Rod Wave’s lyrics may be imbued with an emotional maturity that belies his age, but it wasn’t too long ago that the rapper’s core fan base wasn’t old enough to legally drink. DJ Magik helped usher him into entertaining adult audiences, even as he was still getting to know the enigmatic MC.
“It takes a little minute for Rod to open up to you. Rod don’t talk too much. Rod’s to himself and a loner. We’d be riding in the Sprinter together. He is in the seat behind me, and we probably say five words to each other,” DJ Magik told REVOLT.
In this installment of “Tour Tales,” DJ Magik explained how he introduced Rod Wave to one of his first adult crowds, his theory about why the artist jumped off a balcony during a show, and how they grew their bond on the road. Read the exclusive chat below.
How did you first connect with Rod Wave?
That’s a crazy story (laughs). When I first found out about Rod, he was actually on a hit record called “Get That Bag” with 9lokkNine. They were promoting that song quite heavily. I was in the network of promoting at a club in a venue in Fort Lauderdale called Vegas Cabaret. I was promoting that record heavily, and then I reached out to Rod’s team to tell them, “Hey, that record buzzing. I see y’all got a teen party going down here in Fort Lauderdale. What I got to do to get y’all to slide over to the adult party afterward?” Rod’s manager, Uncle Dee, was suspicious about it, saying, “Rod doesn’t know about the grown folks’ events yet because he’s still doing the teen parties.” I told them, “Nah, listen. This is part of my situation. It’s my birthday bash, and I’m pushing it. I know if I put Rod on it, it will be big. He just got to be ready for it.” He said, “We’re gonna see what we can do.” He procrastinated a little bit on me, but he told me he was going to get him here for the after-party. That party is how me and Rod originally met.
At what show did you first deejay for him?
FAMU Homecoming in 2019. His DJ, Fizzum Fade, is his cousin and my right-hand man. At the homecoming, we had complications with the sound system hooking up to his laptop. So, I said, “I’ll DJ. I’ll lock in my computer right now because I got all the music that he’s going to play. Let me just holla at Rod and see what songs he wants to do, and I’m going to line them up, and then me and Rod are going to do the show.” It was 2:30 [a.m.], and the club closed at 3 [a.m.]. The connection I had with the crowd already brought that energy out of Rod. He was already nervous as s**t because it was grown folks, and he didn’t know how they were going to respond to him. But when he noticed that response, he said, “Damn, they f**king with me heavy.” I said, “Yeah, I told you.” That show happened in September. After that show ended, me and Uncle Dee had a phone call, and he said, “The way you put that s**t together, you did the whole show and came through for Rod. His cousin is doing his thing right now, but we need him to learn from a mainstream DJ because he was just starting himself. It was his first time really deejaying because Rod put him in that position. Rod is going on tour with Kevin Gates in two months, and he needs a DJ.”
I told him I was making a lot of money with my club situation. I was booked for homecoming in Tallahassee the following month. I ended up being in Tallahassee at the same time [Rod] was in Tallahassee. His team wanted me to deejay his homecoming show. So, I gave my DJ event to another DJ, and I jumped on that one because I knew I could impress Rod’s team again and see what we were going to do this time. Now, we’re dealing with 3,000 people in the club versus Vegas Cabaret’s 600 people. The crowd was singing all his music word for word without Rod singing a word. We looked at each other like, “Hey, bro, they’re performing for me.” So, he got hyped with the crowd. The crowd got hyped with us, and we just turned that s**t up.
Kevin Gates’ “I’m Him Tour” was your first time hitting the road together. How did you and Rod Wave bond?
I honestly didn’t deal with Rod a lot because I understood when Dee told me, “He has to feel you out. He has to bond with you.” It takes a little minute for Rod to open up to you. Rod don’t talk too much. Rod’s to himself and a loner. We’d be riding in the Sprinter together. He is in the seat behind me, and we probably say five words to each other. Uncle Dee would tell me, “When Rod and I talk directly, he’ll bring your name up.” He finally started to open up a little bit when he’d tell me, “Let’s do this for the show.”
Since he was only an opener, how did the crowd receive him?
Seeing it as a DJ, I can feel the way Rod felt as an artist because beforehand, we were just going to the show, but we had to realize we were going to cities that had an all-Kevin Gates fan base. Nobody knew who Rod Wave was, so we were playing songs and performing, and they were not responding. He went from thousands of people knowing your song word for word to now they’re looking at you and waiting on Kevin Gates. After a few of those shows, it got to the point where I was like, “Rod, let me go in 10 minutes earlier to get the crowd going. Let me DJ a little bit. Let me freestyle it.” We turned up a few sets early, got them crunk as hell, and they were ready for Rod.
Did he record during that tour?
We released the Ghetto Gospel album during the Kevin Gates tour. People don’t know that the whole album was recorded on Kevin Gates’ tour. He recorded it in different hotel rooms in different cities. We’d be riding, and he’d think of a song by the time we got to the next destination. He would’ve already written it in his head. Then, he’ll get a separate room, set the mic up, engineer, cameraman, and the whole team with us.
How did Rod improve as a live performer during his first headlining trek, “The Ghetto Gospel Tour”?
Rod got less nervous. He may say he was more nervous because he’s the headliner now. But he knew he wasn’t nervous about that music because Rod is on point with the music.
He has one of the most diehard fan bases. What were some interesting interactions you remember?
I’ve never seen so many people cry in my life just to meet somebody. I get so many calls to meet him or just to be near him. It’s insane.
On his latest “Nostalgia Tour,” Rod Wave went viral for jumping off a balcony and through the ground. What was that about?
That stunt came from the show [at Morris Brown College on Oct. 31, 2020]. If you put two and two together, you’ll understand why he fell through the stage.
What do you have coming for the rest of 2023?
I got my artist iCandy. She’s taking it by storm right now. We’re getting booked left and right. She just got signed over to Columbia. Behind the scenes, I’ve been working on her heavily because I will blast out and put my face on it soon. I finally found somebody who’s been hungry enough, and I jumped on the bandwagon with them. Her team was already put together. I knew I could put this strategy together, and I know how management handles situations. I know how artists promote their stuff. I know what you need and what you don’t need. I learned all of that, and that’s what I did it for. Getting on with Rod really changed my whole career. I was on the road with him in 2019. In 2020, he was on Billboard. I’ve seen that happen.