killed my freedom.”

“I was driving in a drive-thru at a McDonalds, and someone saw me and said to me, ‘What’s Jazzy Jeff doing at the drive-thru?’ And I said, ‘I still like the fries.'”

Jazzy Jeff and partner Will Smith soon parted, although the two remain close friends. “From the very beginning, Will Smith said to me that he wanted to be the biggest movie star in the world. He was always making home movies, writing scripts. It was part of his game plan.”

Nowadays, Jazzy Jeff continues to DJ, every year spinning at beach festivals overseas for sun-baked throngs of 100,000 people. And although he’s retired the Gemini 2200 mixer and gone Serato, “I still have every mixer I’ve ever owned—and 120,000 vinyl records.”

More Expo Wrap up features to come…