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Now Playing: DJ Spen Mix

DJ Spen Top Ten
1: I'm Free...Yass...Purple Music
2: It's So Easy...DJ Spen & The MuthaFunkaz ft. Ann Nesby...Code Red
3: Guessing Again...Mark Grant ft. Russoul...CDR
4: Marc Evans...Givin' Me Joy...CDR
5: A Greater Love...Robert Owens & DJ Spen
6: The Bump(Ame remix)...Mr. V...Defected
7: My Faith(DUB)...Kemal ft. Maiya...CDR
8: Mighty Wind...David Harness...CDR
9: You have a purpose...Michelle Weeks...Spen & Hudge remix
10: Calypson Of House(Julien Jabre remix)...Keytronics Ensemble...Juno Records
DJ Spen

When they said ‘Get busy’, they could have been referring to DJ Spen. Down the line from sunny San Francisco, he fills us in on his hectic schedule. “I’m in the studio working with Mark Evans and Barbara Tucker on the new single ‘We Are’. Just finished a Hustle Music project – real gospelly – and a Groove Junkies remix on a song called ‘Oh Lord’.” It’s second nature to a man who’s been hard at his turntables since the tender age of 13. But would he say gospel is his first love?

“It has to be up there in the top three, I guess!” laughs Baltimore’s finest, the artist otherwise known as Sean Spencer. “I’ve been around it since I was born, it’s kinda like a part of my life. My parents were very instrumental in the whole gospel thing – they were Southerners, so it was a big thing for them, belief in God was very heavy in my family. I owe them that, they were a major influence.” Growing up, Spen found himself drawn equally to
“hip hop, funk and the soul stuff. And some of the rock stuff – some Zeppelin, Hendrix, Chicago, that kind of thing. I was into a wide variety of things as a kid.”

Spen, whose career spans two decades, was front row centre at the birth of hip hop in the early Eighties. “The hip hop thing – it was something new that came around. You turned on the radio at that time, ’79, ’80, and you were bound to hear it. I mean, shoot, the first hip hop record I ever bought was ‘Rapper’s Delight’ by the Sugarhill Gang, not long after it came out! I would turn on the radio and it would be Parliament, Funkadelic and the Rufus and Chaka Khan album, that was real big. It was an interesting period.” It spoke to the young Spen loud and clear. “As a young kid hip hop was fresh – it was a voice that really spoke to me going through my teenage years and early adulthood. It’s really attractive at that time. The gospel thing was always there, it never really left.”

Gospel and hip hop might seem poles apart to some fans - do they complement each other? “Well, there is hip hop gospel!” Spen says. “To a point, it’s complementary when you make it complementary. You can put anything together, it’s just about how you put it together.” He’d know, having been mixing it up since his early teens when he started to put together production team Numarx. “We were turntablists, that’s how we started,” he explains. “One of us decided to pick up a microphone and start rapping, and the others did it too – then the ones who wanted to stay on the turntables stayed there, and the ones who wanted to expand and do other stuff did that. We ended up being a pretty tight unit.” Not only that, but one of their 1986 tracks – ‘Girl You Know It’s True’ – ended up being made famous (or infamous) by a certain Milli Vanilli.

From his first successful foray into music with Numarx, Spen went on to the Basement Boys, having found himself at the cutting edge of another exciting emerging genre – house. “The whole house thing had started coming around in a major way, and instead of just doing a hip hop record we figured we’d get some guys who were doing the house thing to remix it. It ended up taking off. At the time, especially as a DJ and doing mobile stuff, you had to play a little bit of everything, be knowledgeable about it, know what was happening with electro and pop. From there I got interested in doing some songwriting and something other than just the hip hop stuff.” As a Basement Boy, Spen started to become highly sought after as a remixer, putting his unique spin on cuts by the likes of Diana Ross, Everything but the Girl, Ann Nesby and Shaun Escoffery.

On to the present – Spen’s newest love as of 2004 is Code Red Recordings, the label he runs with his partner in crime and fellow MuthaFunka Gary Deane. “He had a studio opportunity for me after I left Basement Boys – at the time I was going to get a regular 9 to 5. It seemed like one of my last ditch efforts to try and make this happen. I tried it out, and it took a minute, but it ended up working.” Working it is, with the likes of Ultra Nate, Jada, Marc Evans, Anne Nesby and Karizma adding their flavour to the pot. And it saved him from getting a proper job, too. “Pretty much,” Spen agrees, “at least for now!”

