inDJnous' Turntable Mastery Gets Him Observatory Gigs—and Big Daddy Kane's Praise

It's 1989, and 5-year-old Richard Rodriguez bobs his head as he rides in his dad's tricked-out 1983 Nissan pickup through the streets of Anaheim. As the music switches from Run D.M.C. to Young M.C. to N.W.A, he begins to fall in love with hip-hop. Two years later, as he hears Eazy-E's "Boyz-N-The-Hood (Remix)," with its turntable zips, Rodriguez starts becoming obsessed with deejaying. But he won't be able to practice his passion until his 18th birthday, when his parents buy him a set of turntables as a gift.

With a fresh pair of Technics 1200s that he uses to this day, Rodriguez began practicing in his room with only the occasional "TURN IT DOWN!" from his parents. He chose the name inDJnous as a way to pay homage to his Mexican, Guatemalan and indigenous roots. House parties led to gigs at small venues to a big break at the 2007 Paid Dues Festival, where he worked the VIP room. Today, the 32-year-old deejays almost every hip-hop show at the Observatory in SanTana. He spins for Ras Kass, Concrete Saints and Cookbook from L.A. Symphony and has worked with KRS One, Apollo Brown, Blu, Rakaa from Dilated Peoples and many local artists.

"I love that I'm able to express myself through my selection of songs, through the things that I do, through the crowd's energy, me feeling them and me giving back that type of energy," he says. "I love that connection that there is between us at that moment because it's just euphoric, man, and it's addicting."

The DJ cuts records with the precision of a LASIK doc while working the crossfader like a conductor barreling through Bach's Brandenburg Concertos scribbling the page. His skills are such that when Big Daddy Kane played at the Observatory last year, the rapper/actor yelled, "Oh, shit!" at inDJnous' scratches.

Rodriguez plans to keep up the turntables, but he also wants to branch out as a producer and focus on collaborating more with artists. "At the same time that I feel proud," he says, "I also feel humble because not everybody gets the chance and not everybody has that type of position, and I know it can still go further."

Though most people he works with think he's from LA, he says, inDJnous always reps Juice County; he makes a point of wearing Angels and Ducks gear whenever he performs. "Without Orange County, it's just not me; there is no me," he says. "Everywhere that I go, and everywhere I'm doing my thing, I'm always representing Orange County—it's within me."

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