Vinyl Tap 215’s DuiJi 13 Explains Why He Keeps Touring And Gathering Local DJs

Let me give you a window into the mind of a certain DuiJi Mshinda, a professional disc jockey and world builder. On Friday, May 27, he will join Vinyl Tap 215 member Starfire to host a Presentation of the 35th anniversary of Prince’s “Sign o’ the Times” in Clark Park in West Philly.

I call my gregarious friend on a Monday afternoon for our scheduled interview and he picks up, immediately volunteering to figure out which of his Apple products — his iPhone, iPad, or Macbook, all synced, of course — was the only one that needed an interview. answer. Probably for no other reason than my personal dislike of iPhones, I mention that I imagined him as an Android guy.

His answer says a lot about him.

“My gap in computer facilities happened to be, like, WIDE,” he says. “1984, 1985, I was taking basic computer classes and had a Commodore 64, which was at the cutting edge of programming in the 80s, but it took me many years before I got it again my own computer. And I remember — I had a landscaping job — my boss had a laptop. And I was like, ‘Ooh, I want a laptop one day.’ It’s 1996. They’re like two batteries [two thousand dollars] for the input model. So, you know, I’ve had a long, winding road of varying levels of self-sufficiency. And when I had a job, I was supporting a family because I was dating a woman who had a child. And then the last time – well, not the last time, but one of the last times – my balance was thrown off and my bipolar flared up, I came down to love nothing. So that was 2010, really, before I got my first laptop.

The answer takes 10, 15 minutes longer, and I cling to every word. He goes on to tell me how getting into DJing spurred that first purchase and the constant upgrading of technology to get the party started right pushed him to Appleville and the realm of Mac. As flippant as he mentions health information that many people won’t even share with family, he veers into the story of his friend selling him a sticker Apple computer in college, and then the revelation that “the buddy” from a nearby Apple retailer is ready with a discount when it’s ready for the next upgrade.

In other words, DuiJi is an open book. Pick a page and you’ll find a story, a lesson learned, an origin quote, a remembered beat, a cherished pain, a hurting joy. His life, as he sees it, is a series of adventures that will only educate, inspire and uplift if shared. He therefore shares his time, his experiences, his intellect and himself with everyone he meets. He is insightful, better believe. He can’t give everyone the “full duge”. This is reserved exclusively for the new apples of his eye, his wife Kara and daughter Dahra.

But the rest of us get a little something, some more than others. The science is spelled out in his DJ persona, DuiJi 13.

“OK, my name is my name. My real name is DuiJi; like, I showed my ID to so many complete strangers just to prove that my name is my name. It’s a good thing that I was never a criminal because everyone would know where to find me,” he explains with a laugh.

“It pushes their wig back when I tell them what it really means. As, duji was slang for heroin in the late, late 60s, early 70s, but also, it’s like a West African. My mother told me it meant “sharp instrument”. And mshinda I can actually find it in the Swahili-English dictionary, and it means ‘winner’ or ‘victory’.

And number thirteen?

“My birthday is April 9 (4th month, 9th day; 4+9). My shoe size is 13. My last name, initial M, 13th letter. Oh, and there are 13 planets,” adds he, wading through the astronomical controversy, “including dwarf planets, in our solar system. My child taught me that recently.”

It’s easy to see how hugely influential family, the kind of intimacy and love that is only possible by sharing the mundane moments of life, not just the excitement of crowded events. on his view of the world.

“Besides, I make my own luck. Black men in the United States, people are conditioned to be afraid of us. And people are conditioned to be afraid of the number 13. So it’s a phobia, an irrational fear,” he adds in even more outline of the origin of 13. “I confront people’s irrational fear of black men by being completely accessible, by being completely open. You know, come into the world with love and without an agenda. But don’t try me. With that, he laughed, mostly disarming the warning but still retaining his strong opinion.

Dealing with ups and downs, when people try it leads us to Vinyl faucet 215, DuiJi’s self-proclaimed group therapy session cleverly disguised as an indoor DJ jam session and flea market. Rotating monthly between Common Beat Music in West Philly and Amalgam Comics & Coffeehouse in Kensington, DuiJi assembles his “Just-us” league of Disc Jockeys – vinyl avengers? – for an all-day spin-a-thon of breakbeats, B-side classics, back of the crate slept-on’s and head rockers. Women and men one-on-one and in pairs support each other to create and maintain the atmosphere and come together laughing in harmony. The record collectors selling their vinyl time capsules are dungeon masters of funk with so many stories to tell. Craftsmen- shining with an inviting spirit when selling their handcrafted products – are both engaging and entrepreneurial. And the host – Starfire – is a constellation too breathtaking to behold, too exciting to miss.

It is through this embarrassment of experiential richness that DuiJi Mshinda guides us, part ship captain, part executive producer. The fact that this event, initially beginning as some sort of networking session, turned into a sea of ​​musical tranquility is a testament to the ethos instilled in him by his mother, Loretta Garcia, who died in 1997. He refers to her as a major influence in his life. .

“There is a [Stephen Grellet] quote that was in our house – ‘I’ll only pass this way once; any good I can do or any kindness I can show to any human being; let me do it now. May I neither postpone it nor neglect it, for I will never go that way again. – so I was taught service and manners. And I didn’t realize growing up how special that was because it was just normal in my house. And [childhood friend] Dave, he told me he learned in my house that,” at which point his voice cracks, “love is priceless. And my other friend Jerri, she learned that you’re worthy just because you were born. And growing up white, middle class, Irish and Italian, those weren’t the life lessons in self-esteem that Jerri was getting back home, you know what I mean?

It’s a reminder that despite all the bluster in the history books about inalienable rights, it’s a lesson most people have yet to learn.

“There’s something about peer validation of the things our parents say. It’s important that our children choose good friends because we want them to be around people who will reinforce what we teach them, but we can’t predict who they decide to play with,” he warns, “we we just have to hope. ”

For his part, DuiJi is lucky, choosing what he calls good friends.

“I keep choosing good friends because my mom taught me how to be one. She would say [stuff] like “To have a friend, you must first be one” [or] “The road to a friend’s house is never long. I’ve seen my mom show up at someone’s house to play cards, drink beer, and smoke weed. It would be his intention to go there. She arrives and, the parents not being there, she opens the refrigerator and notices that it is empty. She takes the same money she was going to party with and goes to the supermarket, buys food and cleaning supplies, or whatever. And [then] just go to the kitchen, clean it, cook. And when people come home from work, they get a full dinner. I saw her do that shit.

“I saw her take money that was supposed to go to our electricity bill, which was a little overdue, and pay someone else’s rent because she [man] beat his ass because he has no money for rent.

Of course, most people say their mothers were saints. In the case of DuiJi’s mother, that’s probably true. Again, the holy humility and self-awareness she possessed makes such a characterization too strong.

“You know, people have a Buddha or a person in the sky that they try to imitate,” he goes on to say. “My mum, she wasn’t a saint – but she taught me a lot about how to be a friend and how to introduce yourself to people.”

Show up for cineSPEAK Under the Stars at Clark Park: Prince’s SIGN O’ THE TIMES 35th Anniversary hosted by Starfire and DuiJi 13 of Vinyl Tap 215; Friday, May 27, 7:30 p.m. (Doors), 9 p.m. (Screening); The Bowl at Clark Park, 4300 Chester Avenue.

Editor’s note: An earlier version of this story misspelled the names of DuiJi’s wife and daughter and mistakenly listed the Clark Park event as Saturday instead of Friday. PW has corrected the story and regrets the error.

Jack L. Goldstein