Code Red has gone onto releaing some of soulful houses most sought after gems. With DJ Spen & Thommy Davis presents Terry Thompson feat. Lisa Mack ‘Shine’ which has captured the vibe of 95-96 whilst keeping the whole dance floor appeal very current. Also DJ Spen feat Ann Nesby – It’s So easy. Possibly one of the most supported track at the 07 WMC amongst the soulful dons and already Code Red’s 10th release.

What does he love most about what he does? “I love every aspect of it, from going to the studio, to writing a song, to engineering a song, to doing the beats, sending a record off to be mastered and then being called to go out and DJ. I can’t see myself doing anything else.” As for the future: “I just want to continue to build the Code Red name, to make it a contender. To be able to write more songs, with so many other people I want to work with - Ce Ce Peniston, Martha Wash - good gosh, the list is huge! If I ever got to work with just them I’d be happy. Beyond that I don’t know, maybe it’s a bit too soon to ask me, but I’m loving what I’m doing so much right now. I’m very, very blessed, I tell you.”

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Code Red/Spiritually Sound
The Spen & Karizma EP Vol. 1"Outta My Mind" & "God Made Me Phunky"
DJ Spen presents Thommy Davis "Nightrain"
Jada "If You Should Ever Be Lonely"
Juke Joint feat. Shawn Benson "Move"
DJ Spen & The MuthaFunkaz "Holy Ghost"
Kenny Bobien "Right Away"
Karizma feat. DJ Spen "4 The Love"
Byron Stingily "It's All Jesus"
DJ Spen & The MuthaFunkaz "Rock The Bellz"
DJ Technic "Gabryelle"
DJ Spen & Thommy Davis "Voodoo Ray" Code Red Recordings
"The Best I Can"/"Brutal" Code Red Recordings
Spen's Numarx Work
"Buss It" KMA Records
"Rhymes So Def" Studio Records
"Girl You Know It's True" Studio Records
"Our Time Has Come" (Album) Studio Records
"Do it Good" Marx Brothers Records
Pavement Productions featuring Junie Jam "Just Gee'n'" Marx Brothers Records
The Numarx "Drop Down to Your Knees" Marx Brothers Records

Spen's Basement Boys Work
Stacy Kidd Feat. Tracy Hamlin, "He's The One"
Xaviera Gold, "Bad Girls"
Jasper Street Company, "Till I Found You"
Jasper St. Co., "A Feelin'"(Remix)/Sticky People, "Kong"(Remix)
Audra Lomax, "Givin' All My Love"
"Love Changes" Basement Boys Records
Basement Boys, "Got Accapellas?" DJ Tools
Jasper Street Co., "Unreleased Mixes" Double Pack
Jasper St. Co., "Another Day", Blaze Remixes
Jasper St. Co., "Another Day", DJ Spen's Original Mix & Liquid People Re-mix
Jasper St. Co.Feat. Ann Nesby, "Praisin' His Name"
Jasper St.Co.,"A Feelin'"-Original Mix-, "You Gave Me Love"-Unreleased Mix
DJ Spen & Karizma's Original Blackman's Band, "The Casbaah"
Jasper Street Company, "Music"
Jasper Street Company, "Smile" Remixes Stefano Gamma, DJ Spen/Karizma
Pam Frazier, "Thinkin'bout Your Love"
Spenitch, "I'm Blessed" Remixes DJ Spen & Karizma
Deepah Ones, "Dancin'"
Those Guys, "Love Love Love", "Sierra Leone (Freak)" Vocal
Jasper St. Co., Remixes-"God Helps Those(Who Help Themselves)"- Junior Vasquez
"Fly Away"- Frankie Knuckles
Jasper Street Company, "Till I Found You"
Deepah Ones, "In The Sky"
DJ Spen presents Jasper St. Co., "God Helps Those (Who Help Themselves)"
Teddy Douglas & Louis Radio, "The Violin"
DJ Spen presents Jasper St. Co., "Love Changes" (Boris Dlugosch Remix)
DJ Spen presents Jasper St. Co., "Temptation (Lead Me Not)"
D'Shadauxmen, "Meesha Luba"
DJ Spen Presents Jasper St. Co., "Love Changes"
DJ Spen Presents Jasper St. Co., "Solid Ground"
Jo & Spen's Southern House-Po-Tality, "Stop (Feel What You Won't)" Remix
DJ Spen presents Jasper St. Co., "Get Together"
Those Guys feat. Jean Luc Ponte, "Love Love Love"
Sticky People, "Party Time"/"Kong"
DJ Spen Presents Jasper Street Co., "A Feelin'"
Full Length Vinyl/CD
DJ Spen Presents Jasper St. Co.(LP),"IN A SPENSANE WORLD"
Jasper Street Co. "INTERPRETATIONS" The Remix Collection
Jasper Street Co. "INTERPRETATIONS" Vinyl Sampler-4 New Songs Only
DJ Spen Presents Jasper St. Co. (EP), NEW BIRTH "Smile","Music", "Till I Found You", "I Wanna Sing", "God Help Those(Who Help Themselves)"
Karizma (EP), SHADES OF K "Don't Go", "Shades of K", "Oneofdemnites"
Deepah Ones (EP), LIMITED EDITION "Redd Hott Momma", "Makin' Love", "Don't Blame It"
God's House
Jasper St. Co. "Got Me Going" (Remixes) (12")
Jasper St Co "Got Me Going"/"He's Alright" (Remixes)
Jasper St Co "He's Alright"/"Got Me Going" (House Mix)

