Lee Farmer was a DJ before he ever saw a set of turntables. He and his younger brother would sneak into their father’s jazz collection and listen to records for hours. As they got older, they were able to purchase a mismatched set of broken down turntables and taught each other how to mix.
By the time Lee made it to high school, he started attending parties thrown by his high school friend, Bad Boy Bill, and mentor, Julian Perez.
After graduating from high school, Lee decided to join the Navy and moved to Long Beach, Calif., where he connected with several other musically inclined individuals and formed a band called Infinity. Lee was also the official DJ on the USS New Jersey.
After three years in Long Beach, including six months in the Persian Gulf during Desert Shield/Storm, Farmer returned to Chicago where he took up producing and remixing full time. He reconnected with Bad Boy Bill and helped him form Mix Connection Multimedia (Moody Records and IHR Records). After the success of Mix Connection, Lee moved on to form his own Record Label (Maximo Entertainment) in 1998, and in 2000 inked a major distribution deal with Sony Music, selling over 200,000 records.
He continues to DJ and produce today. Farmer specializes in spinning all types of music and his repertoire includes hip-hop, house, soul, disco, R&B, Latin, Top 40 and just about every other popular form of dance music.
Here are Farmer’s five picks.
1. Snarky Puppy feat. Chante Cann – “Free Your Dreams”
Really dope uplifting song with incredible instrumentation. (SP actually won a Grammy this past Sunday night for another song they did with Lalah Hathaway called “Somethin.”
2. Repercussions – “Love Like the Sun”
Classic acid jazz record from one of my favorite albums of all time.
3. Vic Mensa – “Orange Soda”
Really cool record from Chicago-based up-and-coming rapper whose crew [Save Money] in my opinion is bringing the music back to hip-hop.
4. Marqueal Jordan – “Between the Sheets”
Awesome smooth jazz/steppers record from the Chicago saxophonist/vocalist.
5. Chris Rob – “Funk You Up”
Dope new funk/soul record from this Chi-Town transplant to New York.
Every Sunday night, Farmer hosts Ascension at Angels & Kings inside the Hard Rock Hotel in Chicago. The weekly event features a live band, celebrity DJs and special guests. For more on Farmer or his events, be sure to check out his YouTube page, and follow him on Twitter: @DJLeeFarmer