The job of a DJ isn't always easy. Sometimes, it's the Sunday after Thanksgiving, and in addition to holiday hangovers, everyone in the house is grappling with the loss of their hometown hoops team.
That was the case Sunday night (Nov. 27) at the Billboard Lounge at Brooklyn's Barclays Center, where the Cali-born DJ known as The Whooligan had the challenge of playing a set right after the seventh straight loss by the Nets - this one a 17-point drubbing at the hands of the Sacramento Kings. But The Whooligan wasn't flustered. In fact, the self-described "global citizen" born Julio Galvez read the room rather nicely. Known for being a master of various genres, the veteran spinner stuck mostly to vintage mid-tempo boom-bap hip-hop: tough yet chill music for a crowd looking to nod along, not break a sweat.
Many of Whooligan's early selections were NYC classics. He expertly folded A Tribe Called Quest's "Find a Way" into Jay Z's "Can't Knock the Hustle," shortly before detouring to Philly for the Roots' "Section," featuring that great Black Thought line, "We got eye for an eye / behead like a samurai." From there, it was an easy jump to Gang Starr's "Full Clip," a tribute to fallen Harlem rhymer Big L, and later the Notorious B.I.G.'s "Kick In the Door."
You'll never go wrong with Biggie in Brooklyn, but The Whooligan isn't strictly a classicist. As head of global booking for Soulection, a multi-faceted worldwide music company intent on "moving culture," Whooligan is well aware of new sounds from around the planet. Heading into his second half hour, he segued into some dancehall-style jams, among them "London," the recent team-up between Jeremih and British rappers Stefflon Don and Krept & Konan.
Later came "Can't Blame Me," some eerie airiness from UK rapper Nines, then Rihanna's "Work," because that -- like Biggie -- has never been known to stop a party.
Post-game shows at the Billboard Lounge tend to be short showcases for singers or bands, but parked behind his laptop and mixer, snapping the occasional selfie with fans, Whooligan kept it going for more than 45 minutes. Interviews with the globetrotting DJ are filled with words like "love" and "good vibes," and on this particular evening, he kept it positively popping.