Rolling out’s Master DJ series spotlights DJs recognized in their respective cities who are making an impact in their communities.
DJ Jamad was inspired to rock turntables in the 1980s while growing up in Allentown, Pennsylvania. After moving to Atlanta in 1987, he started working to save for college but then changed his mind and enlisted in the Air Force. Traveling and living in different places expanded his knowledge, especially by adapting creatively to new environments.
In 2000, he started creating the now legendary Afromentals mixtape series and has become known for blending classic R&B, soul, funk, techno and ambient sounds.
In addition to mixtapes, he produced more than 236 episodes of the “Afromentals Mixshow,” a long-standing weekly radio broadcast that previously aired on Sirus Satellite Radio’s Hip-Hop Nation.
Jamad is a mentor to aspiring DJs in Atlanta and has been instrumental in helping them enhance their skills or stay on the right path. He is heavily involved in the community, encouraging healthy eating, having a positive impact and assisting your fellow man.
DJ Jamad’s talents keep him spinning at parties and festivals coast to coast and in more than 12 countries. He still releases mixtapes and does his weekly “Afromentals Mixshow” on ABLRadio.com. He also provides a weekly “Afromentals” mix during Derrick Harpers “Cutting Edge” show, which airs on MAJIC 107.5FM in Atlanta.
How did you come up with your DJ name?
I couldn’t think of any cool DJ handles so I decided to go with my birth name my parents gave me. Jamad was the best choice for this purpose.
When did you start DJing?
The summer of 1986. That’s when I became serious about purchasing equipment and vinyl records.
What or who were your early passions and influences?
NYC DJs: Mr. Magic, Red Alert, Chuck Chillout. And in Philly: DJ Lady B and mixes by Jeff Mills on mix shows.
How would you define your style of DJing?
I enjoy intermixing music from all genres past and present. My intentions are to always use sounds that uplift and are pleasing to the soul. Ultimately, my aim is to always bring people together positively on a higher spiritual vibration.
What’s your process for selecting a song to play during your sets or at a gig?
I scan the environment and will select accordingly based on the visual responses of people. I like to keep things strictly “foreplay” at first before turning things up and dropping the hammer! Once the dance floor is hot, I just keep the fire going.
What’s one musical experience that changed your life?
Seeing Jamiroquai perform live at an old warehouse off Buford Highway [in Atlanta] for $12. That performance!
How did music inspire you to become who you are today?
I listen to a lot of thought-provoking music that promotes creativity and expands one’s overall consciousness. The music becomes the theme of your personal movie or lifestyle.
Name three musicians who you believe changed the world.
James Brown, Jimi Hendrix and Earth, Wind & Fire.
List three DJs you admire who made an influence on the DJ culture. Why these three?
DJ Jazzy Jeff. Best live performance DJ [and] producer because of the way he composes his routines. He cuts and scratches with ultra precision.
Benji B. His show “Deviation” helped to showcase and expand the indie soul [and] electronic genres around the world still to this very day.
Hannah Faith. I have a great appreciation for female DJs that keep the culture progressing because they have great power in shaping minds by what they choose to play and not promote.
Who are your three favorite producers of music? Why?
DJ Premier [for his] samples, sequencing, song structure and themes.
Kaytranada [for his] samples, unique sound, versatility.
J Dilla. He’s the greatest [and] a trailblazer that created a whole new generation of beat-making producers.
Who is your favorite artist to play or mix?
What are the top five clubs where you like to spin?
Soundtable, Opera, El Bar, The Music Room, All Lounges [in Atlanta]
Provide 10 songs in your playlist that would create the perfect musical experience.
1. A Race of Angels, “Main Attraction”
2. Spacek, “Dollar”
3. Slum Village, “Players”
4. Eric B & Rakim, “I Ain’t No Joke”
5. Tamia, “Leave It Smoke’n”
6. Kaytranada, “You’re The One”
7. The Internet, “Dontcha”
8. Masego, “Lady Lady”
9. Tom Misch, “Water Baby”
10. E. Jones, “SLD (Quiet Storm Hour)”
What’s your social media handles?
@DJJAMAD on Twitter
@Jamad710 on Instagram