Skeme Richards – What’s Good(?)

Hailing from Philadelphia, global DJ, cultural ambassador, and foodie (among many other hats), Skeme Richards has established himself as a connoisseur of cool for over 30 years.  Whether it was with his former imprint Hot Peas & Butta or his new venture Nostalgia King, Skeme is known globally as a tastemaker with roots in hip-hop, martial arts, and blaxploitation films.

As someone who’s been involved in the culture for so long, Skeme’s natural ability to connect people has allowed him to take advantage of the changing landscape that’s come with the spread of the internet and social media.  The self-proclaimed “pop culture preserver” says “I want to be the connector.  In the past, I feel like different scenes were so segregated.  I’m into 10 different things, so I want to connect people from those 10 different communities into one.”

With all of his ventures, his role as a DJ is still his bread and butter.  For example, he recently spun at the Marvel and Netflix collaboration, Marvel’s Luke Cage, an event that brought together the worlds of hip-hop and blaxploitation style television.  This is an extension of one of his most popular outlets, his all 45” vinyl parties originally known under Hot Peas & Butta.  

SHAOLIN JAZZ (interview via Myk Blauuw) recently had a chance to talk to Skeme on his career and how he’s seen things change over the years, as well as his favorite burger (he recently started his hamburger reviews in a section, on his website Nostalgia King, called “The Drop – A Conversation Over Beef”) and the one record he’s still on the hunt for.

Check out more of our conversation by clicking here:

SHAOLIN JAZZ: So how have you seen the role of the DJ evolve over your long time on the scene?

Skeme Richards: The difference now versus then was in the 80’s and early 90’s, people were fiendin’ to find what was new and what was the next thing.  Now, I feel like DJ’s aren’t necessarily looking for the next thing, they’re looking for what works; and I’m all about making and breaking records.  I still firmly believe in finding something and working it into your set.  And the good thing about it is that we now have podcasts and we also have blogs where we can write about this music if we’re not playing it in the club.  We can still write about it and hopefully people are listening and are like “oh, I didn’t know that.”  We now have satellite radio and hopefully satellite radio DJ’s are breaking records.

SJ: What was your experience working with Record Breakin?

SR: They’re hands down, the most amazing label.  The most open, creative label in working with artists of all different types.  For 10 years, their catalog is impressive.  First of all, I love them because they’re local.  Not everyone can say there’s a local label doing big things that you can reach out to and say “hey, I have a project, let me present this to you.”  [Record Breakin founder] Junior has an incredible ear for putting out music.  Everything he puts out he’s passionate about.  He’s just passionate about putting out quality music.  They’re open to doing things that aren’t the norm.  Like how many people would put out a Shifting Gears right now in the United States?  That’s something that the Japanese would do because they’re always putting out dope break mixtapes like that.  Most labels aren’t even thinking of you doing anything like that.  They’re not even on that level.

SJ: Can you talk a bit about what your audience looks like?

SR: An audience for an artist like myself is a niche market which is why, as an artist like myself, you have to do multiple things to survive or to stay relevant.  Like with me, they know Skeme as the DJ, the collector, that’s a different market.  They also know Skeme as the burger connoisseur, so that’s a different market.  There are independent artists like myself who are known around the world and have traveled around the globe, but it’s a particular audience.  We have to do multiple things to stay on top of what we’re doing and there’s nothing wrong with that.  It’s great.  The slow grind is better than no grind and at the end of the day I don’t have to work a day job and I haven’t worked a day job since 2012.

SJ: I know you have a pretty expansive 45” collection, but is there any record that you’ve missed out on or are still looking to add to your stacks?

SR: Anything that was meant to come to me eventually comes to me but there’s a 45,” Gamith, the name of the song is called Darkness.  I’d have to get that if I came across it.

SJ: You’re clearly a historian when it comes to martial arts flicks.  Have you come across any movies in the past few years and thought, “That’s going to be a classic” in that same vein?

SR: The last great era of stuff coming out that really flipped my wig was when Jet Li was coming with his new wave martial arts flicks or even the John Woo flicks that were coming out like Killer and all those things.  They’re not martial arts exactly, but a part of that Hong Kong cinema.

SJ: Last question, top 3 burgers?

SR: Top three burgers I would probably say Father’s Office in LA.  I got hip to Father’s Office back in the mid-2000s through a friend who lived in LA and worked for a Hollywood producer.  When I got up with him he’d be like, “Yo, we’re going to go check out this trip real quick and go get lunch.”  We would always go to Father’s Office.  They had a great burger and they had a great beer selection.  So, Father’s Office.  In Philadelphia, there’s a place called Village Whiskey and they make the most amazing burgers.  The Whiskey King is the burger I get all the time.  It has foie gras on top of it and it’s perfect.  And a place in Germany called Feta Cou, which translates to Fat Cow.  Amazing burger, amazing beer selection.  It’s perfect.  So to me, those three places are top notch.

To learn more about what’s good with Skeme including his upcoming mixtape Shifting Gears 2, a kung-fu inspired mix set to drop in early 2018, visit www.nostalgiaking.com.  

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About gmoney77

My name is Gerald Watson and I do lifestyle marketing for various companies/agencies. The purpose of this blog is to highlight the people I work with, the work I do as well as the shit I see on the regular.

Posted on November 13, 2017, in Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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