DJ Dusei is living every fan’s dream. For more than a decade, he was a devoted disciple of Big K.R.I.T’s. Then, the Digital Roses Don’t Die lyricist and his inner circle selected Dusei to be the rapper’s new DJ. As a longtime fan, he’s had many full-circle moments on tour seeing how K.R.I.T.’s supporters show him love.
“I’ve seen people with tattoos that are like K.R.I.T.’s. I can’t remember what show it was, but I said, ‘Is that a Cadillac on that man’s back?’ He was so happy to show that to K.R.I.T. Folk really love this man,” Dusei told REVOLT.
In this installment of “Tour Tales,” he also explained how being a fan makes him the perfect DJ for K.R.I.T., Taco Bell nightmares on the road, and more. Read the exclusive with DJ Dusei below.
How did you first connect with Big K.R.I.T. and become his DJ?
I first connected with K.R.I.T. through his manager, Dutch. He hit me up around March 2022 and asked if I wanted to go on tour because he heard about me from K.R.I.T.’s two previous DJs — DJ Dibiase and DJ Wally Sparks. They gave K.R.I.T. the green light to choose me. He was looking for a DJ to be on stage with him and finish his lines off or do the whole chorus. I’ve been a K.R.I.T. fan, so that’s easy. I’m a special ed teacher. So, Dutch hit me up while I was on bus duty, getting the kids ready to get them on the bus. Dutch asked how I felt about hitting the road with K.R.I.T. on the “Digital Roses Tour.” I hung up, went to the principal’s office, and told the principal, “I’m going to be gone for the next 2 1/2 months.” I would be gone from April until the end of the school year, and he told me, “Make sure you come back in August.” I was not going to miss that opportunity.
How did you come to know K.R.I.T.’s inner circle?
A couple of friends I knew from college knew Dutch. Everybody that hangs around me knows how I feel about Big K.R.I.T. I’ve been preaching the gospel of Big K.R.I.T. since 2010. It was quite easy with everybody around us to get to K.R.I.T. That’s how Dutch found out about me. He also found out about me directly through Wally Sparks and Dibiase. The first time I met K.R.I.T. was during his listening party for 4eva Is a Mighty Long Time. I met him afterward. K.R.I.T.’s such a cool guy. He’ll talk to anybody. I waited for K.R.I.T. to come outside. He came out, spoke to me, and even took a picture with me. That was in 2017.
By then, he had been on the road for over a decade. What did K.R.I.T. tell you about how he wanted his show to run?
For the first tour, he told me, “Since you already know my lyrics, this is how I want it to be. It’s just going to be me and you on stage. I’m going to be rapping. I want you to hit the choruses while I’m rapping the verses. If it looks like I’m getting a little winded, I want you to finish off my line. And then I [jump] back in.” He just told me that’s how it was going to be. That was my first tour, so I was a little nervous at the first show we did. After, he said, “I need you to turn up for the rest of the tour.” From the second show to the last one, it’s been crazy, man. He works really hard at the craft as far as preparation and execution.
With that being your first tour, what did you have to get used to?
I had to get adjusted to the constant moving. Once we hit one city, we pack up, and we’re hitting the next city. We may get something to eat, then we got soundcheck, and then after soundcheck, you got a little time to yourself. Then we get back to make sure everybody’s in place for the concert. We might not go on until later, but everybody being in place eliminates folks not being where they’re supposed to be. I also had to get used to the eating schedule. I’m used to having a little schedule for eating, but on the road, you have to get it in where you [can]. We’ll get done with a show, and we might be in a town where everything closes at 8 o’clock, and the show is over at 11:30, and we’re looking crazy. So, we’re definitely on those snacks from Walmart. We had a rule on what we couldn’t eat because we were on the road so much. One of those things was Taco Bell. K.R.I.T. would say, “Hey, Taco Bell is one of [them] things now” because once we hit that road, we’re gone; we ain’t going to stop until we hit the next city now. And that might not be until sunrise. One day, I had some Taco Bell after the show. I was up all night hurting (laughs). Our bus driver’s name was Gee. I said, “Gee, you might have to pull over, man.” He said, “Nah, we have to drive.” I learned a lot on the road.
What was the thinking behind deciding his setlist?
He just wants to remind folks of the journey. So, he’s going to perform old songs and new songs. He just wants everybody to understand the journey. He’s been putting out a lot of quality music for a while. He wants everybody to understand his growth.
Which songs get the biggest reactions live?
Of course, “Country S**t” gets the biggest reaction. “Temptation” gets the biggest reaction when we’re in Houston. It’s an unforgettable experience. That show was sold out. Everybody rapped that word for word. But, when “Learned From Texas” came on, everybody went crazy. That’s another one that gets a big reaction. “My Sub” part four gets a big reaction; part three, too.
What fan interactions have you seen that showed how much they love K.R.I.T.?
People have pulled up to the shows with old tour T-shirts from the first tour. I’ve seen people in the crowd with K.R.I.T. vinyl. I’ve seen people with tattoos that are like K.R.I.T.’s. I can’t remember what show it was, but I said, “Is that a Cadillac on that man’s back?” He was so happy to show that to K.R.I.T. Folk really love this man.
How has your involvement in his show evolved over the years?
It’s evolved a lot because the DJ is also an entertainer. So, if K.R.I.T. wasn’t on the stage, I’m also deejaying and performing. During the tour, I had a 15 to 20-minute segment where it was just me. I was turning the crowd up while K.R.I.T. took a break, so I’m a performer, too. Seeing that and how the crowd took to me, K.R.I.T. told me, “Hey, if you feeling it, bring your a** from around that table and come turn up.” Atlanta’s my city; he gave me the green light before that show. I told him, “I’m going to perform ‘Mt. Olympus’ with you one day.” It was an encore record at that show, and the whole place went crazy. I did the whole first verse. I did the whole first verse, and he was shocked because he rapped so fast on that song, and I really know the whole song.
You’re still deejaying for K.R.I.T. Are you also teaching?
I still teach. I’m still in high school as a special ed teacher. But whenever it’s concert time, I have a lot of sick time that I can use.
What do you have planned for the rest of 2023?
We have a couple of concerts booked for the rest of the year. I know we have Denver coming up. We have Durham, North Carolina coming up with Little Brother. They got the 20th reunion block party going down. So, K.R.I.T.’s performing at that. That’s all I know for sure. He was hinting that next year, something big is going down. I told him, “Hey, I’m down. Just let me know.”