DJ Boof has inspired JAY-Z to dance, helped Coi Leray get exposure, and more. Most importantly, he makes sure Nicki Minaj shows are worthwhile experiences even if she isn’t there.
“I think Nicki or someone in the crew was being held up by customs or something, and they had me onstage. The production person told me she was running late and needed somebody to hold it down,” DJ Boof told REVOLT. “I remember holding it down for an hour, but that was nothing to me because I’m a DJ.”
In this installment of “Tour Tales,” he explained how motherhood has affected Minaj’s live show preparation, impressing JAY-Z and Beyoncé at their private event, and how his life changed with investments. Check out the exclusive chat below.
You’ve been Nicki Minaj’s DJ for over a decade. How have you seen her live show and preparation change after becoming a mother?
She always moved with a purpose, but now there’s another purpose with her being a mom. With her preparation, she has to make sure of what her child is doing at that time. That comes first before anything.
Powerhouse in Philly and 2022 ESSENCE Fest are some of the shows she’s done since giving birth. What’s it been like?
She’s a perfectionist. Everything has to be done just right. She never lets up. Artists now perform over their MP3 tracks, and Nicki really rhymes over TV tracks and remembers every word. She takes it very seriously. We might rehearse it 50, 60, or 100 times, and it feels like something else was added in there that we didn’t expect, but it always comes out great. We both pray a lot. The show’s only been getting better and better.
Has there ever been a time you had to keep a Nicki show going while experiencing complications?
The only moment like that, that ever happened was when we were on tour, and I think she was coming into the country. It was somewhere overseas, and I think Nicki or someone in the crew was being held up by customs or something, and they had me onstage. The production person told me she was running late and needed somebody to hold it down. I remember holding it down for an hour, but that was nothing to me because I’m a DJ. People don’t understand how difficult it is to hold it down for an hour or two knowing they’re waiting for Nicki. Eventually, they’ll start booing.
You also deejayed for Fabolous at some pivotal shows. What happened at his VERZUZ matchup with Jadakiss? Did you two prepare?
(Laughs). Anybody who knows me knows I’m Trinidadian. I’m a DJ. I like the sound clash. I’m from that era. At the end of the day, I just provide a service, so I have to follow instructions of whatever Fab is comfortable with. Now, Fab, that’s my brother, but Fab doesn’t look at VERZUZ as a versus. He was just looking at it as just playing songs. Jada had a different game plan, and I had the audible set in the back of my mind. I’d have a counter to what Jada might do. We discussed the show beforehand, but he didn’t treat VERZUZ as a versus.
What are some of your favorite shows you’ve done with Fab?
I remember we were doing a show once, and then we flipped the whole show and turned it into a ’90s/2000s party. People don’t know that Fab and I created this trend of doing a show and then doing a sing-along karaoke R&B thing. After us, DJs started playing R&B as part of their sets. Fab and I started that in Las Vegas years ago. That’s a fact. Anybody will tell you that.
You worked with Coi Leray before she blew up. Do you remember any early performances?
When I first found out about Coi, she had this song called “Pac Girl.” I was able to contact her, and I thought she had a look that was very different from artists like Trippie Redd. I used to sneak her into clubs in New York City I could possibly take her to. I don’t think she was of age yet. I wanted people to see whoever I stamped or co-signed as the next one. I put on an event called TrapCon with trap music and art. I would have these vendors come to put their paintings up. My brother Ryo J and I put this event together, which was very successful. I told Coi she needed to pull up because it would be good for people to see her. She showed up and performed.
You’re the go-to DJ for high-profile events like Yung Miami’s birthday party, DJ Khaled’s album release party, and more. What’s one that sticks out to you?
You remember the “On The Run Tour”? During the tour, they had a private event after the concert. I was the DJ for that. Shout out to Lenny S. That’s my brother. I remember it was a private, very small room full of just the who’s who — JAY, Beyoncé, Jadakiss, Fab. It was star-studded, but it was no more than 50 people. As I’m deejaying, people are coming up the elevator. I remember I had people dancing. JAY walked in and started dancing. It was crazy. Right after, I saw Beyoncé coming off the elevator, walking straight towards me. Then, I threw on UGK’s “Int’l Players Anthem (I Choose You)” because it’s a record from a legendary Houston group. My manager, Fresh Garcia, was standing right next to me when JAY walked over and either said, “You are a great DJ” or “You are one of the greatest DJs I’ve ever heard.” That’s the second time he said that to me at a private event. Then, Beyoncé walked over and said, “You’re an amazing DJ.”
This career has afforded you a lot of success outside of music. You own 36 rental properties and a restaurant. How did being a touring DJ help you achieve that?
I worked hard. I did every baby shower, every wedding, every club, and everything that deals with providing a service for people. Working on “The Wendy Williams Show,” working with Fab and Nicki, and breaking artists helped. I remember having this conversation with DJ Envy. I felt like he was always one step ahead of the curve, and we talked about how the clubs aren’t paying what we want anymore. One day, I remember coming to him with $20,000 on me and telling him, “I’m ready. I want to invest. What do I have to do?” During COVID, interest rates were extremely good at that time. I went down to Atlanta because it was the only place open then. Atlanta still had parties. A good friend of mine, Jumpshot Jay, introduced me to this guy named Andre Merkerson. Andre changed my life. I told him I was very scared of jumping into investing. He showed me my first deal, which changed my life. An investment of $30,000 got me back $1 million in six months. Now, I have 36 properties and a restaurant opening in a few months.
What do you have planned for the rest of 2023?
I love making people dance and sing. I’m thinking about returning to the studio and putting out a record. That is something I want to do. I also want to keep buying more properties and funding start-up businesses.
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