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Speaks with his hands

Remember that old DJ sample, where the artist says to the crowd, "Can the drummer get some? ’Cause the drummer ain’t had none in a long time!" DJ Marquis is that drummer, and the "some" he hasn’t had are the props he truly deserves.

DJ-producer-artist Marquis is a quiet fixture in Detroit’s hip-hop and club history. He is also the first DJ to bring Latin freestyle dance music to radio – via WDRQ – where he currently spins.

"I used to buy music as a kid," Marquis says. "I started DJing in 1984. When everybody was in the toy store, I was picking up the new James Brown or Barry White. Then the videos started coming out. And seeing the mixing and things kinda got me into it."

Marquis says a good DJ knows more than just how to mix. He or she knows what records to play, who to play them for and when to play them. Even at his regular gigs, at Macomb County’s Lipsticks and Lagos nightclubs, these theories hold true.

"I would say I’m one of the pioneers," he says. "I started with the old school and I’ve been around to see the changes. I remember, back in the day, how hard it was to get a DJ mixer. Now you can get a DJ starter kit in a box." Indeed, Marquis hails from a school that includes Gary Chandler, Stacy "Hotwax" Hale, DJ Fingers and Jeff "The Wizard" Mills. He owns two record labels – Nu Flava, a hip-hop label, and Mixx Flava, a dance label – and released "Mega Mix," a club favorite, on the latter. "That was like wine," he says. "People still look for it, and it’s been getting better."

His Web site keeps local fans informed of current projects; and a new 12-inch, "This is Now/Detroit Party," hits stores in mid-March.

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