Goldfinger is a highly regarded DJ among New York music circles with a history that goes back to Brooklyn’s landmark record store Beat Street, where he was in the in-store DJ and music buyer for one of the most influential shops in hip-hop culture. He is one of the city’s premier DJs having provided music at events for Heidi Klum, Nas, Oprah, Eddie George, P.Diddy and DJ’ed alongside the late Jam Master Jay, Mark Ronson, Kid Capri, & Funkmaster Flex while keeping a weekly residency at Lotus. On February 7th, Goldfinger is going to dig into a record library dating back over 20 years, taking the dancefloor on a one of a kind journey. For now, sit back as we take you on a trip to Brooklyn to tap a little deeper into the musical history of a NYC legend.WHO INSPIRED YOU TO DJ
?My family, particularly my moms. She always played music around the house and gave me the chance to man the record player while she had company. Playing for her and her friends was special just because I got to see their emotions immediately after playing "their" song! I've loved that magical feeling ever since.
Whodini was also my upstairs neighbors so that was surreal in itself. They were huge early so I always felt that hip-hop was tangible.WHAT WERE THE RADIO SHOWS AND DJS THAT INFLUENCED YOU?I listened to the radio non-stop. Slept by it on many occasions. Red Alert and Mr. Magic, Marley Marl were in constant rotation. Frankie Crocker also was a big influence. He broke major records like Soul II Soul (which was an import ) and Hall and Oates. He made it cool to go with records that you liked and felt strongly about regardless of genre or even the race of the artist.
WHAT CLUBS HAD AN INFLUENCE ON YOU?
The clubs that was popping when I wanted to go out was the Underground, Paradise Garage, Union Square. Later it was Latin Quarters. I never experienced those because of my age and even if I was old enough I don't think I was mentally ready for the scene. I lived vicariously through the older cats in my hood who went. They would share the events and kind of translate it to me.
They used to simulcast a lot from the clubs back then so I got the music aspect but not the attitude or rush of actually being there. Or the performances, which totally sucked ass for me!
I remember when I first started going out I could score alcohol pretty easy but I wanted to get a good looking fake I.D. for (getting into) the clubs. Most of the clubs didn't have alcohol but had the best music at the time. Sound Factory, Wild Pitch. No liks! Kiliminjaro's, MK's did.
All different styles of spinning but they all played everything from the top dj's of the time: Clark Kent, Red Alert, Junior Vasquez, Sting Intl. etc.
HOW DID YOU GET THE JOB AT BEAT STREET?
I got the job because I worked at several record stores in downtown Brooklyn before Beat Street stepped up. They remembered me shopping there a lot and I said yes.
DID YOU HAVE FREE REIGN TO DJ THE RECORDS YOU LIKED IN THE STORE OR DID THEY WANT YOU TO PUSH CERTAIN THINGS?
Beat Street was a retail dream. We shaped the tastes and libraries of so many customers and DJs. The store was exciting because everything was played by the jocks there and was introduced to the customer from a DJ perspective. The NY scene was vibrant because everyone listened to everything, played everything and was nice with the wheels. Now it’s just the same 10 records. The customer (back then) wanted to feed their library with good music and stuff that would appreciate with time. Not bootlegs and poor sounding quality stuff. Whether old or new, it had to be good.
WHAT'S THE TOP 5 RECORDS YOU REMEMBER "BREAKING" OUT OF BEAT STREET TO BECOME POPULAR OR BECOME CLASSICS? ANYTHING YOU FELT YOU HAD A DIRECT HAND IN BREAKING BY PLAYING IT, BUYING IT, TALKING ABOUT IT?
