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D Sharp: The DJ with Four NBA Championship Rings

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A man sits in a row of black leather chairs, with one foot up and smiling.
DJ D Sharp kicks his feet up at the Chase Center, where he DJs Golden State Warriors games. (Squint)

View the full episode transcript.

The Golden State Warriors had a rough 2023-2024 campaign, but at least the music was slappin’.

During timeouts, breaks between quarters and sometimes even when the ball was in play, the Chase Center’s speakers would vibrate with the sounds of legendary Bay Area hip-hop artists. The person often on the turntables making it happen: DJ D Sharp.

Man with headphones on looks into the camera with an upbeat expression.
DJ D Sharp on the ones and twos at Chase Center. (Squint)

He’s been the Warriors in-house DJ for a decade, providing the soundtrack for Steph, Klay, Draymond and company during their legendary run of four NBA championships. DJ D Sharp, clearly an essential part of the team, even has four NBA championship rings of his own.

Outside of the arena, DJ D Sharp is a radio show host for 106.1 KMEL and producer for Bay Area hip-hop artists. Over the past year, he’s produced projects for North Oakland’s ST Spittin, the East Bay collective MacArthur Maze and a soon-to-be released project with East Oakland’s Ian Kelly.

Raised in East Oakland himself, DJ D Sharp has been a producer and DJ since his teens. Given all his accomplishments, from working with the likes of Lauryn Hill and Kelly Rowland to making an appearance at the 2024 NBA All-Star Game, DJ D Sharp has a lot to be proud of. This week, we talk about providing a soundtrack for the Warriors’ dynasty while building a lasting legacy for his family and community.


 

Episode Transcript

This is a computer-generated transcript. While our team has reviewed it, there may be errors.

[Music playing]

Pendarvis Harshaw, Host: What’s up Rightnowish listeners, it’s your guy, Pendarvis Harshaw. Tapping in with my Warriors fans out there. [Sigh] What a season, talk about some highs and some lows, maybe the end of a dynasty. Who knows? Look, I’m not trying to wallow in the sad news– cause there’s always next year, right?  

 At least there’s one thing we know for sure: in 2025 the NBA-All Stars game is coming to the Bay, so you know it’s gonna be lit with events in the Town and in Frisco and one person who is sure to be in the mix: DJ D Sharp.

He’s the Warriors in-house DJ, which means during a game, when there’s a break in the action or even sometimes while the ball is in play, you can hear him on the 1s and 2s. And every once in a while you can even look up and see him stunting on the jumbotron.  

On top of being the Warriors DJ, he’s a hip-hop producer. Recently he’s done projects with North Oakland’s ST Spittin and the group, MacArthur Maze. He’s been producing for just about as long as he’s been a DJ– dating back to his teens. 

 As a guy who was raised in East Oakland, DJ D Sharp says it’s been a dream being a part of the Warriors franchise.

DJ D Sharp, guest: I don’t take none of it for granted. Like, it’s an amazing experience to deejay in front of 20,000 people every night and to get the love from the people too. It’s just amazing, bro. Like, I’m blessed. 

Pendarvis Harshaw: So for this episode, we chop it up about his journey to the Warriors, providing the soundtrack for a basketball dynasty and what legacy he’s building for the Town and his family, coming up after this. 

Pendarvis Harshaw: Bringing you into the discussion today, excited to talk to you because you are at the helm of something very important: you provide the soundtrack to one of my favorite sports teams. And you’ve produced some really tight projects over the last couple of years out of, out of the East Bay. Let’s start at the start. What came first: deejaying or producing?

DJ D Sharp: Deejaying most definitely came first. I was collecting records and like, the Yo! MTV Rap era, like, it was just like, I loved it and I couldn’t, you know, step away from the TV. I was always tuned in, dialed in. 

Pendarvis Harshaw: What was the first piece of equipment you had?

 DJ D Sharp: The first piece of equipment I had was my mom’s turn table. It was some off-brand name. I was on that thing learning. And then I was like, oh, I need a mixer and then I got a mixer from the homie down the street. But my pops is uh, he’s a musician and he played the keyboards and he had bands and all that kind of stuff. So he’d buy the latest drum machine, and then I’d just be playing on it, and then next thing you know, he’d forget about it and he giving it to me.

