All-Purpose DJ Stakes His Claim
Houston—Growing up in the tough streets of Chicago, a 12-year-old Fred Malone would bypass the basketball courts on his way home from school and head to his parent’s basement.
“I grew up in an area with gangs and drive-bys,” he recalls, “and instead of hanging with the boys after school, you could catch me in the basement mixing on the turntables.”
His mentor teaching him the ins and outs on the ones and twos was a neighborhood DJ named Stormy. “I would see how other DJs in the neighborhood were so into it whenever they were on the decks, beat mixing, or being a hype man,” says Malone. “And seeing people having a good time with the music and the DJ being the main influence—that made me want to DJ. And Stormy took me on as my teacher.”
When we was 14, Malone’s family situation changed, necessitating a move to Houston, where he re-cast himself as DJ F. “Coming from a low-income family has it downs,” he says.
“But I was willing to make it out and do what I had to do.”
At school, he did what he had to do, and made some connections that would steer him to a DJ path: he eventually drifted towards a popular local teen club called Attitudes, where, for nearly a year, he trained his eye on the DJ booth until he stepped into it. “At 15-years old, I got into the booth for the first time and rocked the show,” he says. “I loved that feeling of giving people a good time. After the gig, people came up to me and asked who I was and said, ‘You rock,’ and ‘You did your thing, boy.’”
Malone thought to himself that maybe he had something going on here. He began playing parties and other gigs, and soon decided that his DJ name wasn’t the right brand for him.
“I was DJing one night,” he says, “and I said into the mic, ‘It’s DJ F in the building!’ As I put the mic down, I thought to myself that DJ F just does not sound right.”
He grabbed the mic, and said to the crowd, “Everyone, let me reintroduce myself: My name is DJ 1.2.” The crowd loved it.
But DJ 1.2 didn’t properly “arrive” as a DJ until…