From the Soul Preservation Society of Charleston's Pam Huseby, who has over 20 years of slaying the ones and twos, to Samira Miche, who's brought nothing but fire since her DJ debut earlier this year, meet five of Charleston's most phenomenal disc jockeys.
- Keely Laughlin
Real Name: Samira Miche
Genre: Hip-hop, Funk, Soul
Likely to find her spinning at: Purple Buffalo, Royal American
Hip-hop and rap have nurtured the idea of DJs since the beginning. Someone had to put the beats over the speakers, someone had to be the turntablist and scratch records, and someone had to mix the music live. And all were a DJ's forte. So, it's good to see hip-hop-leaning disc jockeys like Samira Miche jump on a soundboard and spin music that's been integral to DJ culture for so long.
"I am a '90s baby," Miche says. "I'm a hard '90s hip-hop fan." Known as Sista Misses to the masses, Miche describes her sound as "dense, smooth, and atmospheric beats with a slight groove." Expect nothing less from someone whose favorite artists are producers like underground idol Madlib, experimental hip-hop king J Dilla, and North Carolina's own 9th Wonder.
Like a lot of music fans, Miche's passion started early with a little help from her family. "A lot of the influence is a part of my upbringing," she says. "My family is literally 50/50 from New York or from the South, so I grew up with that balance." Rap and soul were big hits with her from the get go, but the music she loved wasn't limited to genre or geography. "My grandfather — he would pull out records that were maybe African records or Spanish records. Very old '70s music, '60s Temptations."
Even though hip-hop and rap influenced beats are a large part of what she performs, Miche puts a big focus on funk and soul, as well. "I'm an old-head," Miche says. "I'm only 25, but I like a lot of old music."
Having as many genres as possible to pull from is a huge help for Miche's brand of DJing. "I look at the way I DJ as improvising music at that time," she says. Sista Misses plays up the versatility of DJing, while still sticking true to the soul and rap beat-making that inspired her. "Sometimes I have my set ready, sometimes I just go off the vibe," Miche says.
Although she's performed at the Royal American, Purple Buffalo, and Charleston Music Hall, Miche is a true believer in the behind the scenes work, as well. "I'm more into creating my own mixes online," she says. That mindset works well for the laid back beats and mixes she dispenses. "I'm more so on the side of appreciating the music, overlapping beats, that type of stuff," Miche says. Her most recent mix uploaded to YouTube is titled "foryoubaby," and it crosses the Game's "Wouldn't Get Far" with Madvillain's "Eye."
While she's performed at a variety of venues, Miche continues to see a disparity in hip-hop centered performance spaces, which is obviously hard on a hip-hop centered DJ."The genre has a lot to do with what Charleston likes to portray as the majority of what should be played in clubs," she says. "They very well want to hear hip-hop, but that goes into the stigma of how venue owners want whoever to fill up the clubs." A lack of focus on rap music in local venues has been a much discussed issue, and it continues to affect many music communities, even within the DJ scene.
Miche has channeled her creative talents and love of music as a member of local culture curators IllVibeTheTribe. And, while she's the in-house DJ for IllVibe, Miche does consider Sista Misses to be a separate project. "It's something for me to enjoy, right now, while it's growing," she says. "I'm enjoying the journey." —Heath Ellison