Get to meet Gregory A. Vazquez-Norman aka DJ Know1. Greg may have the deepest hip-hop knowledge on the NPi Entertainment roster of DJs, but doesn't limit his musical selections to one genre. He's equally talented spinning house music, funk and rock, as he is rap. When he's not being the decks, Know1 is busy working as an independent licensed social worker at the Tapestry System of Care program at Bellefaire in Shaker Heights.
How long have you been DJing? How did you get into it?
I've been DJing for about 20 years now. I became friends with Bigg Eddie Bauer my freshman year at Kent and we bonded over our love of Hip Hop. He got an internship at WKSR, the student-run radio station, and encouraged me to do the same. I went on to head up my own shows and eventually became the Urban Music Director up there. But it wasn't until Foox introduced me to the late, great DJ Besto in 1997 that I first started to learn to actually cut, scratch, and mix records.
What’s your preferred DJ setup?
I like to keep my setup pretty basic and true to traditional Hip Hop DJing; ideally 2 Technics 1200's and a Rane 62.
Your DJ name is Know1 … what’s the story behind that?
Sadly, I created Know1 as a mission statement of sorts. It's about being humble in a culture driven by ego and utilizing music in service of The Creator. It's better than the original name I gave myself at Kent: G-Squared lol.
You worked at a famous NYC record shop – tell us about it.
Yeah, Fat Beats in NYC. When I first moved to there for grad school in the fall of '06 they accepted my Legacy of J Dilla mix CDs on consignment and they became a best seller. I met DJ Eclipse and the rest of the staff who were all mad cool and I wanted to be a part of it. The weren't hiring, but I started interning on Saturdays, working with Audible Doctor who was the buyer for the store at the time. I met a lot of great people and dope artists there; like Homeboy Sandman, OC, and J-Live. You never knew who would pop in to cop some records, or just chop it up about the culture, etc.
How would you describe your DJ style?
My style is eclectic and very soulful. Mostly everything I play has a dope beat, first of all. I like to creatively thread several different genres together in a way that makes sense to the thoughtful listener.
Where’s your favorite place to DJ?
I love to DJ anyplace where people are actively enjoying me playing the music I love and who are open to hearing music that is new to them.
Favorite DJ memory?
I played a set at Fat Beats 15th Anniversary party and went on right before the legendary DJ Spinna. I remember him waiting in the wings and loving my set. I played all the 90's indy vinyl that made Fat Beats great and was really happy with my set. Peace to Monster for the plug.
Top 3 wedding dance floor fillers?
Manu - Dibango - Soul Makossa
Rick James - Give It To Me Baby
David Bowie -Let's Dance
Favorite track of 2018?
So hard to pick just one! I'll say "Be Yourself" (Manoo Remix) f/ Josh Milan by Guri Guri Boys
You’re stuck on a desert island with only 1 record – what is it?
Res "How I Do"