Interview: DJ Jazzy Joyce on “Master of the Mix” Reality Show
DJ Jazzy Joyce has put in work. Falling in love with the art of DJing since age 13 and putting a mark on Hip-Hop since the 80s, she’s proven that DJing is a craft that has no gender. She’s been a DJ on Hot 97 for over ten years and she is the only female in Funkmaster Flex’s Big Dawg Pitbulls crew.
I had the opportunity to sit down and talk with Jazzy Joyce, who is a great conversationalist and down-to-earth person, about her experience on the upcoming reality show Master of the Mix.
SEVEN DJs. EIGHT EPISODES. ONE MASTER…
SelenaBailey: What is the premise of the show “Master of the Mix?”
Jazzy Joyce: “Master of the Mix” is a reality show all about DJs. We had to live in a house and do the whole nine. We are faced with challenges, there are eliminations and we are competing for a quarter of a million dollars.
SelenaBailey: What was it like living in the house with the six other DJs?
Jazzy Joyce: It was a beautiful experience. The thing about it is that we’re all seasoned vets and we are all mature. I think if all of us were literally ten years younger, it would have been different. The energy would have been different but because we are grown, the way that we handled things was more on a mature level. So if there was beef…
SelenaBailey: It was really minor.
Jazzy Joyce: No, [laughing] it might not have necessarily been minor it was just different. Strategically, we just fight differently.
SelenaBailey: You are already a notable and successful DJ. What led you to the decision to be a part of the show?
Jazzy Joyce: I was apprehensive and reluctant in the beginning because it’s frightening when you put yourself out there in a big public space. And the main concern, I think, for all of us involved with the show, is that we didn’t want to be disrespectfully represented.
And in the end we were all presented in a classy way. It was very important to all of us.
SelenaBailey: Well we’ll see how they edit it…
Jazzy Joyce: [laughter] Right, right yes! When it premieres I get to see everything for the first time. That’s what I’ve been telling everybody, ‘I’ve lived it,’ but when I go to experience it with everybody else, I’m experiencing it like it’s the first time.
SelenaBailey: Many professionals have been seen in their craft on competition reality shows lately—dancers, singers, cooks, fashion designers—and finally the DJ. Do you think now is the right time or should it have been sooner?
Jazzy Joyce: I think now is the perfect time because with the rise of corny ass celebrity DJs and push button DJs that are undercutting people that really dedicated their lives to this craft, it’s the perfect time. The respect for the DJ has definitely been declining.
SelenaBailey: What do you think of a reality show about strictly female DJs?
Jazzy Joyce: I think that would only be corny because at the end of the day, my ambition to be great was not gender-based. I was just bottom line striving for greatness. It had nothing to do with my genitalia.
SelenaBailey: In your opinion, why weren’t more New York DJs chosen to represent and compete on the show?
Jazzy Joyce: I think they didn’t choose more NY DJs because at the end of the day who would be able to stand and compete. No disrespect, but myself and DJ Scratch, represent NY. I think we are two of the best. If you had to separate it into gender, I think I’m top notch for the females and he was a good choice for the males.
SelenaBailey: So then going into this, were you confident enough to think you had it in the bag?
Jazzy Joyce: Walking into it I just knew that I was going to have to call on every facet of my life experience as far as my craft. I didn’t know what to expect. Everything that you’re going to witness when you watch the show is real. It’s really real. For the challenges, we didn’t know until the last compound. I just went in there and said my prayer and said I’m just going to be the best me that I can be.
SelenaBailey: Was it challenging overall?
Jazzy Joyce: I think for someone else it would have been hard but my life experiences helped me deal and cope with the situations at hand. It’s tough. It might appear to be not so tough on TV but we really were gone. We really lived in a house together. Everything that you’re going to see is reality. Every day was a long day. They kept us on our toes and it was just part of the mental warfare of the entire competition nature. But like I said, everything that I’ve experienced and dealt with, not only with my career, but in life, has prepared me.
SelenaBailey: Do you think it should be on a different network?
Jazzy Joyce: No, I think it is important that it’s on BET and Centric. It’s excellent that it’s on two networks, but most importantly it had to be on BET because the youth need to see it. They don’t see many visual representations of the DJ like we did growing up so it’s essential to be on BET.