Jay-Z before securing his major label deals, sold his records and tapes on consignment to us. Biggie broke through the mixtape phenomenon that we cultivated at the store. The store also showcased his first appearances before his deal. Wu-Tang was the strangest. RZA (Prince Rakeem at the time) and Ol' Dirty Bastard (R.I.P) hand delivered the first copies of "Protect Ya Neck" to yours truly at Beat Street in hopes of selling it in the store. I played the record and was floored. I asked Dirty if he had any more he said 'about 50 in the car'. I said 'that's all'! He said, 'how many do you want'? I said 'all the records you got pressed' ! His look was priceless. The records were all sold that day. At least 2 to my man DJ Riz who was there and 300 more when Dirty came back an hour later.
WHAT WAS THE STATE OF NY RADIO WHEN YOU WERE AT BEAT STREET?
Hot 97 has broken too many artists to name. A lot of major artists got their first shine on the station. They make history. College Radio did too. Stretch & Bobbito, Awesome 2, Riz & Avee, Underground Railroad, Mayhem, Mecca, DNA & Hank Love also had major impact on the scene at the same time. Whereas Hot hit you with the single, those stations hit you with LP cuts and freestyles, so you got a view on how an album would possibly sound in context with records getting played regularly. That's what is missing now. By the time you hear talk of an album, you are so sick of the single....
IT SEEMED LIKE IN THE LATE 80'S AND EARLY 90'S DJS IN NYC HAD TO BE REALLY WELL ROUNDED, KNOWING THEIR HIP-HOP, HOUSE, CLUB/DISCO CLASSICS AND REGGAE - WHAT WERE SOME OF THE RECORDS FROM THESE DIFFERENT GENRES THAT EVERY DJ HAD TO HAVE IN THEIR CRATES?
You had to have different genres in your crate. You had to be able to play everything. Cut, scratch, and play differently from others. Regional records were a must. Luke, Pharcyde, Geto Boys, Junkyard Band, Rare Essence, Ten City. Different genres but we listened to it all.
As a DJ you HAD to be NICE, well versed and immeresed in the music, which would lead to discovering other music, Danny Krivit is a prime example, he was primarily a House DJ but he always spun rare records, fundamentals, old school classics, he always killed it!
WHAT ARE YOUR FAVORITE PARTIES YOU REMEMBER DJING AT?
My favorite party to date was a Cornerstone Mixtape 50th CD Anniversary Party @ Lotus. I didn't think I was going to do that well. People still bring up this party to this day, I've met people who can still remember the records I played, what I was wearing, etc. I came on after Tony Touch, I dropped my signature Goldfinger intro,
this was the day Beyonce's Crazy in Love came out,
first record I played. Midway through my set, at it's peak I played N.W.A. - Straight Outta Compton. Who plays NWA at a regular party!?
It didn't feel like a regular party, it felt like something special.
WITH BEAT STREET CLOSING YEARS AGO AND NOW DANCE TRACKS AND SATELLITE RECORDS - WHAT DO YOU SEE FOR THE FUTURE OF RECORD STORES AND DJING IN NYC?
The record retail scene is primarily done off. Whatever 9/11 didn't cripple, MP3s and Serato killed. Technology is a motherfucker.
SPEAKING OF SERATO, YOU RECENTLY MADE THE SWITCH, WHAT ARE YOUR THOUGHTS?
There's nothing like that warm vinyl sound. I bought vinyl yesterday, it's a straight addiction! (side note: the new record lays on his turntables - Brian Auger Oblivion Express Live in Oblivion Vol. 2) I just switched to Serato and with all my 'dinosaur' reluctance, I love it. I just don't like the fact that it makes the artform of DJing microwavable. Anybody can be a DJ with no struggle, dedication or dues paid but show up to a club and get to be one. With Serato and the rise of MP3s, you also lose the ability to tangibly browse through records and discover people and it becomes harder to distinguish what's good & bad. That's just how I feel though.
WHAT ARE YOUR FAVORITE PARTIES YOU REMEMBER OTHER DJs PLAYING AT?
My favorite parties were DJed by the legends of NY nightlife, each party had all different vibes and different DJs.
