When it comes to mixing, few have been in the game as long as DJ Ballistic Billy. A prolific artist who has shared the stage with everyone from Diddy, DJ Skribble, Wyclef Jean, Fat Joe, the late DJ AM, Ice-T, David Banner, Mannie Fresh and Insane Clown Posse, among other superstars. He was also the tour DJ for the multi-platinum Miami-based rap group The 2 Live Crew. DJ Ballistic Billy hails from Miami, where he began mixing at the age of 12. At 15, he landed a gig as an on-air mixer for the popular Miami WPOW Power 96 radio station—becoming South Florida's youngest on-air mixer at the time. He went on to host a hit primetime radio show on Florida’s WLHR Hot 107.9 in Panama City Beach, as well as doing radio in Orlando. Since then, he has performed in clubs around the United States and Puerto Rico.
Though he's known as one of the pioneering DJs of the 'Miami Bass' music scene, he considers himself an 'Open Format' DJ and will incorporate rock groups like Guns ‘N Roses into his mash-ups as well as playing hip-hop, house, freestyle and of course Miami Bass music. When it comes to the hip-hop genre, he tends to lean more towards old-school hip-hop because, as he explains, “In terms of BPM, it’s a little more up tempo, giving it a better feel in the clubs as opposed to stuff that is in the BPM range of 70-80 beats a minute. It's more mix friendly as well." This makes sense, as DJ Ballistic Billy describes himself as a mixer more than a turntablist. "I can cut, I can scratch and it's solid, but where I really shine is my mixing, so I've been told. I study the music. You have to know the breaks and the bars; you have to know about production. You can’t just take something that is 125 BPM and say, 'Okay, this is 126.' If it doesn’t sound right musically, it's not going to sound right, regardless of the tempo."
DJ Ballistic Billy is a turntable loyalist. These days, he works with Stanton's high-torque STR8.150 turntables. Featuring a 'skip-proof' straight tone arm, the STR8.150 comes with a torque motor of up to 4.5 Kgf-cm, and an ultra-stable platter and tone arm. Features like key correction, reverse and 50-percent pitch adjustment, not to mention S/PDIF digital outputs, give DJ Ballistic Billy ultimate control over his mix.
"Stanton really put tremendous thought into designing the STR8.150," he notes. "The weight and the torque in the motor are far superior to any other turntable out there. Plus I use the classic straight-arm models, but either way, the curved arm will still be just as superior. I mean, Stanton even went as far as putting an extra start-stop button on it for the turntablist DJ."
DJ Ballistic Billy also uses the Stanton DJ Pro 2000 stereo headphones, which deliver high output without compromising on sound quality. They feature a unique folding design with a rotating ear cup and padded shoulder rest for more comfortable monitoring. “The Stanton DJ Pro 2000 headphones are great,” he comments. "The level of sound quality is just awesome."
When he travels, DJ Ballistic Billy takes Stanton’s Uberstand laptop stand with him, which safely elevates his laptop above his workspace. "The Uberstand is great," he says. "It's sturdy, lightweight, folds up in a snap and come with its own carry bag, all of which makes it really easy for me when I am traveling."
In addition to his work as a DJ, DJ Ballistic Billy, a kidney transplant recipient, is an official National Kidney Foundation Florida ambassador. An advocate of organ donation, he is also an official ambassador for Donate Life Florida, an organization that promotes raising awareness about organ donation. He recently appeared on Miami's NBC 6 6 in the Mix show with Roxanne Vargas, where he shared the story of his lifelong battle with kidney disease.
DJ Ballistic Billy is an official artist for Stanton DJ and also a member of the Slip N Slide DJ Coalition and the Future Star DJ Coalition. His advice to aspiring DJs is to "prepare for a lot of hard work because nothing is ever just handed to you. You are not going to get where you want to be overnight, but always remain determined with a positive attitude and never let anyone try and stop you from pursuing you dreams."