Reel People "In the Sun" Defected Records
Polyphonics "Changing Times" Sole Music UK
Joey Negro "Make a Move" Z Records
Ron Carroll "Just Got Paid"
The Jinx "Inamorata" M&2S
Byron Stingily "Paradise" Nervous Records
Yavann"New Life" Realtime Records
Brigid Boden "Must Go On" A & M Records
"Stand Tall" Narcotic
Diana Ross"Take Me Higher" (12") Boot
Brand New Heavies "World Keeps Spinnin'" Remix Culture/DMC
Brigid Boden "Oh How I Cry" A & M Records
Kim English "Tomorrow" Nervous Records
250 Pounds of Blue "You Don't Have To Worry" Eightball
Everything But the Girl "Temperamental" Atlantic Records
Ron Carroll "Stronger" Afterhours
Central Station "Love To See Ya" (Dancin) Azuli
"Give Me Your Love" (12") Irma Unlimited
DJ Gregory "Block Party" Africanism/Yellow Productions
It's A DJ Thing: Volume 10, Aquarian Dream "Love And Tears" Defender
"Sunday Morning" Thickk Records
Defected Sessions "Save Our Soul" Defected
Angie Stone "Brotha" Eskimo Recordings
Brandy "Talk About Our Love" Muthafunkaz Remix, Boot
Alisha Keys "You Don't Know My Name" Boot
Beyonce "Me, Myself & I" MuthaFunkaz Remix, Boot
Ashanti "Happy" Boot
Production (Misc.)
Code Red EP "For the Love" "Arabian Nightmare" "For the Love vs. Gabryelle" Defected Records
Ron Hall feat. the MuthaFunkaz "The Way You Love Me" Hustle Music UK
Vonita White "My Devotion" Devotion Records
"Spen's House" Boot
Baltimore Housing Authority "Tequila" Poji Records
D'Shadeauxmen "Spanish Storm" Defender
"Disco Dreams"(Vol. 2) Black Vinyl Records
"Midnight EP" Chez Music
"Disco Dreams Revisited" Black Vinyl Records
"Disco Dreams" (Vol. 1) Black Vinyl Records
"Disco Dreaming-The Black Vinyl Collection" (CD & vinyl)Black Vinyl Records
"Spentoolz" (Vol. 1)Scarabtrax
Jasper St Co "Solid Ground" Independance Records France
DJ Spen "The Midnight EP" Chez Music
DJ Spen "The Grinde" (SAWK) Kumba</DIV< p>
Mix CDs
Southport Weekender Vol. 4 SuSu Records
Basement Boys 15th Anniversary Box Set Basement Boys Records
"DJ Mixes: Garage City" (Disc 2) Defected

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