Where In The World Is DJ Trauma?

Dave Chappelle, DJ Trauma
Dave Chappelle, DJ Trauma

DJ Trauma, is the resident DJ for comedian Dave Chappelle and has been on tour with him for the past four years. Chappelle’s current tour comes off the heels of Dave’s wildly successful comedy special on Netflix. Along with his tour dates with Dave this summer, DJ Trauma has been traveling to Kenya with Omarion, he has recently released the video for his first single “Take Me High”,  and he has a record deal with Priority Records.

But the busy schedule is nothing new for the veteran DJ who has been spinning at parties for hip hop heavies like Biggie and Tupac since the 90s. But his foray into the comedy world had opened up a whole new world to this humble DJ who got his start in Atlanta.  Now, traveling 8 months of the year, he is at the top of his career with even more in the pipeline. But to him, this is just part of what he does. “I was always doing cool things,” he tells Haute Living Atlanta in an exclusive interview. “Now I am just doing cooler things.”  Like being the DJ at  Beyoncé and Jay Z’s baby shower/push party in Los Angeles. 

Haute Living caught up with DJ Trauma in Atlanta. Dave Chappelle who was sitting a few tables over came by at one point to tell his DJ that he was hitting the road and would see him at the next show.He was referring to the epic Radio City Music Hall show that is currently coming to an end. (the last sold-out show is August 24),  but hype had already been building for this show months before.  The  NYC show, which has featured a roster of too-many-to-name celebrity guests has been a huge success and received a lot of media and celebrity attention with people clamoring to get tickets.

But even before this epic NYC show, here is a look at DJ Trauma and why he is high on our radar for 2018.. Get a glimpse of what it’s like touring with one of the most famous comedians in the world, how he feels about his first single release and record deal and where the globetrotter will be jetting to next.

How was the Atlanta Show?

It was crazy, starting from day one, he says. I walk into Dave’s dressing room after the first night of the show and he was deejaying and having a party.  It was star-studded, Everyone was there from Susan Sarandon and Jeezy to Mila Kunis and Ashton Kutcher.

How was it being in a room with all those people?

“Susan Sarandon was the coolest,” he smiles. “She is a fellow New Yorker and were just kickin it and having drinks.  Around 11pm, Dave turns off the radio and says, ‘Chance the Rapper is in Atlanta and you all have to help me find him. Repeat after me, Find Chance the Rapper, Find Chance the Rapper’ Before you know it Sarandon and the whole room are chanting this. And then, an hour later, Chance the Rapper shows up.” “But that’s my life with Dave recently” he says. “He has introduced me to a whole new level of people” he says.

susan sarandan
Susan Sarandon, DJ Trauma

What kind of music is on your playlist for Dave’s shows?

Dave listens to everything. Sometimes you go to his room and he is playing Nirvana, sometimes he is blasting Miles Davis or Marvin Gaye.. I play stuff that I know he likes. I try to create a zone that changes people from their everyday living. They have been working all day. Like I will start with Red Hot Chili Peppers, .They start jamming. Black or white. My job is to create a zone to get them ready for Dave. This is not your average show. You are going to hear stuff you are going to feel stuff that you never felt before or heard before.

What is Dave Chappelle like?

He is a very generous and personable person. He is into hotel rooms. And his family has always been number one. You never see us go out on tour for more than two weeks at a time. But with the crew on the tour, it’s just like a group of guys just chillin.  It’s like a fun crew. It’s like guys hanging out. You are always going to be laughing and having jokes but it’s not comedy, just guys laughing. Dave is also super intelligent. He is one of the smartest, most intellectual people I know. He always knows what’s going on. That’s what makes his comedy so different from others. He has this ridiculous stuff but he also has political. Not even just political but he finds little known things and just stands on them.

How do you keep up the stamina for these shows where you are performing sometimes two shows a night?

I run. When I am in Atlanta, I run the Beltline, but wherever I am I always make sure to go for a run. Dave hits the gym daily so that keeps his stamina up. And I know with Dave, we are going to eat well. We are going to have good meals. I try to make sure I have well-balanced meals and stay away from bread as much as possible.kenny burns big boi

We love your single “Take Me High” featuring The Dan. What should we expect for your album coming out next year?

I am excited about this project. I met The Dan at the Grammy’s. At first, we had our song writer singing the song and she sounded great. But after meeting The Dan, I really liked her vibe and when she recorded the song it really brought it to life. It makes you want to move your head. I was at Dave’s party for Netflix release, Kendall Jenner is bobbing her head to my song. I released it in the winter but re-released it after I got deal with Priority Records. The concept of the song and the music video is about having your own day to go and do your thing and all of the transitions in life and how it feels. I will be dropping my first album in January or February. Check out the video

What have your learned from Dave Chappelle?

I learned to look around me and take the time to find inspiration. When things happen, sometimes you are just moving so fast, you don’t take time to absorb. I have watched Dave do that. I have watched him pay attention. I think from him I learned the value of disconnecting. He is not into social media. If it wasn’t for the fact that he plays music from his phone he would never have his phone.


Your famous hashtag #whereintheworldisdjtrauma is catchy. Where did that come from?

I got the “where in the world is DJ Trauma” from a  girl I was dating she jokingly commented on my Instagram where the world DJ Trauma and I liked it and I created the hashtag. Gabrielle Union came up to me when I saw her recently and said, ‘where in the world is DJ trauma,’”