Dope beats the world 

DMC World Champion switches tracks from battle to recording/club scene DJ

Who: DJ Dopey

Where: GLC

When: Sunday, Jan. 8

Tickets: $10

DMC World Champion DJ Dopey, alter ego Jon Santiago, is stepping away from the battle scene, but isn’t resting on his gold turntables awarded to him at the 2003 competition – where he became only the second Canadian to ever win the title.

He will bring his award-winning, make-your-head-nod beats Sunday, Jan. 8 to the Garibaldi Lift Company.

With the championship putting the spotlight on his talents, the Toronto-based scratch wizard is running with the momentum and the world-wide exposure that came with his win. He has completed two collaborative albums (one released this year, the other awaiting release) and is now turning his attention to recording his own album.

"I wanted to build my name, get a reputation in the city," he said of his time in the battle scene and the other title wins, including Canadian DMC Champion, Allies Battle Champion and Toronto DMC Champion.

"That is the route I chose. There are other routes to get into the industry, but it worked for me…. At the time I was doing it, it was good for media coverage and to build acknowledgement. I want to battle again. I am not sure when. It takes a lot of concentration and you spend all day practising. Now, I am just having fun coming up with routines not so cut throat."

Instead of approaching the decks from a scratch point of view, DJ Dopey focuses on the music he feels like playing with funky, easy to understand sets and a full, pumped dance floor.

The music grabbing Dopey’s ears these days rocks to a different beat than his usual collection of hip hop.

"Right now I am trying to gain more rock knowledge," he said. "I am listening to a lot of The Doors, Pink Floyd and a bit of Led Zeppelin. I am not keeping up too much with hip-hop right now. Danger Mouse was the last album I picked up."

Also added to his listening list lately are albums he picked up on his show tours through China, Japan, Asia and even Mongolia.

"There is a Mongolian hip-hop scene, but they played a lot of (the mainstream) stuff: 50 cent is really popular," Dopey said. "Hip hop is taking off everywhere."

The Turntable Monk travels the world with his sets from North America to Australia and Europe to Asia. Dopey has performed with hip-hop’s best, including DJ Q-Bert, DJ Craze, Mixmaster Mike, the Beat Junkies, Scratch Perverts and the X-Ecutioners, to new a few. He’s shared stages with the likes of Eminem, Slum Village and Frank N Dank.

His aspirations aren’t limited to solo decks, but collaborating with bands, including Columbia Record’s punk/rap group Dead Celebrity Status. The self-titled album was released last year.

"As a DJ, I tend to lock myself in by myself," Dopey said. "I learn from other people when I work with groups and teams and feed off other people. Projects like this are essential for me to grow as an artist myself."

Dopey is also working with Notes to Self, a hip-hop venture of three emcees and one producer. The group recently completed a not-yet-titled album and is currently searching out a home for the record.

"That is why I haven’t finished my album Works Vol. 1," Dopey said. "I committed myself to groups and finished albums with them and now I can get back to working on my own stuff while at the same time I am trying to progress as a turntablist producer."

Local favourite Rob Banks will join Dopey for the show. Tickets are $10. Doors open at 9 p.m.

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