"Damn son, where'd you find this?" That mixtape drop is about as close to a meme as you can find in dance music. Popularized by its use in the late 2000s on Gucci Mane and OJ da Juiceman's Trap-a-holics mixtapes, trap music producers incorporated the sample from the jump as a hat-tip to the EDM genre's hip-hop forebears. Shadoe Haze, a 42-year-old voice-over artist, is the man behind the voice.
After about a year of making inside jokes in Shadoe's voice about disco—“Damn son, that's Balearic as hell!!”—DJ Ayres and I did some sleuthing, found Shadoe through the Internet, and bought some drops. In the process, we discovered that he is a drum and bass DJ in the backwaters of Northeast Louisiana. He also owns a Taekwondo studio. Then our voice-over work came back from Shadoe's studio. The folder was full of pornographic ad-libs and hilarious off-script jokes.
Obviously we had to know more about the man behind the “drop heard ‘round the world,” so we gave Shadoe a call to find out what kind of drops he's been sending to Justin Timberlake, and where I could find a good rave in Monroe, Louisiana. And yes, he knows what trap music is.
THUMP: I'm gonna read you a question that I found on Yahoo Answers when I googled "Monroe Louisiana rave" and you can answer it. It sounds like it was written by a narc:
"Where can I find an underground rave near me? Or just a rave in general? I realize that I really want to go ravin'! I want to see a bunch of people at an all-night party with strobe lights and rave sticks and intense music, and have FUN! I live in West Monroe, LA. So if anyone knows where I can find one, that'd be great help. Also, I'd like to be able to find one anywhere I go! Also, where can I get decent rave clothes (and some ski goggles)?"
Shadoe Gaze: That's fantastic [laughs]. If I had to guess I'd say it would probably be underground somewhere. Old school guys like me, we used to go to all-night parties. That's just what people did back then. I go play a show, I try to be nice because I'm headlining and stay through the other guys' shows and encourage them but it's at a point where I can't stay past 3AM anymore.
A lot of the older DJs that are still playing now are burnt out. That party life—they don't care anymore. There's always a place to find a party, but I don't know where you'd find an all-night rave anymore.
So where are you playing these days?
I have a mobile DJ service. People are like, "Man, with all the stuff you've got going on why are you still doing that?" And it's because I can't tell you how many times I've played a song on a dance floor and someone cried or laughed or smiled and said it was the best time they've had their entire life or whatever. Back in the day, when I wanted to cut out and relax and spin what I enjoyed, it was the break beats and the drum and bass. There you were like an artist. You can paint whatever kind of picture because no one tells you what to play in your set. When I do private parties it's a lot different.
Do people in Monroe have any idea that you're kind of a cult celebrity for your voice-over work in this particular kind of dance music called trap, or in the Trap-a-holics Mixtapes? Do they have any idea what that is?
There's a little bitty town on the other side of West Monroe called Ruston. I have a guy that's a close friend of mine that lives there. He produces dubstep and now he's doing trap. He lives in that little bitty podunk town. That dude called me one day. I had no idea that ["damn son, where'd you find this"] drop had been out.
That drop had been cut, it was just ad-libbed in a bunch of crap I sent out to a bunch of people. Once it came out I couldn't track down who the original client was because back then I wasn't keeping in my library that I had ever done. He called me and said "Hey, did you know that your voice is on this?" I was like "No, what are you talking about?" He sent me the link and he played it for me. I had no idea. He said "this is like, everywhere." There are people around here who do know, but the average Joe that talks to me, even the people who listen to me on the radio—they don't know. It cracks me up a little bit.
I remember the drops that you did for DJ Ayres and for me, you did a bunch of hilarious adlibs. It was a lot of filthy shit. What kind of adlibs are you doing for your other Twitter friends—like Justin Timberlake?
I'm actually not doing Justin Timberlake. But it got your attention didn't it?
You just did that to bait them into trying to give you voiceover work?
I just did that because I knew they'd never reply and it's funny to me. I also did it for Paris Hilton.
The drops you gave us had adlibs for DJ Ayres' Rub radio show like, "Time for a big old giant nutsack! Rub one out with Rub Radio!" And I was wondering what kind of nutsack drops you're giving Timberlake.
[Laughs] I've got some clients like DJ Rectangle. I don't know if you know him.
I know who DJ Rectangle is—he does break records.
Yeah, I give him that kind of stuff too. It's funny to me.
Since you've been involved with underground dance music for a long time, what's your feeling about trap music?
There's a lot of good stuff out there. And then you've got that trap stuff—just like any other genre—where you're just like, "No, turn that off."
You have people who love it—they think it's the best thing since cereal. Then you've got other people going "that's just a shitty version of dubstep." Well before that you were calling dubstep a shitty version of something else. You're just gonna have those negative people out there. If you like it, listen to it, play it. Don't give a shit what anybody says, man. When I go play a set, man, I'm gonna play whatever the hell I want and you're either gonna like me and you're gonna come back or you're not gonna book me again. I don't give a shit, that's up to you.
Do you have a favorite trap artist or record?
Not really. I know just about enough about trap that I could get by playing a few cuts. If it came on I'd bob my head to it. But if I had to go build a set, I couldn't. People have been requesting me to play drum and bass and breaks, so that's where I spend a majority of my free time, of which there is very little.
I'm a single dad raising a five-year-old daughter and I also own a Taekwondo school. My free time is very little. But with trap, I just don't have time. There are a lot of people who are awesome that I just haven't gotten a chance to hear yet.
Michael Fichman is a DJ, record producer and writer living in Philadelphia. Follow him on twitter at @djaptone.