Ricci Steez

Edited: Olivia Suleimon

Photography: Sharon Marrero

"Growing up in the Bronx was weird, I did typical things like running away from dogs and jumping over fences and baseball in the street but I  was also a dork and a nerd that would go inside and watch pokemon and play with Yugio cards. Being from the Bronx and going to art school, it was the street art that inspired me around my area; the graffiti, it was becoming a thing, especially in the school I went to. Everybody was writing and tagging up black books and going bombing. I tried to do that for a little bit but one night I had to run from cops and I was just like this is not for me, I'm not about this life, so I just stopped. I kept it in the books and I took it to the computers."

"Music has always been a love of mine. My father used to produce RnB, nothing really got out to the mainstream but there was a lot of good stuff in the studio that I would hear all the time. But me, I like turn up music, you know, go crazy, but that’s just my generation, that’s just my youth. 808’s and hard hitting kicks that’s what I was into."

"The first time I wanted to DJ I went to a festival; I saw that there was no rapper, there was no singer, there was no artist, the DJ was the artist and the DJ controlled thousands of people and I was like this is crazy, this is crazy. The build ups in the track and the drop and then everyone just screams, that’s outrageous and I was like,

'Oh man I got to get into this.'

I’ve always been around it though, because im from the Bronx and growing up in the Bronx you see it all the time; at parks, barbeques, or like get togethers- the old school DJ’s and the scratching."

"My friend hooked me up, she gave me my first gig, I was so nervous. I sucked, it was terrible, I was terrible. My library was so small and I didn’t have enough songs so i couldnt really go in and out of tracks. I could read the crowd but I probably didn’t have what they wanted to hear yet so it was just a disaster but it was good because it was the greatest learning experience I ever had. I went home and for that whole week I just downloaded hella songs: RnB, Pop, House, Disco, Hip Hop, Trap just a whole bunch of stuff. I didn’t even know who some of the artists were, I was just looking for whatever’s poppin’. I started finding my own sound, but after time you start knowing exactly how to read a crowd and what the right tunes are." 

"If you don’t love it don’t do it. I worked a 9 to5 and its just depressing because its not really where you want to be but you get this sense of you have to, but I started feeling like that’s just more of a fear. I don’t know what your circumstance may be but you don’t really have to. You do have to just jump and take that risk, treat your craft and your dream and your goal like your 9 to 5 and things will start to change, if you make your 9 to 5 a priority then it will always be your priority, what you really want to do will always be on the back. It took me a while to learn and realise that, your fear keeps you there because you're like, I got bills. 

I have a mouth to feed, I've got full custody of my daughter so it is a fear but when you're good at what you do and you feel like you are, that’s not being cocky, that’s just knowing that you’ve seen it and you’ve seen the results to go take that risk and just do it."

"You hear a lot of mouth from family members,  but you have to take it and you have to show them why you did this, and how happy it makes you . If its genuine they can't do nothing, they can worry but they can't say much about it. It's like he’s happy, it's genuine, this is whats happening, these are the results, it's proven, there’s visuals for it, it's all on paper, theres contracts, so its not fake, it's not a phase, it's real. You gotta be brave enough to do it."