Musicians are barely getting a slice of music industry revenue, largely eating off of live performances instead. For ’Tour Tales,’ we dig into the rider requests, delayed shows, diligent preparation, and future of touring by talking with the multitude of people that move behind the scenes. Record executives, photographers, tour managers, artists, and more all break down what goes into touring and why it’s still so vital to the livelihood of your favorite artists. What happens on tour stays on ‘Tour Tales.’
Saweetie’s performances are mostly parties, yet partially tributes to the essence of hip hop. DJ Miss Milan has deejayed for the “ICY GRL” since 2018 and believes their onstage chemistry is akin to one of greatest live duos in the genre’s history.
“She’s very into bringing back the essence of the MC with the hypeman. You had Busta Rhymes and Spliff Starr. Spliff was hyping it up in the corner with Busta. She’s bringing back that essence,” DJ Miss Milan told REVOLT.
In this installment of “Tour Tales,” Milan explains how she’s developed a bond with Saweetie, the respect legends give the rising star, and much more.
How did you link with Saweetie?
A good sister of mine, DJ Olivia Dope, actually looked out and that’s something very rare in this deejaying world, especially with the lack of support and camaraderie from women (laughs). She looked out and was like, ‘This is an opportunity I want to present to you if you’re willing to take it.’ I was like, ‘Hell yeah.’ I always wanted to tour and deejay for an artist. The fact it ended up being for a brand new artist [like] Saweetie, who is growing and has a lot of potential, I was very excited.
We linked up the very first time in Brooklyn for the ENVSN Festival. It was crazy because I had to learn everything on the very same day. It was, ‘Are you available? I need you to come through to do this set.’ I didn’t know anyone or anything.
You’ve been with Saweetie since her start. How has her live shows developed?
It developed into a great performance. We’re collaborating more. We’re getting more personal. We’re creating that sisterhood between each other and the dancers. She’s also more comfortable consulting me on what songs she should perform. For the Pretty Little Thing launch, I had the honor of being the curator of that fashion show. That was my first time curating music for a fashion show for a big brand as Pretty Little Thing. I got to spin for Lil Kim and Ashanti...The potential is super great and I’m excited to see what else we have in store.
Speaking of the Pretty Little Thing show, I saw Ashanti and Lil Kim pose for a photo with Saweetie. Do you remember any of the interactions between those three?
Oh yes. When we had the soundcheck, Kim and Ashanti were both present. Kim was absolutely the sweetest thing ever. She was so cute and humble. You almost forgot she was Queen Bee for a second because she was so cool (laughs). Their interaction was like seeing a legend and seeing a future legend in Saweetie, collaborate with each other and talk with each other. They showed that camaraderie in rap, which sometimes, unfortunately, is missing. To see that was super amazing. Lil Kim trusted me with her set without knowing me outside of being Saweetie’s DJ. Every artist has their own personal DJ. She was like, ‘You know what? You can do whatever you need to do to make it hot.’ She approved of it and really loved the performance.
What are some things you two had to improve on to build the chemistry onstage?
In the beginning, we were still testing the waters with our chemistry. But, to be honest, from the first day we clicked. It was one of those God moments where it was like, ‘Ahhhhh!’ Saweetie was like, ‘I found the one’ and I was like, ‘Yes. I found the one, too.’ She’s very into bringing back the essence of the MC with the hypeman. You had Busta Rhymes and Spliff Starr. Spliff was hyping it up in the corner with Busta. She’s bringing back that essence. Over time, as we have shown, we were able to pick up on things that helped our chemistry. There are mistakes we made onstage, but since we were so in tune with each other, the crowd didn’t know it was a mistake. Only I knew it was a mistake. If I come in and say, ‘Yo, sis, it’s time to turn up and give them the Icy show,’ she knows then that it’s time for us to get into the nitty-gritty of the set.
What is the most memorable show you two have done together?
It would have to be Rolling Loud NYC. Anyone that’s from New York knows that New York is a tough crowd (laughs). It’s not the easiest crowd to get people to turn up, listen and be in tune. Me being born and raised in New York, coming through and shutting it down, was amazing. The crowd was packed. They were ready to see her perform and support her. Everyone was singing ‘My Type,’ which is her No. 1 platinum record. The love we received in New York made us go, ‘Yeah, we’re ready to do this everywhere.’
You both performed together before ‘My Type’ came out. Was the reaction to that performance as energetic now as it was in the beginning?
I would say it was already, in my opinion, a certified hit. I remember the day where she let Olivia and I listen to it before she officially dropped it. She even said this wasn’t going to be on her Icy EP. So, the fact that it was a last-minute decision to put it on and it became her No. 1 platinum-selling record is great. People were always into it. That’s something I can’t deny and I’m not just saying it because I deejay for her. It was one of those records we knew was going to be a smash just by the reaction.
When we were doing the European leg of our tour, they knew it word for word and were ready for it. That cultural impact of it being global was undeniable. I would say during that time was amazing.
What are some fun activities you and Saweetie do while on the road?
This past summer, we were on a European tour where we were basically hitting all of the festivals. That was a moment for us to bond overseas especially because around that time it was her birthday. We were able to celebrate something person with her and the fact that we’re overseas doing what we love to do... Also, of course, the Cardi B tour where we opened up. This lifestyle is very fast, and sometimes you can forget what day it is or what you’re doing. We have our Icy dinners and she’s very good at taking care of her team. She’ll deadass be like, ‘Let’s get some dinner just to celebrate you guys being around.’ Those things make us feel like we’re a part of a family, as opposed to [it] just being work.
What’s an example of the dedication you gave to the show?
It would have to be when we prepared for our European run with Cardi. We were there working with the dancers, building the set, and making it spectacular. The Cardi opening was when we really got to showcase our live show. It’s a magic show, basically (laughs).
What's on Saweetie’s rider?
She definitely loves her sweets... If you don’t know, the one thing you have to have for her is her pasta and salad. Also, oysters. I’m a big oyster eater, so that was one of the things we like together. We like the eat, so we have to make sure we have our snacks. She loves her Hot Cheetos. Things like that make her heart smile. We also have fruits, too, and water.
What do you see for Saweetie and yourself in the next year?
There will be more tour dates to come. This is literally the beginning of her career. There’s a lot more [that] people will have to stay tuned [in] for and will be surprised to see. She’s very hardworking and dedicated to her craft. Also, you might hear ‘Milan on the beat’ because I’m getting more into production. I’m getting myself out there more as a DJ also.