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The soul of Philadelphia DJs

As summer heats up, Philly DJs spin records to match and shape the moods of their city.
Philly DJ Lean Wit It says he uses his music to uplift audiences. (Courtesy of DJ Lean Wit It)

Philadelphia DJs are entertainers that find ways to unite people through their scratches of the latest hip-hop jams and their blends of soulful classics. From legendary DJ Jazzy Jeff to soulful mixmaster Rich Medina, Philadelphia DJs have left an indelible mark on popular music and earned a reputation from music lovers worldwide as some of the best to ever rock a party.

But whether people are dancing to their favorite songs at summer block parties or showing off their newest dance moves at a club or bar, good music and the DJs that play it are an integral part of Philly’s culture. 

Philly has a tough reputation as the city that created Rocky Balboa and even booed Santa Claus at an Eagles game. Fortunately for DJ Lean Wit It, that Philly toughness makes his connection to the people that love his mixes that much stronger.

“I feel like the DJ has a responsibility,” Lean Wit It said. “When Trump got inaugurated, I DJed the night before and the night of his inauguration. You could feel the [low] energy in the city, especially amongst people of color. Having an audience of disenfranchised people of color, I felt like it was my duty to play music that was uplifting [and made] people leave with some sort of hope. Playing Kendrick Lamar’s ‘Alright’ record those two nights had so much more meaning.” 

Astro 8000 is another local DJ who has used his talents to bring people of all different backgrounds together to celebrate being different, through eclectic events like the Pink Party. Born in Lebanon, Pennsylvania, Astro 8000 fell in love with the Philadelphia music scene through a close friend and never looked back. 

“One of my best friends that produces music lives out here, so I would come out to Philly all of the time. He actually grew up with DJ Buzzworthy and DJ Diamond Kuts uptown, so I got plugged in with Buzzworthy,” Astro recalled. “Buzz eventually told me that him and Diamond Kuts liked how I DJed and invited me to be part of [Diamond Kuts’] Born Leaders DJ squad.” 

Learning alongside popular DJ Diamond Kuts also opened Astro’s eyes up to having inclusive events, a signature of Philly’s club scene. 

“I don’t really like specifically any one kind of culture or scene at my parties or events. I throw the Pink Party because pink is a universal thing as a color and not just the so-called cool kids come out, but all kinds of people with open minds who just want to party,” he said.

No matter what is happening in the world, one thing is certain: Philly’s DJs will continue to uplift people and bring the community together one song at a time.

Notable Philly DJ Moments In History

DJ Jazzy Jeff:

As one half of the iconic Philly hip-hop duo DJ Jazzy Jeff & The Fresh Prince, Jeffrey “Jazzy Jeff” Townes found even more fame on the small screen as Jazz, Will Smith’s beloved best friend on the mega-popular '90s sitcom "The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air."

DJ Diamond Kuts:

As one of the most well-known voices on Philadelphia radio, DJ Diamond Kuts showed how important a DJ’s voice can be, as part of former President Barack Obama’s “Deejays For Obama” campaign.  The Born Leader DJ would not only perform for and develop a rapport with Obama but also helped to endear him to her young audience of trendsetters.