The savior of Southern mixtapes

Carolina King: Local promoter Timmy Smith calls DJ Chuck T, above, “a leader in the N.C./S.C. hip-hop movement.”

DJ Chuck T, who calls himself the “Carolina King” and “The Lord and Savior of Southern Mixtapes,” cannot be accused of lacking confidence. And while his bravado and outspoken nature may ruffle feathers at times, his commitment to his craft as a DJ has led him to be one of the top (some would say the top) hip-hop DJs in the South.

“DJ Chuck T’s mixtapes are known to have the hottest new songs,” says local promoter Timmy Smith of the blog, Social Life Times. “Chuck T finds the best music from up-and-coming indie acts from the South.” Chuck T’s mixtapes (released as CDs or downloads), which he calls Down South Slangin,’ focus on Southern rap artists or “down South rap.”

According to Smith, most rap music gets popular through DJs in the clubs or by being featured on mixtapes. This puts DJs such as Chuck T in a powerful position. Smith calls him “a leader in the N.C./S.C. hip-hop movement.”

Smith is bringing Chuck T to the Emerald Lounge as a part of a series of Social Life Times events. The last two Social Life Times shows, with DJ Kool and DJ Skillz, packed the club (and the dance floor) to capacity. The chance to hear popular DJs from the region has attracted enthusiastic crowds ready to dress up and get down.

Though he tours all over the region, this will be Chuck T’s first time in our fair mountain city. When asked what he knew about Asheville, Chuck T says he hears there isn’t much of a hip-hop scene here, with no nightclubs or radio stations dedicated to the genre.

Still, “I’m looking forward to performing in Asheville,” Chuck T says. “It’s always a learning experience when I go to a town for the first time. I’ve played all of the big cities and know what to expect in those places, but when I go to smaller towns I find that’s when I really get to test my skills as a DJ and my ability to read a the crowd.” In addition to spinning a mix of underground and more commercial Southern hip-hop during his set, Chuck T will (of course) have his mix tapes available for sale at the show.

Though currently based in Charlotte, Chuck T grew up in Charleston, S.C., and got his start rapping under the name Priest. Though he was finding success as a rapper, Chuck T was frustrated by a lack of support from Charleston radio stations and DJs. Motivated by this frustration, Chuck T changed his focus from being a performer to being a DJ. After a short stint as an on-air radio DJ, he began putting all of his energy into creating and selling mixtapes featuring artists he believed in. He started out burning CDs on his mom’s computer and writing the labels by hand, and has gone on to build an entertainment empire he claims grossed over $2 million last year.

Over the course of his career, Chuck T has been nominated for more than 60 awards, and has won quite a few, including “Best New Mixtape DJ” at the 10th Annual Justo’s Mixtape Awards as well as nine Southern Entertainment Awards. He’s been featured on MTV’s Mixtape Mondays and in Hip Hop Weekly’s “Mixtape Kings” section multiple times.

Chuck T is currently the subject of a documentary being made by Quad Dub Films, Building Blocks of an Empire: The Chuck T Story.

— Ami Worthen can be reached at amiworthen@yahoo.com.

who: DJ Chuck T (with DJ Twan)
where: Emerald Lounge
when: Thursday, June 16 (9 p.m. $10. http://www.sociallifetimes.com and http://www.sociallifetimes.com)

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