With the Memphis Grizzlies stealing the spotlight for the past 5 weeks, we feel that it’s only right to mention the role that Memphis music has played in the playoffs. DJ Mic Tee, aka “the Heavy Hitter,” is the man with the music plan who devotes his creativity to the sounds that you hear during every Memphis Grizzlies home game and beyond. From hip-hop to rock, he plays it all, and he stays ready to keep that energy going! We sat down with the man responsible for the well-timed “Whoop That Trick”s to discuss his remarkable role as the DJ for numerous Memphis sport teams and what it’s like to be one of the most sought after DJs in our city. Here’s what he had to say…
Do you ever find yourself getting distracted by the game and all that’s surrounding you? or Are you into the good music you are playing?
It is easy to be distracted, but, fortunately, I perform during time outs and half times, which allows me to properly plan out my sets in my head. I often pick a certain amount of songs and the direction I want to go in beforehand. People always say I have the best seat in the house and, although it is easy to get distracted, I get to be a part of the game as well, while also keeping the people hype.”
How do you decide what kind of music you will play?
I have my music planned out in my head. Through a software called Serato, I am able to put in the type of music I want to play. I also just kind of get a feel for the crowd. During halftime, I try to keep in the direction of family fun and versatility. I may do some 80’s pop like Michael Jackson, soul, or even Cameo during the pre-game or countdown before the game. I prefer to keep the set diverse. However, by the third and fourth quarter, late in the game, I like to go straight Memphis energy and turn-up style. Especially if we are winning, and I know “Whoop that Trick” is a possibility. I make sure to keep that ready in my set and plan accordingly.”
Have you learned anything about your taste in music since becoming Memphis’ sports deejay? How do you keep it different and versatile from past events?
It’s definitely different. It’s not the club, but I like to keep the club energy there. It’s not like I’m introducing new artists or breaking new records. Whatever I’m going to play is going to be a guaranteed hit. I play what’s poppin at the moment. I think my love for music is just so widespread, and I have a big range of music. The good thing about the Grizzlies is they give me freedom to just be me. They are always like, “Mic, just do you.” In the club after a certain time, the energy has to meet a certain expectation, and that’s much different from the game. You have to be mindful about the timing you have. In the club once you play Big Boogie, you gotta stay there and keep the energy up. There’s no going back. In the game, you have a certain amount of time to get across a certain message or vibe.
What is something you’ve learned about DJing while working the games? Can you share any tricks of the trade?
For the games, I definitely changed the way I play it. My buddy, who is also a disc jockey by the name of DJ Joune, gave me advice when I first got the position. He told me that you gotta go straight to the meat of the song. Go straight to the poppin part of the song. Then, get out of it or else everyone will be lookin at you like a flat screen TV. That advice really challenged me to be a little quicker with my mixes, my transitions, and my delivery. Whereas the way I do it now, I’ve gotten so fast with my transitions that I can play 7 to 10 songs, if I do it right, in a minute and 30 seconds and still get across the point of high energy and fun, without it sounding like scribble scratch. It’s given me the flexibility to play anything. I recall when one of our Grizz Girls got proposed to. I had 3 love songs in a set ready to go f0r for the special moment.”
What has been your favorite moment of the playoffs, and what is your favorite thing about being a Dj?
My favorite moment was when Boosie popped up at the game, because it was so unexpected. I remember asking last season about doing a set for specific celebrities when they showed up at the game…They said we’d cross that bridge when we got to it. So, when they finally gave me the green light to do it, I had my set full of Boosie songs ready to go. When he heard his music he kind of looked up and smiled. That was pretty cool.
What I really love the most about doing it is that I get to be me. It’s an adrenaline rush, not from the spotlight but just people vibing and moving to my creativity. Being a deejay is an art form. It’s more than just pushing buttons and playing music. It’s not what you play, it’s how you play it. I think that’s what makes me so different from anyone in the city. It’s only a few that can do it, and I take pride in that. I call it a work of art. Whether it’s at a watch party or at a club, I just get to watch people move off what I come up with.
You can catch DJ Mic Tee doing what he does best live at the next Memphis Grizzlies playoff game Monday night as our city plans to “Whoop That Trick” in game number 7! (Fingers crossed).