Sidney Griffin Jr. aka DJ NonChalant was born in Detroit, Michigan now residing in Houston, TX.
I grew up in a religious household born to a Baptist Pastor (Dad) and Pentecostal Evangelist (Mom), who was also a recording artist. I was born into music that was a major part of my life. My parents were very strong in their faith, my mother would always rise early in the morning and you could hear her praying in tongues and singing songs to God. She would always sing sometimes it was songs that was written, sometimes she would make songs up. My father was into books, the social political movement and his church at that time. There was never a time that music wasn’t a part of the landscape growing up. When I was little my mom directed the choir at church and made my brothers and I sing in it. She also created a group for me and my three brothers imagine that. I had to do this until I was 13, it was good and bad for me. The bad part was that I didn’t like to sing. The good part is that I met some cool kids and we’re friends till this day because of it. My mom was musically liberal she would mainly listen to gospel music but we also listened to Jazz, Motown and R&B. When my dad came home it was all gospel and speeches from MLK, Marcus Garvey or Malcolm X.
I remember one Christmas I received my first radio I believe I had to be 8 years old I used to spend countless hours listening to Jazz and R&B but would switch it to gospel when my dad came around. Sometime later we had cable installed if I remember correctly The Box and MTV were the only music video stations back then. I’ll never forget I saw this video it was “Walk this way” by RUN D.M.C that video changed my life. It was so dope to see the combination of rock and rap which was crazy to me. I knew at that moment that I wanted to be a DJ. The video captivated me I was intrigued with Jam Master Jay and the turntables. From that day forward I would take the records my mom and dad had and would try to scratch on the vintage radio with the record player in the middle. I did this a lot when they weren’t home. They would’ve killed me if they knew I laugh every time I think about it. My dad had this youth group at the church and we had to draw what we wanted to be when we grew up. I remember that I drew a DJ and knew that was what I was going to be, you couldn’t tell me different at least at that time.
As time went on I went to high school and while I was in school I would make these tapes. I didn’t know about mixtapes then but I would take songs I thought were dope and songs from the radio and put them together on cassette tapes. I remember I used to have the dopest tapes in my car all the time. My friends would ask for copies and I would make copies on my double cassette player and give them away. Now mind you I never actually had any turntables and as time went on my parents tried to change the narrative. I know they had the best of intentions they would advise me to go to college and get a good job so that one day I could retire. I went that route and went to school for business and I still was making tapes for people on campus. At school anytime there was a party I was there and I would always be around the DJ booth.
It wasn’t until I came home in 2001 I came home due to over partying at school that I went on to purchase my first turntables. From that point on I would spend a lot of time at the record store and practicing. I wasn’t brave enough to strike out on my own so I started shadowing other more seasoned DJ’s.
The first was DJ Whip he was a DMC champion and a amazing turntablist. I would help set up equipment and watch him tear the spot down on a regular basis. He would always talk to us about his strategy while he was playing and he knew how people would respond to the songs he would play. He was always on point. Then my best friend’s sister was dating a popular DJ by the name of Hen House. DJ Hen House to me has to be one of the greatest party mc’s period. He wasn’t a turntablist but he knew how to mix records extremely well. I spent a lot of time learning from watching, listening and helping.
On this particular occasion Hen House and I were at this bar on W 7mile in Detroit and what happened that night was the spark I needed to go from a bedroom DJ to a mobile DJ. Hen House was DJing and I was doing the head count because the bar and Hen was splitting the door. He comes up to me and tells me he will be right back he had to talk to the bar owner. Jaheim’s “Just in case” was popular at that time. The radio version played, then the instrumental version played after that the acapella played. I realized that he still wasn’t there so I jumped on the tables. Now I never spun on Technics 1200’s before that night but I couldn’t let my mentor go out like that. I started mixing scared to death but the bar was packed and I had been practicing it was my time. The crowd was feeling me that night it was amazing. Hen finally came back and noticed that I was spinning and he just grabbed the mic and he was the mc, I was the DJ. After that we would continue to perform at events I would DJ and he would mc until I started getting my own gigs and the rest is history.