“On tour, probably two shows ago, one of the fans passed out in the crowd. I spotted it, stopped the music, and pointed,” Nwadije told REVOLT. “ We pulled her out of the crowd, brought her on stage, and let her sit on a stool and watch the rest of the show.”
In this installment of “Tour Tales,” the longtime DJ explains dropping out of college and going on the road with the rapper, building a brotherhood with Isaiah Rashad, and how he helps shape IDK’s live show. Read the chat below!
How was it performing at Day N Vegas with IDK?
Day N Vegas was lit. This was our first headlining festival. They put us on at 9:50. That’s the latest we ever performed at a festival. Not only that, we were up against Polo G and Kendrick [Lamar]. We could sense people wanted to leave to go see Kendrick, so we had to shake and bake, basically. It was probably the second most people I’ve ever performed in front of. Camp Flog Gnaw is probably first. We did Rolling Loud New York a few weeks before.
How did performing at Day N Vegas compare to performing at Rolling Loud?
The festivals are completely different. Day N Vegas was a bit more diverse. It had R&B singers. Rolling Loud is straight rap and trap music. The genres of music were definitely different.
Does that affect the sort of songs you perform?
Definitely. At Rolling Loud, IDK performed all of his hard music like “Dinner Date,” “Just Like Martin,” “24.” For Day N Vegas, we threw in songs like “Puerto Rico,” and other songs people could sing along to as opposed to just mosh pit. At Day N Vegas, “Puerto Rico” definitely went off. “Santa Monica” went off too. The best reaction came when he did “17 With A 38” which is from his older stuff. Also “Shoot My Shot.”
Day N Vegas is also the first festival since the tragedy that occurred at Astroworld Fest. Did you and IDK discuss how that would affect your performance?
With us, we always cater to our fans and make sure the women are protected because it’s not every day you see a woman in a mosh pit. So, we make sure the fellas aren’t too rowdy, but we still turn up. On tour, probably two shows ago, one of the fans passed out in the crowd. I spotted it, stopped the music, and pointed. IDK is like the quarterback and I’m the running back. I see the whole field. I’m glad I caught it. We pulled her out of the crowd, brought her on stage, and let her sit on a stool and watch the rest of the show.
How did you become IDK’s DJ?
I’ve known him since third grade. My older brother and IDK were best friends. We lived in the same neighborhood, so we would go out, have fun, sell candy, and just do things together. As we got older, we wanted to find something that was going to put money in our pockets and feed our families. He went to jail and I went to Bowie University for biology. I had no prior music experience. In sophomore year, I was taking a zoology midterm and IDK was texting me, “Pick up your phone, I need you.” I thought it was an emergency, so I just bubbled in a bunch of random answers. I ended up failing. I went outside to the bathroom and called him. He told me he got his first big show with Juicy J and Travis Scott on March 6, 2014 [at Howard Theater in Washington D.C.]. That was my first time ever deejaying.
I went to soundcheck thinking I was going to be the hypeman. It was Juicy J’s “Never Sober Tour.” Then IDK broke the news saying I need to be hypeman and deejay. I was looking at him like, “You sure you want me to do this?” He was like, “Who else can do it? You’re here.” Basically, at soundcheck, I was trying to figure out what to do. Luckily, Travis Scott’s DJ Chase B was there and showed me how to start, stop and go to the next song within five minutes. Luckily, we were only doing three or four songs. I just ran with it, and here we are today.
What do you remember about that first show?
We’ve always had chemistry performing. We have more chemistry now, but since we’ve been boys for so long, we always knew what we like and what we don’t like. That chemistry helped us deliver a good show.
What are some mistakes you both made on stage that helped you develop that chemistry?
The sets didn’t always start off well. There would be times I’d fuck up bad. I would not know the order of the songs. He’s thinking a certain song is coming up next, but I’m nervous on stage and I play the wrong song. He’d look back at me in front of the whole crowd. What got me on track was not wanting to be embarrassed in front of thousands of people anymore. It used to be bad. The song was supposed to drop at a certain point and I would fuck around, not drop it, and fuck up the whole set. With repetition, it got better. The fuck ups aren’t as big anymore.
How has your role in his live show evolved over the last seven years?
You have to learn a little bit about me to understand my evolution. My name is Obinna “Obi” Nwadije, which originated from the Igbo tribe in Nigeria. My parents gave me my name. Obinna means “father’s heart” and Nwadije means “traveling family.” So, I’m used to helping the group. I add a lot to the live show because of my voice. Also, I’m not afraid to get in the crowd and mosh with them. At this L.A. show on the “USEE4YOURSELF Tour” this year, I stage-dived for the first time. I’m 215 pounds and I don’t know anyone over 200 pounds stage diving (laughs). You don’t see 50 Cent out here stage diving (laughs). I usually do a 10-15 minute set before he goes on and it usually goes up. I don’t just help his live show, I also help make some of the performance tracks for the live show with his engineer. I help produce some of the songs we perform like “December” with Burna Boy. I helped produce “Red” with Jay Electronica and MF Doom. I helped produce “Peloton.” I helped with others too. I also help with clearing the samples.
IDK hit the road with Isaiah Rashad in 2017 for the “Lil Sunny Tour.” What was that experience like?
That was probably my favorite tour because it may have been the longest tour I’d been on. That tour was two months long, and I feel we hit nearly every major city in the U.S. It’s different when you’re on the tour bus instead of a sprinter. On the sprinter, you have to help drive to the show, perform on stage, and then help drive after. It’s a lot different just going to sleep on a tour bus and you wake up in the next city.
What was the camaraderie like on that tour?
We built a brotherhood. We built experiences we wouldn’t have got anywhere else. We’re close as hell. We saw them the other day. The same happened with Joey Bada$$ and Denzel Curry. When you go on tour with somebody, you build a brotherhood. It’s a weird feeling you can’t explain.
What’s the most memorable show you’ve done with IDK?
The most memorable show we’ve done was probably Camp Flog Gnaw 2019. Everything was perfect that day. We performed in front of like 10,000-plus people while the sun was setting in LA. For sure, I remember the sky being pink and bluish with the sun across the horizon. At the start of our set time, I was having troubleshooting problems. But that was perfect because it gave fans time to come to our stage. Once I figured it out, I played a couple of songs before IDK came out to get the crowd lit. Then, we started to rock out. At the beginning of our set, there were probably only like 1,000 people there. Then once I started playing music it turned to 2,000. Once IDK came out it went from like 2,000 people to like 7,500-10,000 by the end of our set. In the end, I just remember everyone chanting “IDK” over and over until we exited the stage.
What are your plans for 2022?
My plan for 2022 is to tap into my production more. My goal is to create something unique that hasn’t been heard before. I also want to throw a circuit of parties across the nation. Basically, I want to bring the parties with me no matter what city I’m in.