Open Source: Sat., Nov. 20, 10pm. $5. Monthly. La Tazza 108, 108 Chestnut St. 215.922.7322
Female participation is at a peak in hip-hop, and with artists like Jean Grae wrecking the mike for the competition, the traditional male stronghold looks ready to surrender--or at least share the spotlight. But why let them off easy? That's what Saury Benitez, aka DJ Ultraviolet, is for.
Benitez, 24, picked up DJing about two years ago. Her passion began as an impulse buy. With an income-tax refund burning a hole in her pocket, Benitez headed to Armand's Records and picked up a pair of turntables--never having played on a set before.
"I don't know what inspired me to do it," she says with a grin. "But once I hooked them up, it felt right."
As a former aspiring MC from Spanish Harlem, Benitez says hip-hop was a no-brainer. Hours spent practicing, scouring thrift shops for records and honing her performance skills drew praise from friends. But Benitez had bigger goals in mind than entertaining house guests.
"I wanted to have my own party. I always had that in my head," she says. She reached her goal when her Ladies Love Hip-Hop monthly debuted at La Tazza in August. Drawing a diverse crowd with its wide range of underground hip-hop, the gig has become one of the venue's most popular nights.
Benitez mixes up the likes of Madlib, Hieroglyphics, vintage cuts and the occasional soul track. Leaving the commercial hits to others, Benitez says her select choices are equal parts musical history and entertainment.
"I'm hoping through Ladies Love Hip-Hop that we can preserve the real hip-hop and not sugarcoat it in nonsense," she says.
True to her entrepreneurial spirit, Benitez's desire to succeed as a DJ is larger than one night a month. She recently started the Signal party at Fluid and is gearing up for another La Tazza monthly called Open Source. Teaming with DJs Sezy, Ninety9 and Jneiro Jarel, Benitez describes her newest gig as mixture of broken beat, soul, funk and Brazilian beats, with an open-CD DJ hour to set things off.
Of course it wouldn't be a Benitez party without the occasional hip-hop touch. "I did buy a house record the other day," she admits. But don't relax just yet, boys.
"I don't think I'm going to become a house DJ," she says. "Hip-hop is what I grew up listening to anyway."
SAURY BENITEZ'S HOT LIST
The Seven-9 Group
Sat., Nov. 20, 2-5pm. $8. (free for infants; group rate for families). Fluid, 613 S. Fourth St. 215.629.0565. www.fluidnightclub.com
It's tough being a hipster baby these days. Look, there's Taylor from playgroup, wearing her 4-inch-long vintage Air Jordans! And there's Max, who got a mini iPod preloaded with Wilco, Death Cab for Cutie and Rilo Kiley for his third birthday! Sigh. Fortunately, all it takes to have fun at Baby Disco is the ability to shake your diaper-clad ass with impunity. Put together by Moxie Dance Collective co-founder Heather Murphy, this post-nap afternoon at Fluid will feature stroller parking and the mostly disco sounds of DJ K-Tell (aka the Dumpsta Players' Ricky Paul), plus free snacks and juice boxes for the kiddies, and appetizers and a cash bar for their parents. "It's what parents can't do with their kids," says Murphy. "We're going to be able to dress up and party, with no Barney." Sounds like a party to us. (Doree Shafrir)