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.’
DJ Kelly Green has grown from simply playing Curren$y’s music at his shows to being an A&R for his label and hands-on with everything related to the rapper. Over the last four years as his touring DJ, she’s had one of the closest seats to see how much Curren$y’s fans appreciate the New Orleans Spitta.
“He’s very interactive. Sometimes fans pass him joints. They throw him gifts all the time,” Green told REVOLT. “People know he likes snacks like Gushers and Fruit Roll-ups, so they throw that on the stage.”
In this installment of “Tour Tales,” the DJ describes seeing fans pass out at Curren$y shows, COVID-19 affected the rapper’s 4/20, and a secret sequel project coming this year. Read below.
You toured with Fiend for a while before linking with Curren$y. How did you eventually become Curren$y’s DJ?
Fiend was doing music under the name International Jones and coming with a different vibe. He was coming with a more Jet Life vibe as opposed to the more hardcore street, No Limit vibe he was on. I did a couple of shows with him that he did with them and that introduced them to me, skill-wise. They’re looking at me like, “Oh, Fiend rocking with her.” Then, they’d see me deejay and go, “Oh, she’s kinda good.” So, Curren$y started doing these car shows in 2015 at his car shop in New Orleans every Saturday and he was looking for a DJ. They couldn’t find anybody, so Fiend was like, “OK, I’ll call Kelly.” He called me and I deejayed that one show. From then on, I deejayed every Saturday for almost a year. That branched out to me deejaying at Jet Lounge every Wednesday, as well as various other events when they needed a DJ.
While all of this was blossoming, DJ Duffey was actually Curren$y’s DJ at the time. She ended up getting the “Basketball Wives” job, and a tour was brewing at the same time she would have had to film “Basketball Wives.” So, next thing you know, they’re looking for a tour DJ (chuckles). They call me, “Hey, we need someone to go on tour with us. Can you do it?” I’m like, “Can I do it?! What you mean?! Hell yeah!”
What was the first tour you were on with Curren$y? What was that first show like?
My first tour with him was in 2016 on the Cruising U.S.A. Tour. The first show was so nerve-wracking. I was really excited and nervous because it was something I hadn’t done before. I performed with Fiend and did a rapper’s show before, but I hadn’t performed with [Curren$y], in particular. Every artist is different and has different little parts of the show where they do certain things. You have to adapt to each other’s body language and facial expressions to know what’s going on. I knew all of that and knew we were about to do this first before we had done anything else together. I didn’t want to miss a cue or drop a song on the wrong part. All of that was on my mind. But, the first show ended up going really well.
What are some mistakes you made on stage with Curren$y that helped you two develop your DJ-rapper chemistry?
I’ve made so many mistakes. I still make mistakes. Spitta still is doing his show and rapping, I do something, and he looks back like, “What the hell are you doing?” I still get that look (laughs). I remember we did a show and I skipped a song by accident and we ended up not doing that song anymore. He was like, “You know what? Just knock it off. Don’t even worry about it.” It flowed well without it.
What’s his dedication like to his live show?
He’s full-speed ahead with his show. Honestly, we don’t rehearse like that because we already know what’s about to happen at this point. We’ll get to a show, sit in the greenroom about 30 minutes before we go onstage, put the setlist together, go onstage, and rock out. The show isn’t planned, it just happens. He’s very dedicated to his show and very hands-on with it. But, he also goes with the flow. He’s very easy to work with. We have a lot of fun. We smoke a lot of weed onstage. I can’t complain (laughs). He’s probably the most fun rapper you could work for.
How do you choose what songs he’ll do a capella?
We don’t really choose because the crowd does it. He doesn’t do entire songs. If he says the chorus of a song twice, that’s really rare. He might do a snippet of his first verse, tell me to cut the beat, and he’ll keep rapping. But, when we cut the beat, you can hear the crowd rapping. So, when he hears that, he’ll stop and let them keep rapping. Sometimes it just happens like that. Over the years, we’ve figured out which songs are the cult favorites that everybody goes nuts for as soon as we play it.
What are those songs?
“Smoke Break,” “BBS,” “Stolen,” “Elevator Music.” There’s a couple of them. We have a 40-song show sometimes.
