DJ Great Daine and the Red Alert Crew Keep Local Turntablism Alive

DJ Great Daine on the ones and twos.
DJ Great Daine on the ones and twos.
Courtesy of DJ Great Daine

Sometimes the biggest dogs in OC hip-hop aren't the ones with the loudest bark. Two decades after moving from Hawaii to OC, DJ Great Daine's become the quiet master behind the turntables during his gigs. His vinyl skills have touched every facet of OC hip-hop, from from underground cyphers to house parties and club shows. The origin of his turntable skills and his nickname (a play on his middle name and the majestic dog breed) started in the summer of '92, after meeting Keith Sugimura, more famously known as DJ Havik from the Beat Junkies. "He was one of my teachers and from there I just took off" says the DJ born William Daine King Jr. "I owe everything to him for what I do today."

Daine recalls the flourishing Asian hip-hop scene in the '90s and how he would DJ house parties for rival Asian gangs around SoCal. This was a far cry from his roots as a drummer for a heavy metal band called Brain Dead. "I had long hair to my ass" he says jokingly, now sporting a bald head.

In 2009, in collaboration with OC graffiti artist Kenos' Acknowledge Productions, DJs Danny V., Devin V.  and Daine of Red Alert Productions started the internet radio show Red Alert Radio. It began broadcasting live every other Tuesday night from Kenos' SanTana studio, "We were the first streaming internet radio show," Daine says. Daine met Kenos met after one of the DJ's gigs at Proof Bar, who invited him up to the artist's studio in a grimy pink building on the corner of 4th and Broadway, transformed the drab space into a hip-hop head's dream studio. Recording equipment lined with walls covered in graffiti art.

Now, internet hip-hop shows such as B-Real TV are prevalent in the interwebs. Red Alert Radio currently operates out of DJ Great Daine's garage in Buena Park after Kenos' landlords no longer welcomed the hip-hop collective. Notable guests to Red Alert Radio have included local musicians such as Pecks, Sly Boogie, Black Nights West Coast “Wu-Tang” and others such as DJ Icy Ice from Beat Junkies, DJ P-Trix, Aceylone.

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On a Tuesday night at Daine's garage which is covered in graffiti art by Kenos One and stacked with cords, mics, crates, and shelves full of new and classic vinyl. DJ Prime Meridian , DJ Danny V and guest DJ Realizm enter and set up their turntables. The place is full of metal decks, laptops and a hefty record collection. "We keep the culture alive with the turntables, we're all about vinyl," he says.

Aside from Red Alert Radio, Daine has backed legendary and contemporary emcees like Redman, Method Man, Pyscho Realm, A$AP Ferg, Kurrupt, Hopsin and others.

DJ Premier with DJ Great Daine
DJ Premier with DJ Great Daine
Courtesy of Dj Great Daine

"I just do it for the love. I don't get paid for this." Daine says. "Most of us DJs don't get paid for this. It's good to have a job. Please have a job, it's an expensive hobby," he says with a laugh.

So what's a DJ without his crew? Here's a roll call and shout out to the Red Alert Crew which consists of Danny V. Prime Meridian, Tribe Called Deps, Abel, Stimulus, People Mover, Yuji, Yohie, LD, Indjnous, Mr. Kees, Chuyo, Dennis P. Jonny 5, Elvis, Enok, DJ YNOT, Mr. Kees and the crew's official photographer, Nadia Jakhar Vera-Tudela and the late Devin V and Poyndexter

The Devin and Poyndexter were close friends of Daine and Devin was cousins with Kenos. Both were part of the crew until they passed away almost a year apart to the day of each other in July of 2011 and 2012 respectively. Poyndexter had just finished his album with Danny V. and died later that evening in a tragic car accident.
"We're all intertwined together," Daine says somberly, "We still keep it going because of these two guys."

Red Alert Radio DJs will be spinning at Gallagher's in Long Beach on Friday September 30th from 9p.m. to 2a.m. Listen and watch Red Alert Radio every other Tuesday night from 8p.m. to midnight at redalertradio.blogspot.com.

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