watch | DJ Fatz and DJ 2wenty of Choice FM on party-rocking, and The People’s Station

DJ 2wenty: We’re for the people. Nine times out of ten if the people want it, we do it. 

Choice FM 92.1, is a radio station reaching Rocky Mount, Wilson, Oxford, Nashville, Zebulon, Chapel Hill, Raleigh, and Durham. Affiliated with the nationally syndicated Breakfast Club, they cover mainstream Hip Hop and R&B culture and music; locally, they lift up talent, events, opportunities, and businesses in rural communities of color throughout Eastern and Central North Carolina as well as the metro area. The station itself was originally called Soul 92 Jams, and offered one of the first spaces for black voices on radio in the area at its creation in 1974.

I sat down with DJ 2wenty and DJ Fatz, both of whom have been at the craft for decades, since the early eighties. DJ 2wenty eyed Soul 92 as the place for him well before he settled into his home at “The People’s Station”.

DJ 2wenty: I told the boss I’d be working here and he said they may not have enough room for me. I said, yeah, you do.

His time slots, role and experiences built from there and now, DJ 2wenty is at the studio six days a week, broadcasting and collaborating with other hosts, like DJ SoFabKim. DJ Fatz brings the Governor’s Mansion every weeknight, a three-hour set spanning current and classic black music. Both have shared stages and connected amongst the local and international DJ communities. As for live events, DJ Fatz and DJ 2wenty agree, the people “gotta come prepared to party.” So, when we talked about what DJs need to bring to the table:

DJ 2wenty: Music, know your equipment, and your sound. Because sound matters, it really matters.
DJ Fatz: I want people to hear what I’m doing and how I’m doing it, it’s like now people don’t really care about the sound, about the DJ being a real DJ – as far as transitioning a record into another record, the blending and scratching. We’re party-rocking DJs. We don’t wanna just stand behind what we use. I’m not bashing the technology change, cuz times have to change…

It’s like the disc jockey tradition blurs that line of the past and the potential. The atmosphere and experience a turntablist brings about can never be replicated. They scratch, flare, tear, and transform music deconstructing and rearranging to create new pieces, combining physical elements – vinyl, needle, motor, and their own hands – with unique style. 

Durham in particular has a deep connection with the DJ tradition – before and including DJ Fatz, who’s originally from the Bull City. 

DJ Fatz notes that for him, and for more and more folks DJing, it’s about combining the potential of current technology, with a deep knowledge of music and that equipment – digital, analog, or both.

If you didn’t know, turntabling is one of the pillars of hip hop culture, and these two live for the culture. Choice FM is keeping that creativity – and sharing it, interacting with the audience – at the forefront.

DJ 2wenty: I want to be the DJ that makes you dance, that has people singing along, lose their voice, take their shoes off cuz their feet hurt.

DJ Fatz and DJ 2wenty believe people are looking for just that, somewhere they can really release and dance – another innate element of hip hop. There’s this call for something more than a “social gathering”, as they put it. Nuanced, vibrant, innovative and deeply rooted black culture spans the rural and the metropolitan in this area. Rural communities of color are often overlooked, but the folks at Choice FM truly support the people throughout Eastern and Central NC.

Their abilities to broadcast over distance or bring an event to life, whether they be concerts, pool parties, or turntable battles, help keep the people connected, informed, and feeling free to move with the music.

DJ Fatz: We’ve been knowing each other now 20, 30 years. It was so amazing to come back and meet up with him and he’s in this type of setting. I’ve always been an African man, I want an urban radio station in this area. When choice came along it was like heaven on earth for me, because it allows us to be the DJs that we are. You got DJs at this station that respects the art and culture of DJing so when I come here to DJ, it feels like home.


Scroll to the top or head to Youtube to catch our full interview. You can also vibe with DJ 2wenty at The O in Wilson every Saturday and Tuesday, and DJ Fatz in Durham at Emerald City every Saturday.

