Over the last couple of decades the wide-spanning musical exploits of Detroit’s Robert O’Bryant (known professionally as Waajeed and casually referred to as Jeedo) have never been motivated by a quest for personal glory.
Waajeed’s name shot into the public consciousness in the early 2000s thanks to the innovative R&B production work with his group Platinum Pied Pipers. He has since moved on from Platinum Pied Pipers and also stepped away from his Bling47 label. With a new musical direction, he needed a new brand and new label – Dirt Tech Reck.
“It’s not that I’m not interested in hip hop or R&B anymore, I’m interested in hip hop and R&B combined with many other things. That’s probably the reason for forming the label, Dirt Tech Reck. It’s to ultimately just get to a point where I’m making genre-less music, stuff that’s maybe so far ahead or so current that there is no name for it.
“A lot of labels just look at music as product; we choose to look at it as art. This music won’t be for everybody; the people that will get it, they’ll really get it and they’ll really cherish it and they’ll have something that will speak volumes next to the cookie-cutter shit.”
Record label’s don’t get much more independent or DIY than Dirt Tech Reck – Waajeed runs everything himself, which can be tiring, between juggling production and DJing duties, and his role as a lecturer at Red Bull Music Academy.
“When I’m in the middle of some of those jobs I’m thinking ‘what the fuck am I doing?’ At the end of the day I’m definitely glad and excited to have my hands on every job and everything that it involves, from making the record, to mixing it, to shooting a video for it, to editing it, to silk-screening the covers, to picking up the records, to taking it to our distributor to get it to the people.”
Waajeed recently returned to his home city of Detroit after living in New York for ten years, and he speaks fondly of Detroit’s unique underground music culture.
“Part of the reason that I feel like we’ve got such a rich musical history is because we’re not so aware of what our neighbours are doing. That allows us to focus on what’s going on in our creative space. I think that’s a benefit that this city allows. It allows the space and it allows the historical references to continue to progress and make original music and not necessarily keep up with the Jones’s.
“When I was coming up in Detroit there was a radio DJ called Electrifying Mojo. He would play techno, he’d play Peter Frampton, he’d play Funkadelic, he’d play Prince, and that was the environment I was coached in.”
That kind of genre flexibility is exactly what you can expect from Waajeed on his upcoming Australian club tour.
“I hope people would expect great music, not necessarily a particular genre or a particular name brand or any particular person. I just hope that folks come and bring their dancing shoes and be ready for a great time.”