Welcome to Playlist Retreat!
A look back on Playlist Retreat 2019
Photo by Playlist Retreat
“Welcome to Playlist Retreat” - DJ Jazzy Jeff
Those words still lingers in my mind till this day one year later. It’s amazing how time flies. 2020 quarantine has truly shown and taught me the appreciation of the little things in life, and one of those moments is Playlist Retreat 2019. It was the fastest week of my life but it was the most fun, the most exciting and truly the most inspiring life changing week! AKA THE BEST WEEK EVER!!
I’d be lying to you if I said that I wasn’t feeling Playlist retreat withdrawal. A year has passed and I’m still feeling it. Ughh... There were times when I’ve felt the post Playlist blues (it’s real), I would take some time and just think about those amazing moments from that week - the echoes of the jam sessions, stories and everyone’s warm energy fills up my mind, body, and soul with inspiration with a smile bringing me back to that week.
And now, A little trip down memory lane. Join me - won’t you?
Ahh where do I begin?? I arrived at Playlist overwhelm with excitement and curiosity. I felt like I've won the golden ticket to the Wonka Factory, but this way way better than that! My mind was wondering and racing with thoughts of who I was going to see and how was the week going to play out. Within moments I felt something was different. Something like I’ve never felt before. It was this intense energy of peace, love, and a creative vibration that could be felt through out the retreat. This was no ordinary vibe you feel at just any concert, this was the Playlist vibes. A rare one of a kind vibe unlike any other. Almost like attending a concert but with an intense vibe filled with excitement, love, positivity and just over all good vibrations. A rare type of high that you can’t get anywhere else but there.
Within moments I cross paths with the Beat Junkies, DJ Jazzy Jeff, Skratch Bastid, TJ Mizell, DJ Scratch, Craze, Lord Finesse, Natasha Diggs, Kayper, Young Guru - And so many others to name. I was star struck! To see that I was amongst these mighty music legends I froze. Yes, I froze!! Hey, It was first year and I was warned that it was going to happen- being start struck and such.
I was in awe. Complete awe! I was amongst the best of the best in the music industry. From battle champions of New Music Seminar, DMC, Redbull 3style, to Hip Hop pioneers/ legends and more! And I not exaggerating, it’s true. I don’t think you understand how many times I’ve either blanked out, froze, and or was nervous to talk to and or just to be face to face / in the same room as my heroes. You would too!! The most memorable moment of catching myself nerd out on the first day was watching the Beat Junkies Crew dig for gems and moments later seeing kid Capri arrive in the basement where Gene Brown had his records and surprise! Redman - yes REDMAN from Wu Tang Clan - follows behind him to greet the Gene and others. Whoa! Then moments later I find myself taking a picture with DJ Premier of Gang Starr. Moments like that happened through out the week and as time went on, you get used to it.. just kidding you don’t - it just gets even more exciting!!
I witness seeing old friends being reunited and new friendships being made right before my eyes. Who I consider my heroes were now becoming my friends... no scratch that.. they were becoming my family.
Never in a million years I thought this was going to happen and it was happening. Within a blink of an eye, Jeff gives his Playlist welcome and before you know it - I hear Jeff say “Welcome to Playlist Retreat”
It was time - Let the Retreat begin!
During the week everything seemed to happen so fast, there were so many amazing things happening at the same time that it was hard to be at every jam session. From the endless storytelling to seeing someone learn new tips and tricks. To even everyone contributing in being apart of the fun. There were no egos. Let me repeat that NO EGOS!! That’s rare. We all ate breakfast, lunch and dinner together as one big giant family and we even jammed out in the studios at night. At one moment we all were ‘infused’ and the jam session was way beyond epic. It was more than legendary. It was straight up gotta this world!
Photos by DJ Perly: Fullcrate - Micki Miller - Daniel Crawford
- Mini video recap below -
I truly think that a special memory for everyone at the retreat was and is of Biz Markie and his amazing storytelling. I was in awe just to see Kenny Dope, of Masters At Work, stand next to me while listening in to Biz Markie’s stories and to then spot the almost entire retreat listening in - Craze, Atrak, Flipout, Jazzy Jeff, Kid Capri, DJ Maseo, just to name a few. Truly was a special moment watching everyone react to how Biz remembered almost everything about everyone and how Biz even remembered certain little things that they didn’t. It was a true blast from the past for everyone and to just be able to listen in - It was incredible!!
