DJ Rap

[MUSIC] On any given day you can find me strolling down Front Street with my headphones on, listening to sweet, simple sounds like Yo La Tengo or maybe Ben Harper. I’m a slow-paced girl and that’s how I like my music to be. House or drum ‘n bass music has never held that much of an appeal to me. In fact, I doubt I had ever listened to an entire song until last week when circumstance drew my attention to DJ Rap.  

I fancy myself an open-minded person, entirely willing to try new things. So I went and picked up
Propa Classics, Volume 1
, released in 2001. When I popped it in, the mood in the room changed and the conversation seemed to ebb and flow in sync with the rhythm. It was intense and visceral. If my life had a soundtrack, this record would’ve totally been playing that time I got lost in the woods a couple years ago.

I was to speak with her—who also goes by the name Charissa Saverio—the following day and I was curious to see how this enigmatic voice drowning in a thousand beats would seem to me on a plain old Tuesday afternoon. I called her at about nine o’clock, interrupting
Law & Order
 to my embarrassment. She said she didn’t mind—she was just winding down from her day.

“I wake up at about nine everyday,” she said. “Have a spot of tea, sit in the sun for a couple minutes then work straight through till nine and chill out to
Law & Order
.”

She was warm. Of course, I find everyone with a British accent warm. She was born to an Italian father and an Irish-Malaysian mother. Her childhood took her all over the world, as her father managed luxury hotels. At one time or another, she’s called Indonesia, Malta and Africa home.

“It was a very sheltered upbringing,” she said. “I spent a lot of time in boarding schools.”

While there, she studied classical piano and horseback riding. Soon the world beyond boarding school began to sparkle. When she was 14, Rap left home to backpack through Greece, Turkey and Europe. She then discovered Europe’s rave scene.

“I basically dedicated my life to being a raver and that was it,” she once said in an interview. “I didn’t have any digs, I lived in a squat.”

It was out of this atypical reality that Charissa Saverio morphed into DJ Rap—a label ownin’, record producin’ world renowned DJ. In an industry that can safely be called predominately male, Rap told me she worked her way in with little difficulty.

“It was easy,” she said, “because I was the first female to do all my own stuff.”

She began playing any beats she could on pirate radio stations. She also gained support from DJ Paul Oakenfold in Ibiza and made a name for herself in the British underground club scene.

Oh, and she’s hot. That’s possibly why Calvin Klein chose her to be part of the 2002 Dirty Denim campaign. But back to the subject at hand…

After about four years of being on the scene, Rap decided to create her own record label in 1992 called Proper Talent. It allowed her to create, produce and record all of her own music out of her apartment office.

“Every album is my favorite to produce,” Rap said. “I get to take my time and enjoy it. I love the technicality of house music and I love how musically advanced drum ‘n bass is.”

Right now DJ Rap is working on her new album,
Bulletproof
, which should come out May 17, followed by a drum ‘n bass tour. In the meantime, she will be visiting our fair island. Call it a working vacation. And for us it’ll be a chance to get out of the house and shake our asses to something other than laid-back acoustics.

I was hesitant at first, too. But don’t be afraid, it should be a nice change. [REESE QUICK]

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