Memphis, Shelby County, Tennessee, United States
Dj Spanish Fly is featured in the Netflix Series "Hip Hop Evolution" season 4, Watch it to get a better understanding about Fly and The Start Of Memphis Rap. It’s difficult to imagine what Memphis rap music would sound like without the influence of DJ Spanish Fly. Serving as a house DJ at M-Town Clubs No Name and Expo in 1987 to the early ’90s, Fly spearheaded a generational transition from the disco era towards a slower, more aggressive sound driven by 808 thuds and gangsta themes. His taste – and his own warped bedroomish raps, tacked onto the beginning of his deep catalogue of mixtapes – helped to outline a loose mould of bass heavy menace that later day Memphis acts like Triple 6 Mafia, 8 Ball & MJG, Dj Squeeky, Gangsta Pat, Playa Fly, DJ Zirk Al Kapone, and Tommy Wright III would turn into a city-defining underground hustle. The sound spread quickly from there, to trunks around the country by way of hand-to-hand dubs and embedded itself deeply into the DNA of contemporary Southern rap. The legendary Memphis, Tennessee artist DJ Spanish Fly is a musical veteran and pioneer, well known throughout the Memphis area, and the Mid-South as the founding Godfather of Memphis Rap/hiphop music and culture in the region. Now, more than 33 years deep in the rap game… It's Fly time.
DJ Spanish Fly started out DJ'ing and rapping on the block in his South Memphis neighborhood of Clementine, off Elvis Presley Blvd with a group called the True Blue Cru including Chicago-based rapper Mighty Rappin Fishbone.
Their extreme dedication in these early days of hiphop can be supremely illustrated by the fact that the group went as far as selling their blood to the Memphis blood bank just to get money for refreshments for the fans who attended their shows. Through performing local gigs in their hood for free, the group was also rehearsing to compete in a big-time rap/DJ competition at a top Memphis night club back in the day called "Club No Name", owned by part Beale Street owner, Bud Chittom who is now deceased.
However, it was at this key point that Mighty Rappin Fishbone was incarcerated/Jailed, leading to the group falling out and parting company. This left DJ Spanish Fly to represent at the competition all alone.
It was Winter 1986. First it was the rap competition - Fly beatboxed, Rap'ed and won the rap competition. Then came the DJ competition - Fly Mixed and Scratched numerous 12' inch & 7'inch Vinyl Records while rocking hundreds of on lookers/fans and claimed to be winner in the Dj competition.
His talents caught Chittom's attention, who back then also ran the popular 'Club No Name' in East Memphis on lamar ave. He was so impressed by Fly's performance that he went on to hire Fly to DJ, and that's when Fly started hitting the airwaves for the first time:
In early 1984, radio station Magic 101.1 FM would broadcast Fly sets live from the club for the Budweiser-sponsored Club No Name Hotmix where Fly would uniquely blend, scratch and break all the new songs of the day: Fresh Prince, Run-DMC, Cold Crush Brothers, 2 Live Crew, Mantronix, Special Ed, LL Cool J, The Fatboys, The Show Boys (Trigga-Man), Dana Dane, Geto Boys, World Class Wrekin' Cru, Ice T, N.W.A., Rodney-O and Joe Cooley and countless other groups who were then unknown artists.
Fly continued to produce his own tracks but as the scene was in its untapped infancy, he ignored traditional music industry methods and set his own rules for format and distribution, disregarding copyright of his beats or lyrics.
"DJ Spanish Fly and another guy by the name of Sonny D were like the Memphis pioneers of rap music. I looked at them as mentors. They did their own music and put their mixtapes out. Especially Spanish Fly, he used to rap on his own tapes and put his own songs out in the clubs. He made his own stuff hot. We followed in the footsteps of those guys." - Juicy J of Three Six Mafia.
By 1987-88 Fly's reputation was growing nationally. Local fans would leave town on vacation taking these now classic mixtapes with them to places like The Mardi Gra NOLA, The Freaknik ATL The All-Star Games and countless other events. Out-of-towners would hear them and then buy or dub them from Memphis local fans of Fly's Music. This bootlegging-virus spread DJ Spanish Fly's music all the way from Memphis to Atlanta, New Orleans, Nashville, St. Louis, Little Rock, Chicago, Texas and everywhere in-between.
In 2006, DJ Spanish Fly was presented the Pioneer of Memphis Hip-Hop award by the UMAA (Unified Memphis Artist Association) and he's still getting props from Three Six Mafia, Project Pat, Eight Ball & MJG, Al Kapone, Yo Gotti, Geto Boys, Dj Squeeky, Young Dolph, Moneybag Yo, Jazzy Pha and a host of other great artists, past and present. Still making tracks and broadcasting, DJ Spanish Fly recently flew out to Los Angeles, California to Hyptnotize Mansion and featured on the history making Oscar Academy Award winning group Three 6 Mafia's new album ( Las 2 Walk, song title First 48) along with DJ UNK, UGK, Chamillionaire, Lil' Jon, Akon, Project Pat, Lil Wyte, Good Charlotte, Lyfe Jennings, Eightball & MJG, Al Kapone, Frayser Boy, Yung D, Superpower, Chrome and others. The album was released worldwide Tuesday, June 24th, 2008 and is now in stores all over the world. Fly's is still dropping music to this date. Fly is still featuring on mixtapes, songs, and rockin' private parties and clubs, event centers everywhere. And you can see him in action in the heart of Memphis and touring doing road shows worldwide. firstname.lastname@example.org or djspanishfly.com