God bless shitty DJs. How else could we truly appreciate the form without them? And how else would DJ Graffiti have gotten his start?
When Graffiti (aka Martin Smith) was a freshman at the University of Michigan in 1996, a lame DJ at some party made him realize that he could do much better on the wheels of steel. So he hunkered down on summer break and honed his skills. DJ Graffiti hatched in 1997. Since then he’s opened up for such hip-hop luminaries as Rakim and Roc Raida. He hosts the wildly popular Elevation each Sunday at Ann Arbor’s Firefly Club. In addition to DJing, Graffiti is also a mixtape maestro, his latest — Certified Bangers Vol. 4 (hosted by Phat Kat) —hit the streets last month.
But, all good DJs run into at least one major problem — "What the hell do I do with all my records?" Graffiti’s old apartment in Ann Arbor ended up getting so overrun with albums that if a third person happened to show up, somebody had to leave. The place was 550 square feet and contained thousands of records. A year ago the DJ moved into his new 1,050-square-foot apartment. "My records put me out!" he says.