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Event Review: Eye Of The Storm:Tastemakers Only DJ/Music Conference
Tallahassee, Florida, on October 19-23, 2005
By Keith '1st Prophet' Kennedy
(more articles from this author)
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As of late, Florida is becoming known as the hurricane state constantly in a state of emergency. Not surprisingly, the eye of the most powerful force in the Southern entertainment industry rested in the capital of Tallahassee, Florida, on October 19-23, 2005, during the Tastemakers Only DJ/Music Conference.

This fall’s classic edition contained within its vortex bands that fed over 1,000 DJs, artists, producers, label owners, media outlets, retailers, models, and other industry Tastemakers with information to help them not only survive the storm of the entertainment field, but to thrive in it as well. “TJ’s DJ’s” CEO, TJ Chapman, served as chief meteorologist forecasting the next wave of talent set to break through the walls of the industry’s status quo.

The storm front began on Wednesday, with an epic battle for Madden ’06 football supremacy among TJ’s DJ’s. EA Sports, along with Yomele! Entertainment and Verbatim Records, posted a pot of over $1,000 in cash and prizes, including a Sony PSP for the tournament champion. After the dust settled, the Tastemakers celebrated the latest invention by Tampa Tony to aid smokers called Da Splitta (, complete with serving trays filled with product for demonstrations all night long.

The conference elevated to a higher category when, on Thursday, Chapman recruited a wise team of industry power players to speak on a conference panel designed to help neophytes weather the industry storm. (founder, Rap Coalition; orchestrator of Cash Money, No Limit, Eminem, and David Banner’s multi-million dollar deals), Jason Geter (co-owner, Grand Hustle), Needlz (producer: 50 Cent, Young Buck), Ted Lucas (CEO, Slip-N-Slide), and Jerry Barrow (editor-in-chief, Scratch Magazine) became winded when divulging the inner workings of the industry’s perfect storm. In addition, TJ’s DJ’s recognized Wendy Day (Tastemakers Award), Needlz (Prestigious DJ Award), and Jimmie Dotrie, PD, WJJN-Dothan (Platinum Needle Award) for outstanding achievements in their field.

Tastemakers such as funnyman Roland “Lil Duval” Powell, DJ Drama (mixtape master; T.I.’s DJs) and Jim Jonsin (producer: Trick Daddy, Pretty Ricky) took advantage of the calm before the Tastemakers Showcase whirlwind by playing EA Sports’ NBA Live ’06, practicing on studio equipment provided by Leitz Music, and being interviewed by radio stations such as WWLD-Tallahassee or Internet shows such as “601 Live” from Mississippi. Once the curtains rose on the Showcase, the Tastemakers buckled down and held on for dear life as the performers swept away all reservations of their ability to rock a stage!

Newcomers on the verge of breaking through the glass included Da Backwudz (“Fantastic”), Rob Jackson (“Put Ya Pimpin’ Down”), Urban Mystic (“It’s You”), Static Major (wrote 15 #1 records for Aaliyah, Ginuwine, Pretty Ricky, and others), Ebony Eyez (“Take Me Back”), J-Shin (“Baby Mama Drama”), G-Mack (“Stunna”), Acafool (“Hell No”), and Chop Shop (“Don’t Trip”). Each artist provided insight to a silver lining for their careers as the Tastemakers thoroughly enjoyed every set. But, true joy arrived when the stars came out at night for the Tastemakers After Party presented by Grand Hustle.

For the after party, the Tastemakers melded with the Florida A&M University Rattlers, who were celebrating their “Homecoming at The Moon.” No one left disappointed as Grand Hustle led the all-star line up with P$C, featuring T.I. and Xtaci. Plus, Trillville and Tango Redd, along with Blak Jak, had the crowd “Ridin’ & Swervin” for the evening. But, the people exploded with energy as they welcomed home T-Pain (“I’m Sprung”) fresh from his performance on BET’s “106 & Park.” After thanking his supporters for their loyalty, T-Pain had one more surprise in store as he brought his group, The Nappy Headz, to the stage for a gangstafied “Robbery.”

Friday was welcomed on the campus of Florida A&M with a festive feeling as TJ’s DJ’s united with FAMU, WWLD-Tallahassee and WHBX-Tallahassee to bring about the Homecoming block party. After wrapping their morning shows, Doug Banks and Tom Joyner both circulated among the Rattlers to soak in the atmosphere. However, the night belonged to the Young, Fly, and Flashy as TJ’s DJ’s, the Russell Simmons Music Group, and Def Jam spread cheer at The Painted Lady/Potbelly’s through Armadale vodka, and folks such as Doug Banks enjoyed great music played by (recently nominated by Radio One’s Dirty Awards as DJ of the Year).

The Homecoming week peaked with the FAMU Rattlers claiming victory over Norfolk State on Saturday. Thankfully, the world-renowned Marching 100 took the field at halftime, so the FAMU faithful could leave the game soon afterwards and attend the Homecoming concert. This year’s edition featured a stellar line up consisting of the Ying Yang Twins, Trick Daddy, Young Jeezy, T.I., and Keyshia Cole.

By the time Sunday arrived, the Tastemakers storm was winding down. But, there was still enough strength with the help of Zephyrhills, Pepsi, and Red Bull Energy Drink for the Tastemakers to pull together a Hurricane Relief BBQ presented by Lock ‘Em Down Records. The Tastemakers raised awareness, supplies, and finances from the Tallahassee community by offering plates of BBQ to heal the trauma caused by the hurricane damage on the Gulf Coast.

After the fury of the Tastemakers passed, the assessment was revealed to be over 1,000 industry Tastemakers with more insights, contacts, and knowledge to help withstand the erosion caused by ignorance. Unfortunately, not everyone who wishes to attend is able to make it. That is why TJ’s DJ’s has been able to harness the power of the conference and place it onto a DVD beginning with the 3rd Quarter ’05 summer edition.

With a storm that raged this intensely for the 4th Quarter fall chapter, the 1st Quarter winter conference in February ’06 should have the makings to warm the industry for many cold nights to come. Join the 10,000+ message board members and 14 million hits per month by logging onto the newly redesigned for more information and pictures from all of the previous Tastemakers. Are you a Tastemakers?

For more information and to contact the author, click on the author’s name at the top of the page.

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