What should people expect when going to a Curren$y show?
They should expect a lot of weed smoke in the air. That’s very important because if you can’t handle it, you may pass out. People have passed out at shows.
You’ve seen people pass out at shows because of too much weed smoke in the air?
Oh hell yeah! They pass out the whole show. It’s a normal thing for us to stop the show to wait for security to carry somebody out because they passed out in the crowd. It literally happens almost every show.
What else should they expect?
They should expect everyone to know the words. I’ve had people who never listened to Curren$y before coming to shows with their friends and go, “Oh my god. Everyone knew the words and I felt so out of place.” But, they still enjoy it. That could sometimes make someone feel left out. But, it’s really fun, interactive and entertaining. Spitta is really funny. Between songs, he may drop some anecdotes, tell stories, and clown around with the crowd. Sometimes fans pass him joints. They throw him gifts all the time. People know he likes snacks like Gushers and Fruit Roll-ups, so they throw that on the stage.
Are there any standout moments onstage that show his humor?
Dude, the last time we were in Dallas, we did a show. We like to drink. We’re from New Orleans. That’s the thing out here; we drink. In our rider, we had Hennessy, a couple of bottles of Patron, champagne. I’m drinking a little bit before the show. I get onstage, I get on the mic, and yell, “Dallas, what the fuck it do?!” I’m just going nuts with so much energy. I’m like, “Y’all ready for my nigga Spitta!” The crowd is screaming, clapping, throwing their jets in the air. I didn’t know he had his microphone already. He didn’t even walk onstage before he gets on the mic and says, “Wow! Somebody’s drunk!”
How has your role in Curren$y’s show evolved over the last five years?
I started as just the DJ. I was just deejaying, doing the shows, and playing the music for the events we put together. At this point, I’m an A&R for Jet Life. I run the mailing list. I’m pretty much hands-on with anything that has to do with Jet Life. When it comes to merch, I’m at the office packaging up merch to be sent out, too. I’ve pretty much dived in headfirst. I’ve sat and engineered studio sessions for these guys. There’s nothing I haven’t touched.
Every venue isn’t smoke-friendly. How does Curren$y figure out how to smoke in those places?
I’ll be real. That man doesn’t find any way to smoke, he’s just going to smoke anyways. He doesn’t care. You booked Curren$y and you’re going to tell the man he can’t smoke? That sounds insane to me.
He recently had a child. Did his baby’s birth affect his touring?
I haven’t really seen it affect it much. We did slow down with the shows when his baby was born. But, not much has changed. I think, honestly, he was at a point where he wasn’t trying to tour as much anyway. I haven’t actively seen him do anything differently with the shows since he’s had his baby. His baby is so young, so I don’t think we’ve seen anything yet. We haven’t done much since he did the “2009 Tour.”
What artists have you seen pop up at his shows?
Man, it’s been so many people. Jay Electornica, Lil Wayne, and it really depends on which city we’re in. Not saying that people don’t publicly fuck with Spitta, but more people fuck with him on a level of the utmost respect for him and his music than you would even know. I’ve seen Alchemist at his shows. I’ve seen Action Bronson. There’s a range of pop-ups.
Pilot Talk 1 turns 10 years old in July. Did you two have any anniversary shows planned around that album?
Honestly, with everything going on with the pandemic, we’ve talked about things. I’m not going to say it’s specifically about Pilot Talk 1 or whatever. But, nobody is concretely doing or planning anything because we don’t even know what’s going on. We had a 4/20 show that we were holding onto for dear life, but that got snatched from under our feet. We do one every year at the House of Blues in New Orleans. People travel and fly out to come to those shows, but we had to cancel it because the whole House of Blues closed down. Even if they didn’t close down, we would’ve canceled it anyway because nobody [is] throwing a show in the middle of a pandemic.
Have you two been contact about what you want to do after the pandemic?
I’m pretty sure Mousa, Curren$y, and the big guys have been in talks about things. We had a back and forth in the group text yesterday (May 3). Yes, we have a Jet Life group text. He jumped in the group text talking about a tape he’s trying to do and it’s another edition to another tape he’s already done. I won’t speak too much on that, but know that a part something is coming of something.