Hip-hop, indie rock, jazz, drums and keys — put 31-year-old Shawn Tucker behind the 1's and 2's and that's just what you'll get. Tucker, who's better known as DJ BlngxBdgt (pronounced Bling On A Budget), is blurring musical lines with his unique style of mixing during his Hella and Dirty Mega dance parties at Dharma Lounge (the next Dirty Mega event will be April 8). Refusing to be typecast, the former Army medic uses musical diversity as a prescription to heal the city's chronic yearning for identity.
Creative Loafing: Describe the events that you're a part of — they sound pretty intense.
DJ BlngxBdgt: Basically, Hella is a cross-genre music event that goes from me playing house, to hip-hop, to Baltimore club and everything in between. I'm into all different kinds of music, so it's kinda my night to invite people from different backgrounds to just come out and enjoy themselves. I'm an African-American male, but I can go to a hip-hop or rock show and fit right in.
Dirty Mega is a new event I'm a part of with local rapper Stranger Day and Wilmington DJ Lord Walrus. It's a night we put together to try and bring a different energy with live hip-hop and dance music. It's the party you want to go to after a long work week and get crazy and blow off some steam. You may get a champagne shower, so beware.
Do you think events in this town lack diversity?
I think Charlotte really wants to grow. I wanted to create a night that had an identity that represents our city, where it's not like you're going to a club in L.A. or New York, it's like you're at a club right here. Before I ever started Hella, I noticed there wasn't really a dance party scene in town. I personally like to stay away from Uptown because I get tired of the same old scene. I definitely wanted to create a night that was uniquely our own; where people could go out and do whatever they want to do.
How would you define the city's sense of self?
I would say this city is ever changing. You have to keep changing and evolving, and the nights I've been a part of have been able to change and evolve into other things. A lot of the music I play pushes boundaries at times, and a lot of people in this city like to push boundaries. I think that notion, of not being limited, is a big part of what makes this town tick.
Your name is DJ BlngxBdgt — where did that come from?
I saw the name in a magazine once, and it's kinda like my life. I like nice things, but I'm not super rich. I like to wear cool clothes, but may have only spent 10 bucks. That's how I live my life, making the best of what I have. It's also the way I do my events, so either way, it all coincides.