Thursday, November 19, 2009

DJ Prostyle in Club B.E.D. in South Beach, Florida

Simply walking into Club B.E.D. which is located in South Beach, Florida is an experience. Once you enter the club you are surrounded by long luxurious translucent white curtains and blue and pink lights. The space is almost other worldly and is more like a lounge/ romance novel bedroom rather than what is normally deemed a club. The space contains multiple king size beds surrounded by curtains available for those who purchase VIP along with an expansive bar. But the main focus in B.E.D. is the beds, rather than the dance floor. Some beds are actually on what can be deemed as the dance floor. Although there is extensive room to dance the dance floor is not an interrupted space, so you kind of dance around the beds. This leads me to believe that the spatial plan for the club was to be more of a lounge area than a raging dance club. This isn’t the type of club that would host a rave it is more of the type of space that you can “two step” in. This is a place that you go to relax and enjoy the music along with the company of others.

Demographically the club was ethnically and racially diverse which is typical of the Miami area. The club at least on Saturday nights is twenty-one and over and the crowd the night I was there appeared to be in its early twenties. People were pretty dressed up which is reflective of the glamorous South Beach style.

The famous DJ Prostyle was the DJ for the night and through his music he really made my experience at the club one of the best I have ever had. Prostyle is a Queens, New York native, but he moved to Orlando, Florida when he was thirteen and that is really where his musical career took off. Currently he has a position of the Friday DJ on the popular 106 and Park show on BET. He also has had his music featured on XBOX and has DJed for BET’s Spring Bling which is a fashion show broadcasted by the network. Prostyle is also part of the Heavy Hitters which is a group of DJs that put out extremely popular mixtapes of current Rap and R&B music. DJ Enough is probably the most famous of the Heavy Hitters. Apart from being a DJ that travels across the country entertaining at the most famous clubs and venues Prostyle is the CEO of his own label All Pro Records. Prostyle is Dominican and his Hispanic identity greatly influences his music and the artists he works with. He is a HipHop, Rap and R&B DJ, but frequently his music is infused with Reggaeton and Reggae samples highlighting his roots. He also frequently works closely with artists ranging from Reggaeton’s Daddy Yankee to P Diddy. Prostyle has been attributed by his Heavy Hitter DJ peers as bringing the HipHop music scene to Orlando, Florida which is an enormous accomplishment. Due to his fame and his personality, Prostyle lives a very glamorous life similar to many rappers, making him very recognizable to fans.

When Prostyle was at the turn tables in B.E.D. he really displayed his skills. I think that one of the most important parts to Djing is being perceptive of the people at the venue playing to the environment and what the people want to hear. He really played to the crowd while still playing to the environment of the lounge style venue. Prostyle was well aware of the demographics of the club people in their 20’s and played music which I will go out on a limb and call our “old school” basically songs that were popular when we were of high school age. It allowed the crowd to reminisce and sing along to the songs and it seemed as though everyone knew the lyrics. He also initially played more “chill” or slower songs which contributed to the lounge style atmosphere. An example of this type of song he played was G-Unit’s featuring Joe’s “Wanna Get to Know You”. This skill of preception really connected the audience to the music and grabbed their attention. As the night carried on he picked faster newer songs that encouraged more dancing. An example of this is New Boyz “You’re a Jerk”. As the night went on the club also started to fill up more and he mixed the songs or scratched them a lot more which also increased the energy. Although the physical club did not change the music alone changed the atmosphere from lounge to more of a dancing club. During this time he would switch songs more and repeat popular lines further ampting up the energy. Although many DJs do some of these tactics Prostyles perception of the crowd was extremely in tune so that his mastering of this skill was very apparent. I recall saying throughout that night that “he is such a good DJ” and the people around me agreed. It can be argued that the music makes the party and his music made it one of the best club experiences I have ever had. There was not one person in the club was not, singing, dancing or rocking to the music.

The physical placement of the DJ booth was my one complaint. I enjoy seeing the DJ work when I go the club and the DJ booth was on a 10 foot walled platform in the back of the club next to the bathroom. I feel as though this spatial placement adds to the anonymity of the DJ which I feel is a problem in this art form. I find it also disrespectful to have an artist especially one as famous and accomplished like Prostyle placed in such close proximity to the restroom. It makes it seem as though DJs a merely part of the scenery like speaker rather than a musician. When comparing the spatial placement of the DJ booth in this club and in other similar clubs to the front and center placement of a singer or a rapper at a concert or club, the poor treatment of the DJ becomes apparent. Would a singer be being performing in a non visible section of a club or concert venue, I think not. Is this spatial placement of the DJ stating that they are not real musicians and therefore not deserving of a front and center placement? The front and center placement of these other types of artists allows them visibility, credit and notoriety which I feel is lacking for the DJ. I would like to argue that the DJ is a musician and that this type of spatial placement makes it seem as though they are not. The only advantage I can think of linked to this placement is that it is raised and that the DJ can observe the crowd without the view being obscured which is important to their perception of the crowd. Because of the lack of visibility of Prostyle yet his overall control of the atmosphere, mood of the club and the crowd through his perception it was almost like he was the omnipresent God of the club. In this case Prostyle was the God of the B.E.D.

"BED South Beach Magazine's Club Guide." South Beach Hotels Miami Beach Hotels South Beach USA's Guide. Web. 18 Nov. 2009. .

"DJ PROSTYLE on MySpace Music - Free Streaming MP3s, Pictures & Music Downloads." MySpace. Web. 18 Nov. 2009. .

"DJ Prostyle on" Homepage on Web. 18 Nov. 2009. .

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