DJ Honda

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DJ Honda
Birth name Katsuhiro Honda
Born 1965 (age 48–49)
Hokkaidō, Japan
Origin Tokyo, Japan
Genres Hip hop
Occupations DJ, producer, entrepreneur
Instruments Turntable
Years active 1992—present
Labels Relativity
Website www.djhonda.com

Katsuhiro Honda (本田勝裕 Hōnda Katsuhiro?, born 1965), better known as DJ Honda, is a Japanese hip hop DJ, turntablist, music producer, CEO, clothing line designer, and entrepreneur.

Biography[edit]

DJ Honda moved to Tokyo when he was 17 years old to pursue his dream of playing in an American influenced rock band. He started a band called, "The Clique" as the vocalist and guitarist. However, the band struggled and DJ Honda was forced to seek additional employment. He began DJing at the popular nightclubs in a small nearby city, Shizuoka where he was first introduced to hip hop music and various turntable techniques, including scratching & beat juggling. Ultimately, DJ Honda landed premiere gigs in Tokyo's largest clubs while perfecting his turntable techniques. By this time, he had created a popular name for himself as a DJ. DJ Honda also appeared on Tokyo radio stations and remixed popular tracks for local record companies.

1990s[edit]

After entering New York City's New Music Seminar's Battle for World Supremacy in 1992 and placing runner up, DJ Honda made an international splash. After the success of this battle under his belt, DJ Honda decided to move to Los Angeles to make a buzz for himself in the U.S. It was here where DJ Honda forged notable contacts such as Ice-T, Eazy-E, Tha Alkaholiks, Xzibit & many other West Coast talents. Sony Music Japan then approached DJ Honda for a recording contract where he eventually released two albums: h, DJ Honda & h II. This signing caused DJ Honda to move once again to New York City. He was ahead of his time in Japan at this stage. After securing this new recording contract with Sony, DJ Honda launched his signature h, DJ Honda collection including the infamous "h" baseball caps, men's clothing, accessories such as sunglasses, neck ties, umbrellas, shoe line, wallets, etc. In New York City, he cultivated many valuable relationships with artists like Melle Mel, Grandmaster Caz, Prince Whipper Whip, Universal Zulu Nation including Afrika Bambaataa as well as some of the emcees who would later be featured on his self-titled debut LP album, h, DJ Honda: Common, Redman, Gang Starr, Fat Joe, Biz Markie, JuJu & Psycho Les of The Beatnuts, Brand Nubian's Grand Puba & Sadat X, and more. With the success of h, DJ Honda album released in U.S. and Japan Versions, DJ Honda makes a quantum leap from his debut album to his sophomore compilation, h II which featured acclaimed emcees such as Mos Def, KRS-One, The Beatnuts, Cuban Link, Keith Murray, De La Soul, Missin' Linx, & more. "Trouble In the Water", the first single from h II was a masterpiece between emcee and producer: De La Soul and DJ Honda. The second single from h II was DJ Honda & Mos Def's collaboration, "Travellin' Man" which became a hit single world wide, having its music video shot in various places around the world from Brazil to South Africa. DJ Honda toured the world after h, dj honda and then again after releasing h II.

2000s[edit]

It was at this time that DJ Honda decided to leave Sony Music Japan behind to embark on opening his own, independent record label, "DJ Honda RECORDINGS" simultaneously in New York City and Tokyo with Seoul, South Korea branch office opening in 2002. DJ Honda released two albums on Christmas Day, 1999: h 2000, a compilation album featuring all production by DJ Honda coupled with New York's prominent emcees and Turntablist Revolution: I.T.F. World DJ Compilation Album Vol. 1, a compilation of scratches & beat juggling tracks by the best turntablists from around the world. The first official U.S. & international single, "El Presidente" with Jeru the Damaja was distributed by RED and the music video was in rotation on national TV stations such as B.E.T.'s Rap City, MTV2, and other local cable shows. With the momentum of releasing this independent debut single, DJ Honda released his junior, compilation album titled, h III in Japan and Korean Versions only. He enlists yet another group of New York's finest lyricists: M.O.P., Teflon, The Beatnuts, Gravediggaz, Jeru The Damaja, Parish "PMD" Smith of EPMD, Triple Seis, 8 Off Agallah, Black Attack along with Rob Jackson, DJ Alladin, and more. For the first time ever, DJ Honda collaborates solo with one emcee on an album titled, "Underground Connection" with Parish "PMD" Smith of the duo group, EPMD and is released in Japan and S.Korea with bonus tracks from Korean hip hop artists, Erick Sermon and a few other emcees.

