Mick Boogie: the pop arts interview

Jeremy Porter

Cleveland DJ is mixtape maestro for Dr. Dre, 50 Cent

DJ Mick Boogie mans the turntables last Wednesday night at the Cavaliers after party at Cloud 9 in Cleveland’s warehouse district.

Credit: Beth Rankin

DJ Mick Boogie has been an active presence on the Cleveland club scene since 1999 when he quickly landed DJ-ing gigs at such notable hotspots as Cloud 9, Spy Bar and Wish Niteclub and a mixing job at WENZ/107.9. When he’s not producing mixtapes featuring the likes of 50 Cent, Ghostface Killah and Dr. Dre, Boogie keeps busy Thursday nights at House of Blues’ Old-School Hip Hop nights, Fridays at Spy Bar and, beginning this month, Saturdays at the Vivo Lounge. He also provides music for the after-parties of Cleveland Cavaliers games at Cloud 9 in the Warehouse District. Pop Arts reporter Jeremy Porter caught up with Boogie in a recent Q&A conducted via e-mail.


Jeremy Porter: Where is your hometown?

Mick Boogie: I was born in Youngstown, Ohio … in 1978. I moved to Cleveland in 1996 for school. I’ve been here ever since.


At what age did you begin to have a love for hip-hop?

I was in second or third grade when I started hearing artists like LL Cool J, Run DMC, Fresh Prince and Jazzy Jeff.


Did you play any instruments before becoming a DJ?

Yeah. I played drums and piano, which made it really easy to become a DJ, actually. They’re similar concepts.


Did anyone teach you how to use the turn tables?

Nope … all self-taught.


I heard you went to college at John Carroll University. What was your major?

Marketing. I’m back there now getting my MBA. I will be done in four months.


At John Carroll University, what was your radio show “The Butters” about?

Breaking the new hot underground hip-hop before anyone else. And I think we did a great job. I miss that period of my DJ career; it was a lot of fun. The show lives on, though … on Case Western Reserve Radio … my partner Garbs has carried the torch.

Are you still on radio today, and what stations?

WENZ-Cleveland and WRED-Maine daily. And my mixes play on Sirius Satellite Radio, as well.


What clubs do you DJ at?

Thursdays … House of Blues. Fridays … Spy Bar. Saturdays … Vivo Lounge (starting in February).


What was it like being on BET’s “The Bassment”?

It was great fun. Big Tigger is a nice guy. It was an honor, and I’m happy and proud to have been a part of it.


Do you have a favorite mixtape that you’ve made?

I think The Commissioner CD, which was my latest, and also my best of Ghostface — called The Wallabee Championship — which Ghostface himself hosted.


Name some of the artists on your mixtapes.

Well, we always have the national artists on there; that’s what sells the tape. Banks, 50, Game, Jada, Slim Thug, Hov, Fat Joe … people like that. And to have collaborated on CDs with a lot of those people is an honor and a blessing. Plus, we always rep some local artists on there too — Saj Supreme (who lived down in Kent for a long time), Epik, Kingdom, Copywrite, Eddie Bauer and more.


How many mixtapes have you made so far?

Not even sure … over 20.


What is your connection with LeBron James?

He has revitalized the city … I’m helping out with the music on his site, LeBron James.com. I also collaborated with the Chemical Kickdrums and put together a hot, new intro for his new site, which should be up really soon. I also DJ at some Cavaliers games, which is a lot of fun. It’s a great networking opportunity.


You’ve won many DJ awards, what would you say is your most prized award?

The awards are cool, but I like when other DJs compliment a mixtape I’ve made. That’s better than a plaque any day because most DJs are haters by nature. We have picky ears. So for them to like something says a lot.


What would you say is your most successful accomplishment?

We have a successful crew of DJs, The League, which is myself, Joey Fingaz (former Kent State student) and DJ Jon (out of Maine). We all bring uniqueness and creativity to the game. I’m proud of the fact we have come together like we have and are all achieving things individually and collectively.


What failures or mistakes have you made?

Some bad relationships in the past have set me back … but you live and learn. For every bad situation, you find five good ones. And nothing is really a failure; it really is a learning experience. I know that’s clich‚, but it’s true.


What was your part in the movie Mixtape Inc., the first ever documentary on mixtape culture?

They interviewed me as a Midwest representative for the film, which was an honor. I also did half of their mixtape soundtrack, which appeared on DVD and is out now.


What are your future projects?

I just completed a “Dr. Dre Lost Tapes” mixtape, which is a bunch of rarities and remixes not really heard before. It’s hosted by Kurt Loder from “MTV News,” which gives it a real documentary feel. I’m also finishing up (along with Lights Out Productions) a really creative Eminem remix CD called Emerica coming soon. Lastly, me and Joey Fingaz did a CD with Nas called God’s Gift coming this spring.


Any last words?

Please check out my Web site … www.mickboogie.com. You can holla at us for bookings, mixtapes or whatever right through the site. We appreciate all the support. Thanks!


Portions of this e-mail interview have been paraphrased.

Contact pop arts reporter Jeremy Porter at [email protected].