Wild pitch was a floating party with membership type invite. You found out location maybe a day or two before it happened. Always packed. Camacho & Basil spinning classics, Disciple spinning house with Bobby Konders (yup), Clark Kent with the hip hop! Bobby also did the reggae. Classic!
Homebase had one of the best sound systems in the city ever. Pure hip-hop. Performances from early New York legends and straight turntable prowess from DJ Riz & Funkmaster Flex.
Sound factory Junior Vasquez ruled the space (which is now ‘Spirit’) with a legends touch. Primarily a house night he interjected hip-hop into his mix when the hip-hop dancers started to fuse with his scene. Where a lot of the early videos were shot, as well it was a launching pad spot for the UMC’s, Rap City’s Big Lez, and many others.
The Building Kid Capri hitting you from all angles. Introducing a myriad of styles all in one night. It couldn't get any better, they had performances from Tribe, L.O.N.S., Nubians, etc.
The Muse This party kind of symbolized New York's swag after the closing of Union Square and Latin quarter. This club had early R&B performances but it was the hip hop performances and impromptu freestyles that really give this club a must go to effect. The precursor to the vibe of The Tunnel. DJs varied from Stretch Armstrong, S&S, Riz and Jazzy Joyce.
The Tunnel Historic is the best way to describe this club. One of, if not the biggest clubs ever in the city, this spot captured the essence of an era in hip-hop that will never be forgotten. Where movements came through to earn its stripes. TheRoc, Bad Boy, Murda Inc and even 50 Cent had his go there before his G-Unit was even formed. Legendary performances and Big Kap and the Funkmaster driving the crowd ape shit. Definitely not for the faint of heart. Rollercoaster ride without breaks. Even regional acts came threw and had their records broken by Flex. Historic performances by: Biggie, Diddy & the Fam, Dr. Dre and Snoop, JD and the SoSo Def crew, etc.
…Now I can tell you about the many clubs I ripped! Ha ha ha!
HOLDING THE THRONE AS THE KING OF CLUBS FOR YEARS, AND EXPERIENCING THE RISE AND FALL OF MANY DIFFERENT SCENES IN THE CLUBS HOW WOULD YOU COMPARE THE VIBE OF NYC NIGHTLIFE TODAY, IN COMPARISON TO WHAT YOU REMEMBER IT TO BE?
The club scene now is what is bringing the parties down, and the music kind of sucks. Parties weren't as pretentious. The thing about parties is that the mind state is already established from the door.
The whole idea of being secluded "V.I.P" didn't exist, the "celebs" partied with genral public
and there was this feeling and sense of unity.
There was nothing like arriving to my gig at Planet Hollywood around 9, rushing, thinking I'm late because the doors opened at 10..and finding a line wrapped around the block, with people waiting to hear you.
5 YEARS FROM NOW WHERE WILL GOLDFINGER BE?
I will definitely have music out, I love production, and sampling is such an art, you bring together all these sounds and make it one, your own masterpiece.
I maybe living in France. Miles and Quincy all went to France and were inspired.
However, don't get it twisted, I LOVE BROOKLYN! I wouldn't be Goldfinger without growing up here. Brookyln is so dope because you can have these different personalities originate from one site. MC wise, you have M.O.P. the hardest, you have Big Daddy Kane, the smoothest of the smoothe. DJ wise you have SPINNA, Brookyln! EVIL DEE, Brookyln! Clark Kent, SCRATCH, he's SO Brooklyn! The list can go on, and they all encompass so many different styles and flavors, they can all play the
same record but everyone's approach is so different. Brookyln still has a culture and you can be reminded of what Brookyln is in every part of the borough.
YOU HAVE 5 SECONDS, NAME ONE OF YOUR FAVORITE PRODUCERS AND YOUR FAVORITE SONG OF THEIRS:
Q-TIP. AWARD TOUR.
His beats were like art, they were like pictures if you listened. His samples were seamless.
Q-Tip is music!