Friday, August 28, 2009

New york, New York, big city of dreams, but everything in New York ain't always what it seems.

Philly's finest.

I’ll keep this brief, which is a rarity if you know me.

I must have known Adam for over 20 years, and this is what I know:
He was a solid, dependable, real motherfucker in a town full of people who can be anything but.
He repped his hometown of Philly to the fullest.
He was passionate about hip-hop, almost to the point of fighting words if you said something he disagreed with.
He loved DJ’s and the DJ culture, especially those who created it, came before, and those who kept it alive.

On a personal level, he was just a total sweetheart and one of the homies, everyone loved him, he was that kind of guy.

He was a sober man who cared deeply about his personal recovery from drugs and alcohol and was always there for anyone in need…. I’ve seen it.

He was a guy who worked his way from the ground up, from playing the smallest spots, to owning the biggest, from aspiring DJ to one of the most technically gifted in the game. He became a showman who rocked parties, and truly the first of the new wave of American superstar DJ’s who would become the new rock stars.

He could be arrogant, hot headed, and excitable, but it all came from a good place, cause though I didn’t know him well in the last years of his life, it always seemed to me that he was still the insecure yet absolutely adorable fat kid who just wanted everyone to know how dope he was.

I was coming up as an MC when he was first DJ’ing and there were many times in the early 90’s and sometimes much more recently when I’d walk into a club and he’d throw on an old song of mine, to which I’d cover my face in half-embarrassment and he’d laugh and hold up the album cover for me and the room to see.

He’d always ask for copies and I’d give him rarities and remixes, mainly because I knew he was the type of friend who genuinely got stoked when his friends were doing their thing…not to mention he was a collector.

I remember so clearly the days coming up in the LA scene with him, Scotty Caan, The Alchemist, Evidence, Seth, Ethan B, Milla, Balthazar, Corky, Jenny Lewis, and so many other kids just having a blast and running this town.

I will especially never forget when we were filming a music video for a song of mine and he came down to support and ended up being in the crowd scene, jumping up and down with his fist in the air with a big smile across his face. I sometimes watch it on youtube and crack up at how far we’ve come.

But most of all I will remember him in that apartment on La Cienega, bent over the turntables for hours practicing his chops, showing me transforming tricks with his fingers so fast I couldn’t believe, cutting the record to say his DJ name, and armed with the conviction and passion of someone with something to prove…he wanted to be the best. And some would argue he succeeded.

I don't even know if I'd seen him since the plane crash that nearly took his life less than a year ago, but I was amazed at how he recovered and seemed to live his life with a renewed vigor and passion, facing his fears head-on, which only serves as an even greater tragedy that after all he’d been through he was still taken from us much too soon.

Since the crash he played Coachella, donned a Daft Punk helmet, rocked thousands, both by himself and with Travis Barker, filmed a TV show, made a cameo in Iron Man 2, continued his work with his management company, Deckstar, and threw out the first pitch at a Mets game.

Not bad.

He was rich to the point of not having to work, and living out his dreams like a man with a 2nd chance, but he was also still hustling and busting his ass like the chubby kid with something to prove spinning in the booth at The Dragonfly so many years ago.

For me personally it’s a reminder that while it may seem like someone has everything, you never really know what’s going on inside someone else’s skin.

I’m not saying anything about his death, to that I cannot speak, as I don’t know the circumstances, but what I do know about is his life.

My only hope is that we can use this platform of technology to spread love rather than sensationalism and speculation.

Whatever facts come out won’t take away from the things he spent years of his life dedicated to, opening doors for himself as well as others along the way-
DJ's and the art of DJ'ing, hip-hop, and recovery.
Oh, and the shoes….so many fucking shoes.
There will be rumor and gossip, there will be sadness and mourning, and there will be the peculiar horror show that seems native to Los Angeles, a one-upmanship of sorrow in a sort of contest to see who can cry harder, appear sadder, grieve longer, or claim a closer friendship to the one who passed. Though it sounds cynical, in a town so celebrity obsessed, in a time when so many are passing, this type of thing is inevitable, and in it’s own strange way it’s a tribute.
But the truth is this. It is all of our loss, first to his family, then to his friends, then to his cities, both Philly and LA, and lastly to the culture he helped build upon, the culture of DJ’ing and the culture of hip hop.

He truly was an amazing man who was taken way, way too soon.
I love you, AMG.
I guess I couldn't keep it brief.

Tonight the Palms hotel and casino pays their respects to our dear friend.


  1. This was beautiful Justin. Keep up the good work on your blog.

  2. well done pal. he was a good fuckin dude.

  3. I am still so very sorry about your loss Justin! and this post shows me that you are trying to deal with it. It was beautiful and sad to read.

  4. This was so beautifully written Justin.

    I am wiping the tears from my eyes.

    Adam will be missed.

    And his shoes.... Just amazing...

    Thanks Justin for what you wrote.

  5. Justin,

    I'm so sorry for your loss. Your words pay tribute to your friend in a way I'm sure he appreciated. I especially love that he would spin your old hip hop stuff, which I happen to think is absolutely brilliant.

    Thank you for giving insight into the man, not the image.