[Music playing]

DJ D Sharp: I caught on a real fast to the point where I think that’s why people started giving me equipment, giving me records and giving me stuff because they were seeing it. They was like, yo, he got it. Like, take this and go play.  Go, go, go, go, experiment with this and then come back to me. 

Pendarvis Harshaw: What age are we talking about here?

DJ D Sharp:  12. 13. 14. I had homies in Richmond, who I would go spend a weekend, every other weekend with them. My boy Aaron ,we were the same age, so we would we would hang out and his brothers was deejays. So I go to they house and just get equipment. Like, I come home with records.

 Pendarvis Harshaw: It was a community effort.

 DJ D Sharp: It was a community effort for sure.

Pendarvis Harshaw: So a lot of these factors pouring into you, a lot of Bay area energy. You said either in the town or in Richmond. You did mention that Yo! MTV Raps having that influence on you as well.

DJ D Sharp:Yeah. 

Pendarvis Harshaw: I’m wondering like, does this whole trope about, you know, all Bay area music all sounds the same and how like there’s an east coast sound and a west coast sound, did that ever play a part in you developing your style?


DJ D Sharp: When people heard me out deejaying and it’d be like the first question they asked me all the time was, was I from the east coast, “because you don’t you don’t deejay like these other cats. Like you, where are you from?” I’m like ‘I’m from East Oakland.’ Like, you know what I’m saying? They’d be like, “What?” I’d be like, ‘Yeah.’
You know, being from the Town, you know, it’s all about the knock. It’s all about the slump. It’s all about, you know,415’s.  

[Music playing] 

DJ D Sharp: So I came from that but also came from the choppin’ samples and that side of hip hop is the drum breaks and stuff like that. So like I’m taking the drum breaking and adding 808 to it, you get what I’m saying, like, you know,Too $hort, like, “In The Trunk”  Like you listen to  “In The Trunk” that’s what that is. 

You can hear it in my sound in a production, like, for me, I grew up loving Gang Starr as much as I love Ant Banks and Spice 1. I love Too $hort just as much as I loved Big Daddy Kane. I was just immersed in hip hop.

Pendarvis Harshaw: Those early days of getting into the game and you start working with some, some pretty heavyweight names in the industry. For a time period, you were tour deejay for Lauryn Hill?

 DJ D Sharp: Yes! ‘Cause Kev Choice had tapped me to be the tour DJ for Lauryn because she tapped him to be the music director. Me and Kev go way back to Brookfield Elementary. You know, anytime he thinks of a DJ, anytime I think of, some, a multi instrumentalist, I think, of Kev.  So we collab and we always look out for each other. So, yeah, Lauryn Hill was craz and it was a dope run, and I learned a lot from her.  We all did. And I became a tour deejay all the way up until 2010, so you talking ten years. We toured heavy with will.i.am. And I saw will.i.am at a Warriors game.  

[Music playing]

And he was like, “You the Warriors Dj?” He was like “Oh okay, that’s whats up,” you know what I mean. So it all be a full circle moment.

[Clip of promotional video] 

“One more time, give it up for DJ D Sharp, come on!” [basketball arena crowd cheers] 

Pendarvis Harshaw: You’ve mentioned The Warriors, you’ve been there over a dozen years now. 

DJ D Sharp: Yes. 

Pendarvis Harshaw: Bring me back to the start. How do you land that gig?

 DJ D Sharp: God bless the dead DJ Solomon. He was the first deejay for the Warriors and I argue that he might have been the first deejay in the NBA.  

DJ D Sharp: He taught me a lot. He was a peer but he was also a mentor and I met him at a Blackalicious show. He he approached me and he said, “Bro, like your scratching, bro, it’s so crazy. Like, I DJ for the Warriors and you know, we’d love to have you come and just do a 2 x 4 set with me.”  I was like ‘Yeah it’s all good,’ we exchanged numbers.”  We killed it. We had a good time.  And then he was like, “Let’s do it again.”

And then he would do it with other deejays as well in the community. But then, he got busy, like, he was a part of the whole Serato situation. For those who don’t know, Serrato was the software used by DJs, just like, the number one software. But like, if you look back at the promo, bro is on the promo with like Z trip, DJ Jazzy Jeff, like Qbert, like with all the these heavy hitter deejays.  

He got busy. So he couldn’t do a lot of games. So he would, like, send out these emails to a bunch of DJs and, and, you know, for some reason, it felt like I was always the one who answered the emails.

