Meet DJ PH ILL of Long Beach, California whose main goal is to become the #1 disk jockey in the County of Los Angeles. PH and I met a few weeks after surprising each other at a candlelight for a dear friend of ours, James McGhee, who died in a drive by shooting late last year (R.I.P). We scheduled a day to meet while I was on vacation in Newport, CA and ILL drove out from Long Beach so we can discuss his beginnings in the craft.
PH ILL’s journey starts out of a place of true humbleness and loyalty. PH grew up with local Hip-Hop artist Jr-Boy (also known now as JR III) and as an early teen JR started to pursue his career as a lyricist. It wasn’t too long after that DJ Daddy West, JR’s father, inquired PH to start DJing for Jr. Boy.
“It just came to one point he was doing shows or whatever”, he says, “and his dad ‘says [Jr.Boy] needs a DJ, you should be his DJ’ and I was just like, ‘Okay, why not?’, you feel me”.
“Jr.Boy needed a DJ and I was his right hand man, so it only made sense and yeah, that’s how I started”, he told me. “We’re supposed to be like Gangstar, you know? I’m DJ Premiere and He’s Guru”.
At the age of 16 DJ PH ILL and JR started doing shows at local schools like Millikan High where they both attended. Over the next two years things changed even more when the duo started playing house parties and venturing out with individuals like Ahab Naeco and Srenn RCMG. As time went on both became well known names in the local music scene, especially coming into the game so young. Jr.Boy’s father DJ Daddy West as mentor, the two young men had good grounding to continue their careers for years to come.
Now at the age of 24, DJ PH ILL still preforms with JR but also has a solo career pursuing to be the most well known DJ in the area. Venturing out on his own was challenging at first and with more experience and learning the history of his craft he gained the knowledge he needed to conquer the typical obstacles that were so frustrating in the beginning.
“I started looking up DJs from back in the day”, he says. “Then I watched this documentary on Netflix about it.. I forgot what its called but it was getting into all of that. How the DJs were the ones putting on the rappers and putting out the music to the people, basically the one everyone came to see”.
DJ PH ILL came into the game as a supportive team player but it wasn’t until he DJ’d on his own did he understand the importance of supporting local artists. A true DJ does more than play dope music, they introduce new sound.
“When I first started DJing I didn’t understand the power of helping people out”, ILL says. “Now I understand my role as a DJ. Foreal”.
This attitude led him being called upon the very artists he was spinning. DJing at performances and showcases his name expanded and eventually he linked up with AC, local A&R/manager, and PNG Jay . With a new year and PNG Jay dropping two new singles, things are looking good for these gentlemen even during this Covid-19 pandemic in 2021.
PH ILL finished off last year on a solid note doing virtual events with his team, small events like Spa n B by DeweyCo. and DJing charity events all over Los Angeles with non-profit organizations like The Good Karma LA. In 2021, DJ PH ILL has nothing stopping him, not even a pandemic.
“DJing has taken me far, but this is nowhere compared to where I’m going to be real soon”, he tells me as we wrap up the interview.
“It’s opened a lot of doors for me but those doors are going to open even more doors and as long as I stay humble aint no telling how far I’m going, you know what I’m saying?”.