ARTIST INTERVIEW: If you’ve gone to a hip-hop show in the past two years, there’s a good chance that Nigel Ridgeway (a.k.a. DJ Trew) had a hand in making it happen. The Baltimore native came to Chicago over a decade ago, and has turned his passion for music into one of the most lucrative party organizations in the city. Since coming to Chicago he’s DJ’d at almost every hot spot in Wicker Park, started his own magazine, and organized top-notch shows featuring some of the most cutting-edge hip-hop artists to date. Centerstage had an opportunity to sit down with DJ Trew and rap about everything from solidifying the Chicago hip-hop scene to overcoming bone cancer.
Where were you born and how did the local music scene influence your taste?
I grew up in the Baltimore/DC area whose musical styles are Baltimore club and Go-Go respectively. Between Baltimore clubs and going to raves as a teenager, I gained an appreciation for house, techno, and drum & bass. The general open-mindedness of the rave culture got me into other genres that weren’t ‘dance’ music like trip-hop, acid jazz and other forms of electronic music. Go-Go got me into more percussive/syncopated styles like funk, afrobeat, reggae and such. Getting into hip-hop though is a different story. As a genre, around the mid-’80s, it was being played more and more on the radio and MTV and was very much a youth-oriented musical style. I was raised on old soul music by my mother, and since hip-hop is essentially the next step from late-’70s soul/disco, getting into hip-hop wasn’t that big of a leap for me. It was a natural progression.