SelenaBailey: After the show airs, what do you think the next step will be for you in your career?
Jazzy Joyce: I’m definitely hoping that the exposure allows me to play in a bunch of new arenas that I have not been able access and touch down on. I’ve been blessed to have longevity but eventually at some point I’m going to have to branch out. I’m maturing. I’m hoping it will ultimately expose me to a wider audience.
SelenaBailey: You’ve already toured the world right?
Jazzy Joyce: I’ve been to a lot of places, but there are still many places I haven’t been and that’s what I’m hoping this will do. And I’m also hoping that it will allow me command some of these salaries that some of these punk sucker celebrity DJs have been getting. Can I get a little bit of the Cheese? [laughter] I’ve never seen some of these price quotes that some of these people are getting and I’m genuinely talented. And I’m not Hating.
Put it like this, this is the best example: I can’t just run up in the operating room and push the chief surgeon aside and be like ‘yo I got this appendectomy son. I got it. And I’m not charging that much. Plus Imma do the hysterectomy next door and I’m cutting the price.’
I can’t do that. I can not do that. I have to go to medical school. I have to go through everything. So it’s totally unfair that a lot people just step in and they have no regard, nor did they go through anything. They don’t have any stripes of honor for rites of passage to be able to come in. Again I’m not hating, but it’s like they’re saying, ‘Imma just smash your shorty because I feel like it.’ And then I can’t even protect her—Her being hip-hop. [Metaphorically] It’s like they’re raping my chick.
SelenaBailey: Do you think other DJs on Master of the Mix have put in as much work as you have?
Jazzy Joyce: Everyone on the show has definitely carved their own lane. We all have our own respectable lane and everybody has done their thing. But out of all of us, I was definitely responsible for kicking down a lot of doors. And I’m respected because I really was there. Nobody can take that away from me.
SelenaBailey: Have the people around you been supportive of you doing the show?
Jazzy Joyce: Everyone is enthusiastic about this. This is hot and I think the world is going to have a major appreciation for DJs once they see the show. And the beautiful thing about this is that a large percentage of the people responsible for the creation of the show were actual DJs and have a sincere love for the culture.
SelenaBailey: That’s a major thing to take note of because on a lot of reality shows the host and the judges have absolutely nothing to do with the craft or the profession.
Jazzy Joyce: Right. And In this show, the challenges intertwine and correlate with the guest judges.
SelenaBailey: Okay, where do you see yourself in the next five years?
Jazzy Joyce: In five years, I see myself helping other artists more and leaning toward production because that’s the only thing I’m not known for. That’s what I see myself heavily involved with but still working as a DJ and staying in the music industry. And in ten years, I don’t know. And you know what? I’m not afraid of not being able to foresee ten years down the line because when I was doing what I was doing all this time, I was just living the culture of Hip-Hop. I didn’t know I was making history. There was nobody before me. I was walking by faith a long time ago. The one blessed thing about me is a large percentage of the things I’ve imagined, have come true. I remember watching Soul Train when I was younger and I said to myself that I would get on there one day. I didn’t know how was going to make it there, but I made it there. To me that was a major accomplishment because I set it out in my mind. I’m saying all that because it’s okay to dream.
SelenaBailey: Would you say, overall, that you’ve been really blessed in your life?
Jazzy Joyce: O.M.G. Yes! Totally blessed beyond belief. A lot of people live their life worrying about money. No, I haven’t been monetarily as successful as I wish, but maybe it’s coming. I don’t mind working hard. When I look back on my life I have been tremendously blessed. My turntables have taken me places that I would have never been able to go. I have friends in different countries and that would have never happened if I didn’t take the leap of faith and follow what I was feeling, in terms of being born and raised, and still residing, in the Bronx, the home of Hip-Hop. A lot of people ask me, ‘What influenced you’ and I say, ‘Everyday waking up and going outside.’ This was my destiny by birth right.
SelenaBailey: Any closing words?
Jazzy Joyce: Yeah Thank you so much and Shout out to DJ Enuff. Shout of to everybody logging on to ThatsEnuff.com. I thank everyone for reading.
Catch Master of the Mix on Centric Tonight, Nov.3 at 10:30! It will re-air on BET, Saturday Nov. 6 at Midnight. SEVEN DJs. EIGHT EPISODES. ONE MASTER