How did your career as a deejay begin?
Professionally it started with Kris Kross. Before that, I started in Durham, N.C., where I’m from.
How did you get the name DJ Nabs?
Nabs is short for Nabisco cookies. In junior high school a friend said I look like a skinny pack of Nabs and it just stuck from there. So I already had the nickname Nabs for four years when I first started deejaying in the 10th grade.
What was the first event you deejayed?
A local house party.
What’s the best event you’ve ever deejayed?
Michael Jackson’s Dangerous tour in 1992. Arsenio Hall and Soul Train stand out also.
What was the first record you bought?
“Ring My Bell” by Anita Ward.
What song gets the party started?
It depends on the age group. “Before I Let Go” by Frankie Beverly and Maze, “Set It Off,” and, of course, for the youngsters, Biggie.
How big is your vinyl collection and what do you think of the technology available to deejays?
It fills one whole side of my garage. The new technology is amazing, but it’s about what you do with it. You have to do the basics: mixing, scratching, crowd control. This is still important whether or not you have a great piece of equipment.
How would you describe the overall state of deejaying?
Everything works in cycles. There are good and terrible DJs. The terrible DJs rely on the technology, like laptops and doing the minimum to just get by. The good DJs who keep it basic will still be around 10 years from now.
Favorite song of all time?
That’s hard. I have to go by eras. One of my favorite eras is the early ’90s with Public Enemy, X-Clan, Native Tongues. Their message, about black people getting it together, still applies today.
How do you spend your free time?
When I finish deejaying, I clock out and I go home. I’m an amateur boxer now and my health is more important to me than anything. My wife and I are going to Turkey on [Jan. 25]. I want to see the world before I die.
What advice would you give to up-and-coming deejays?
Study the best to be the best.