You can reach DJ Fatz on Instagram, @djfatz72 or on Twitter, @djfatz_bcf.

watch | Cool Boy 36 speaks on video art, streetwear, Raund Haus

Cool Boy 36 sat down to share what the movement and collection is about, shouting out creatives in the Durham, NC scene. Click to get a little more familiar:

Shop Cool Boy 36 art and gear at bigcartel and keep an eye out for Flora (Cool Boy 36 Collection #2)! The launch party will be at the Durham Arts Place on Saturday, August 5th. Details here.



Terence Blanchard & the E-Collective: Groove As Advocacy

Terence Blanchard and the E-Collective’s headlining set at the Art of Cool Fest began with a sense of drama that was only amplified by the elegance and grandeur of the Carolina Theatre. Blanchard’s trumpet seemed to howl with anguish while the E-Collective quartet maintained a hard-edged groove underneath, creating a palpable tension and forward momentum that was infectious. With nods to jazz fusion and Miles Davis’ electric explorations of the ‘70s, a dose of R&B, blues, and funk, and the urgency of music with a deeper message, Blanchard and company gave the audience a great deal to consider.

Although the music they performed that night had its feet planted firmly in the now, the Grammy-award-winning Blanchard is no fresh face to the jazz scene. In fact, anyone who’s enjoyed a Spike Lee film from Jungle Fever on has heard his compositional style. Since 1991, he has had a successful solo recording career playing traditional jazz and now heavier, more groove-based music with his group E-Collective. Breathless, his first album with the E-Collective, is his heaviest yet. Though the music came first, it became clear to Blanchard that he had to speak out about police brutality and the deaths of so many African-Americans as a result, and the music naturally took on that voice.

The group was first conceived by Blanchard and drummer Oscar Seaton during the scoring of Spike Lee’s Inside Man. It took them eight years, but they finally came together while America was embroiled in the high-profile police killings of Michael Brown and Eric Garner. “Once we got to it, we were in Europe, and we noticed that there was a lot of stuff going on back in the States—a lot of crazy stories about violence with African-American youth and law enforcement. We took note, and all of the meanings of the songs started to change. That became the basis of the album,” Blanchard said ahead of Art of Cool Fest.

He goes on to speak more about impacting youth through musical exposure, saying “Part of what we’re trying to do is reach […] kids, to let them know if they want to play an instrument there’s a way to do it at a high level that can be very rewarding. It’s all about trying to bring people together, trying to show people other options.” During a press interview at Art of Cool, he elaborated more on why he thinks young people are very important to the future of music: “The thing I love about working with young folks […] is that there’s some young creative minds out there that are astonishing. […] And the thing that blows my mind is that when you give them the tools [they can do incredible things.]”

Seeing cuts from Breathless performed live only confirmed this, as up-and-coming bandmates Charles Altura (on guitar) and Fabian Almazan (on piano) have unique and masterful voices on their respective instruments. Altura’s guitar seems to soar and blaze with a bite to rival any contemporary jazz guitarist today. Almazan’s fleet fingers have Cuban roots, and his touch on the piano and synth alike is reminiscent of jazz and fusion greats like Joe Zawinul. “Fabian is probably one of the great young talents of his generation,” Blanchard has said of Almazan. “Once people really hear what he’s about and what he’s doing, they’re gonna be enriched.”

Terence Blanchard and the E-Collective will continue to tour in support of Breathless, their next show will be in Seoul, South Korea.

RECOUNT: Art of Cool Festival Playlist

In anticipation of Durham’s third annual Art of Cool Festival, RECOUNT presents this 2-hour Spotify playlist of our featured artists! We’ll be bopping around the Bull City all weekend; from the free, family-friendly day parties to the late night/early morning jams to the Innovate Your Cool Conference think tank at American Underground.

From the epic, cross-generational jazz of Kamasi Washington to the stripped-down, modern soul of The Internet, the 2016 Art of Cool Festival boasts a range of diverse, jazz-inspired acts bringing the traditional, the innovative, and everything in between to Durham.


If you’re anywhere near the Triangle this weekend, come out to enjoy local and internationally renowned artists, support local vendors and venues, and embrace the community-building focus of the Art of Cool Project, the 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization hosting this three-day event.

Hope to see ya there. Either way, there’s more to come from us. Stay tuned.