There was nothing but a special type of love that I’ve never seen or felt before. It amazes me till this day how the power of music united, and still unites, and continues to bond us all as one. I loved hearing and seeing the OG vinyl collectors show off their records saying “Nah son, you don’t got this! This is the rare promo!” Or “I got that!” Or “I need two copies of that!! Hook me up!!” I just wished I had those copies too haha!!
I spent my time being in the moment and just trying to absorb it all. I shot these pics as memories from that amazing week to remind myself and reassure myself that the hard work is, again continuing to pay off. Plus, I need to let my nerdy photo self to have fun too! * All photos below and through out post are shot on Film by yours truly - other wise noted*
And then this happened. The Cut carousal! Remember the Golden ticket Willy Wonka reference? Yeah, that actually happened. All the DJs had gotten an actual golden ticket upon arrival to be apart of this Iconic moment. I didn’t know it was going to be this epic!! Nobody knew until we all got together. This was a blast! I mean, DJ Zimmie had us all laughing with his quick wit and jokes, we just had a ball. The room was filled with anticipation of what we were all going to do as each one of us stepped up to the tables. And then the moment of truth, the song - “Good Times” by Chic. No pun intended, but we truly had a good time! A huge special thanks to everyone at Serato and Phase for the video!
“ I’ll never listen to that song the same way again!!” - Every DJ and everyone at Playlist Retreat.
Post the cut carousal, our love and bond grew more at the retreat! *Awwww* The week went on and so did the music and vibes! The special rare type of electricity in the air continued on and it was contagious and was being spread like a musical wild fire!
The week was winding down and it was time for our family photo. By this time we were all in the middle of our playlist project challenge that Don Corneilus Jeff gave to
“Collab-O- Rat-ion” together in teams (inside joke). Redman gets on the mic and.. well Redman being Redman calls everyone over in own special way! Ha! Oh how I wish I caught that on video :D We all gathered together, under the hot ass August sun and the rest is history. *You can find me standing next to Craze, who was wearing the blue shirt - title photo* Then it was show time for Daniel Crawford - how? We all had our portraits taken and to get everyone in a good mood- Daniel was just cracking jokes left and right. I couldn’t hold in my mean mug any longer and a rare smile was captured. I’m telling you, he is hilarious!!! I thought I was funny but Daniel Crawford got jokes!! He can totally put anyone into a good mood and have you leaving with a smile (Miss you Daniel)
Ahh damn.. this part right here is tough.. Our last day at Playlist :/ Sadly the retreat was coming to an end and it was hard for everyone to accept it. The energy was changing and reality was slowly sinking in to head-on back to the outside real world. But this was our real world - our special world. The morning sun had risen. I headed back to the main studio and spent a moment reminiscing about the week that I’ve just experienced before my official departure.
Those moments, like music, were on replay and the melody of memories danced in my mind. From the vivid sounds of that epic and iconic ‘infused’ jam session, to the inside jokes we all made, to how many mosquito bites we’ve gotten, to how Biz Markie told A-Trak has now developed in “16 Trak”,
and the amazing unforgettable speech by Kenny Gamble about tuning into the spirt of music and many others lingered in air the of the studio. Priceless moments like that are hard to come by now a days.
The feeling of the electric positive energy from the week was at a minimum but was still there. It was bittersweet though, however, it’s presence was still felt - if you tuned in and tapped into it. The overall Playlist retreat is and was a different type of energy
and vibes that is unexplainable. It’s the type that you just have to be there to feel and witness for yourself. I said it before and I’ll say it again, the entire vibes was almost like attending a concert but with an intense vibe filled with excitement, love, positivity and just over all good vibrations. A rare type of high that you can’t get anywhere else but there. An actual high off of the rarest type of love. Truly the best high ever.
Moments later, Before I knew it, I was heading back to NYC and then within another blink of an eye I was back in my cave in disbelief that I was amongst mighty giants. And the first thing that popped into my mind was, “Damn - I wish I took more pictures!” haha! But the true feeling from it all was the feeling of gratitude and appreciation to Jeff, his family, and the entire playlist team for welcoming not only myself but everyone invited to his retreat. Their kind gesture and selfless love was and is the true ultimate definition of a warm welcoming with open arms and a rare kind of unconditional love that’s indescribable. To me, that’s the best kind of welcoming. To me, that’s the true definition of how music unites and to me, that’s the true definition of strangers becoming friends, and friends becoming family.
If I could, I would totally take a time machine back in heartbeat without hesitation to that amazing and unforgettable life changing week. Thanks Jeff, Lynette and Nicole!! xoxo