DJ Honda opens to the general public his U.S. flagship retail store in SoHo, New York City in June 2000 which carries music, his clothing and accessory collection, "h, DJ Honda", as well live DJ sessions, events and sake parties. Following the footsteps of the "h 272" Store in NYC, four satellite "h, dj honda" stores opened their doors in Seoul, South Korea. With the rise of DJ Honda's popularity in South Korea, 2002 World Hip Hop Clan Festival organizers invites DJ Honda to perform live in front of over 10,000 screaming fans. DJ Honda surprises the Korean fans by bringing legendary EPMD with him on this Korean tour. DJ Honda also performs at the subsequent 2003 World Hip Hop Clan Festival as well bringing Parish "PMD" Smith, Strong Island's K-Solo, & Headcrack, a bubbling NYC underground emcee. American celebrities such as comedian, Robin Williams, David Bowie, Susan Sarandon, Dennis Haysbert as well as music artists such as Mike Shinoda from Linkin Park, DJ Qbert, and countless number of hip hop artists.

In April 2004, DJ Honda launched "DHF Films" in New York City & Tokyo where he produces and distributes numerous documentaries, DJ battle DVDs, Japanese hip hop dance DVDs, & many more. In June 2004, The Best of DJ Honda double CD with 81 tracks includes all the tracks that DJ Honda has released world wide. This project was so successful that The Best of DJ Honda was licensed by Atoll/Warm Music in Paris, France.

In March 2009, DJ Honda & Problemz released All Killa/No Filla album (Japan Version) to pave the way for DJ Honda's, DJ Honda IV. Three singles have been released from this album: "Da Payback", "NY/NY", & "Give It Up". Problemz, a Brooklyn native, has worked with DJ Honda extensively since the debut album h, dj honda. On October 12, 2008, DJ Honda & Problemz performed live at the International Arts Festival in New Orleans, Louisiana alongside artists such as The Game, Tamia, Lloyd and more.

DJ Honda is notorious for collaborating with commercial and soon to rise-to-fame underground emcees. This is also noticeable on his upcoming, much anticipated new album, DJ honda IV set to release on August 2009. Like tradition the line up of notable emcees on this forthcoming album will satisfy the hunger from his loyal fans such as Mos Def, Fred Durst, Kool G Rap, and Rakaa Iriscience from Dilated Peoples.

DJ Honda has been creating the soundtrack for QD3 Entertainment's documentary film, The MC: Why We Do It, Stuck: independent film starring Mena Suvari & Stephen Rea, Hip Hop Honey's DVD, Namco Bandai's videogame, The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift, as well as many of the MTV shows such as Rob & Big and Run's House.

2010s[edit]

DJ Honda is currently working on several projects including h Mental Vol. 5 which is an exclusive collection of DJ Honda beats, DJ Honda V, and REASON, a biographical documentary film about DJ Honda's life & career in English and Japanese versions.

Discography[edit]

Studio albums[edit]

  • h (1995: Japan/1996: U.S.)
  • Remixes (1995)
  • h II (1997: Japan/1998: U.S.)
  • Turntablist Revolution: I.T.F. World DJ Championship Album Vol. 1 (1999)
  • h 2000 (1999)
  • h III (2001: Japan/2002: Korea)
  • Underground Connection (2002)
  • The Best of DJ Honda, Vol. 1 (2004)
  • The Best of DJ Honda, Vol. 2 (2004)
  • Samurai Sword (2005)
  • DJ Honda Mix, Vol. 1: The Best of DJ Honda (2005) (iTunes exclusive)
  • REASON (2005)
  • All Killa / No Filla (2009)
  • h Mental (2009)
  • DJ Honda IV (2009)

EPs[edit]

  • Straight Talk from NY (1996)
  • We Don't Play (2000)

Singles[edit]

  • "Trouble in the Water" (1998)
  • "Travellin' Man" (1998)
  • "El Presidente" (2000)
  • "Real To Me" (2001)
  • "REASON Chapter 1" (2005)
  • "REASON Chapter 2" (2005)
  • "Da Payback" (2009)
  • "NY/NY" (2009)
  • "Give It Up" (2009)
  • "Another Day" (2009)
  • "Magnetic Arts" (2009)

References[edit]

External links[edit]