This is when the Warriors sucked too, right. This is like pre, “we believe.” And then when “we believe” came like I was still filling in for him. But he did like all that playoff run and all that kind of stuff. And then up until 2012, he… man, yeah, he passed away, man, and then the Warriors offered me the gig.

Pendarvis Harshaw: Before the Dynasty and Steph, Klay and Dre like in the early days like what does it mean to be a part of the entertainment of a team that’s not performing too well?

DJ D Sharp: That was what it was all about. It was about the entertainment, right? because the team wasn’t good. So if you, if you, remember we had Thunder. 

[Music playing, crowd cheering]

Thunder was the mascot for the Warriors. Thunder was the highlight, you know, dunking and doing his thing and going all around the arena ya know what I mean? Thunder was the man.

Shout out Brett Yamaguchi, who was the head of all the entertainment. He made it where the entertainment was top notch. Like the t-shirt toss and like, the Warriors dance team and like all of that stuff, like, you know those timeouts, those breaks, those contests, like, all of that stuff was more exciting than the game itself [laughs] You get what I’m saying?

[Warriors chant]

I do remember the arena always being filled. Like, people will always show up for the warriors, like, regardless of the losing seasons and all of that kinda stuff. 

Pendarvis Harshaw: I’m rolling. I’m sorry. Yeah. You’re like “it was always packed,” like, yeah, because people got free tickets from the library, from Lucky’s, Round Table. But yeah, those were good times. You know, there was no winning in sight. I couldn’t foresee a Steph, Klay, Dray, like, dynasty like we have now.

DJ D Sharp: No one could bro. And that’s the, that’s the magic and the beauty of it all, right?

 Pendarvis Harshaw: Yeah. Do you have a certain song that you go to for a certain situation? like say, I don’t know, it’s 24 seconds left on the clock and the Warriors got the ball, they down, you know, a point and you want the crowd to get amped during that half, during that timeout right before the ball comes into play. Do you have a song that will play for folks?

DJ D Sharp: The only song that really that I go like, is a go to song when it’s cracking and is going stupid in there,I did like a house remix for the E-40 remix. So I do that a lot because it’s a lot of energy.  “Everybody say Warriors, Warriors”  

 [Music playing]

DJ D Sharp:  I play that in moments like that. 

Pendarvis Harshaw: You deejay for the Warriors during this, like historical run, right, for this past decade. And when they play these clips as these players Steph, Klay, Dre go into the Hall of Fame, they’ll have those songs in the background as the clips play. Like, does that ever like, occur to you that you’re kind of laying the soundtrack for history?

 DJ D Sharp: Yeah, I think about it, you know ? Because it’s like, you know, I mean, I’ve had Steph, I’ve had Coach Kerr, I’ve had Loon, even GP too like, like I’ve had these brothers come up to me telling me, I make an impact. So it’s dope to hear that. 

Pendarvis Harshaw: With that said, you’re a valued member of the team. You’ve got championship rings, multiple.

DJ D Sharp: yeah, No. It’s crazy. There’s one for each member of my family. Me, my wife and my two sons. We got four.

Pendarvis Harshaw: For you personally this year,while, the team has had its ups and downs, and a lot of down, you personally have had some some pretty big highlights, All Sar, All Star 2024?

 DJ D Sharp: Yes, I was tapped to go and do All Star 2024. I did the celebrity game and that was fun. You know, that experience is amazing and is coming to the Bay area.

Pendarvis Harshaw: You think that this means a lot to the entire Bay area, I’m assuming?

 DJ D Sharp: Oh for sure, for sure, man.I think the Bay is getting a bad rap right now from the homelessness to everything that’s going on with the crime and bippin’ and all that kind of stuff. But when you talk to people and you talk to family in other cities and other locations, like, this is going on across the country, across the world, like bippin’ is happening, like it’s worse in Atlanta as far as I know. But it don’t get amplified like it does here in the Bay for some reason. Oakland gets a bad rap, especially like, we been lost all of our teams. It’s like they trying to like, cleanse us of Oakland. It’s like, what are we doing? Like, no, Oakland is beautiful and it needs to be put on a pedestal.

[Music playing] 

DJ D Sharp:It’s heartbreaking to see. But at the same time, I think Oakland gonna eventually end up being on top like we always are.

Pendarvis Harshaw: Yeah, as you talk about it, it’s kind of wild to me that you see it on both sides like the professional, the sports team, you were there for the Warriors move away from the town and through the music. The music is always an underdog to the bigger cities. And so playing that role, you’re carrying a lot of weight there!

 DJ D Sharp: Again, I see us, like, rising from the ashes like we here, Like, this is what we do. So, yeah, we’ll be aight.

[Music playing]

Pendarvis Harshaw: So beyond basketball, you’re also part owner of the Oakland Roots soccer team. Like, how did how did that come to be?

DJ D Sharp: That sound crazy, don’t it, right? Shout out my sister, she hit me up. She was like, you know, “There’s rare opportunity to be a part of this, the growth of what’s going on with the Oakland Roots, Oakland Soul.” And she sent me the information and it was kind of like, a no brainer. And it’s going back to like, my kids, like, I’m looking at that. Like, I’m trying to set up something for them.

And on top of that, you look at Oakland Soul and you look at Oakland Roots, right. They are here. They are Oakland. You get what I’m saying? And I don’t, I don’t never see them, you know, packing up and going out. I only see them growing.  

My sons are humongous soccer fans, so they know all the players. They know everything about it. So, it was just a wonderful opportunity that I had to kind of just, I had to do it. 

Pendarvis Harshaw: So you, where you are in your career again, both in the the DJ realm, the production realm, you also have these two little ones that you mentioned before, your children, and also your wife, I’m like, your family, what does it mean to them to see you in the position that you’re in?

 DJ D Sharp: I tell you this about my boys, man, and one of the things I love the most, because they love music and they love basketball. I’m able to provide them resources that I didn’t have coming up, which is a blessing. I mean, these boys are playing AAU basketball, you know, karate, soccer league, they doing all the sports. They have a story within themselves, like, they were able to be in a parade twice. 

[Music playing]

DJ D Sharp: So my whole family, we had our own car in a parade, and they waving to people and doing all this stuff, so it’s like, especially my 11 year old, to see his confidence. And, you know, I love it. Like, he’s a confident kid. He’s like, real headstrong. He knows what he wants and he he goes for it. That’s all I can ask, man.

Pendarvis Harshaw: Sounds like you’re passing on more than a championship ring.

DJ D Sharp: That’s the whole thing about fatherhood, you just want, you want to give them what you didn’t have, but you also want to teach them things, valuable lessons you’ve learned and pass them on, so yeah.

Pendarvis Harshaw: Congrats to that!

DJ D Sharp: Thank you:

Pendarvis Harshaw, host: One more time for DJ D Sharp. Thank you for your time, your story and your work!

All the info on his latest music projects can be found on his Instagram at DJD Sharp, all one word. Or check out his music on any streaming platform, under DJ D Sharp.

This episode was hosted by me, Pendarvis Harshaw. Marisol Medina-Cadena produced this episode. Chris Egusa and Chris Hambrick both held it down for edits. We call that the Chris cross connection. Christopher Beale engineered this joint. The music you heard was courtesy of D Sharp. The Rightnowish team is also supported by Jen Chien, Ugur Dursun, Holly Kernan, Cesar Saldaña, and Katie Sprenger.

If you like what you hear and have the means to do so, we ask that you consider supporting dope local programming like this show. Visit KQED dot org slash donate.  We appreciate ya.

Rightnowish is a KQED production. Until next time, peace

DJ D Sharp, guest: Thunder was the mascot for the Warriors. You probably know this story, Pen, the story about how they went to China and he never came back. Like, he got married and settled and had a family over there.

Pendarvis Harshaw:  I did not hear this story at all.

DJ D Sharp: I don’t know if it was PR or it was a fan. It’s crazy, look it up.

Pen Harshaw, host: We did look it up. And buried on the Warriors official Youtube page, we found this: a 10 year old video explaining why the Dubs’ beloved mascot Thunder is no longer with the team.

Clip from “Thunder: Found in China”: I came to China with the Warriors for the NBA China Games in 2008, and I started dancing with Chinese fans like I had never danced before. I also met the love of my life here in China and never looked back and I’m not coming back.

Life, love, dunking and dancing, China has it all for me. At first there were struggles fitting in, but I found an inner peace. And I want you to know. While I miss you dearly, Warriors fans, you taught me what it was to be thunder. But now my home is China. Sincerely, Léijong

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