The Hip-hop `Chronicles'

From Park School to the MC life, DJ Goldrocc has come a long way quickly

February 15, 2007|By Sam Sessa | Sam Sessa,Sun Reporter

Baltimore native Ben Goldstein got his first real taste of the music industry in high school.

About six years ago, Goldstein interned at Morgan State University's radio station.

"I love DJ'ing and music," he said. "That made me think that's what I want to do."

Now, Goldstein, also known as DJ Goldrocc, runs the hip-hop label Sound- chron Records. He has worked with renowned producer Ayatollah, and released one of Ayatollah's instrumental albums, Listen, last year. The label's latest album, Sound Chronicles Volume 1, comes out internationally on Tuesday, and the free CD release party is Sunday at the GoodLove Bar in Canton.

Goldstein was raised in Charles Village and Mount Washington. After graduating from the Park School in 2000, he enrolled in Pitzer College in Claremont, Calif. There, he DJ'ed house parties and college events a couple of times a week. Though he wasn't making much money, the prestige factor was enough to convince him he had a shot as a professional DJ. He took a semester off and moved to New York City.

"I was kind of high on myself," Goldstein said. "I was doing pretty well DJ'ing out there, and I was like, `You know what? I'm going to New York, and I'm going to make it.'"

Though Goldstein didn't immediately make it in New York City, he did make a valuable contact. A mutual friend introduced him to Ayatollah, who has worked with Mos Def, Ghostface Killah, Talib Kweli and others. The two became close friends.

"We used to spend days walking around Brooklyn -- whole days -- digging through crates, looking for that old soul, the funk, the samples, man," Goldstein said. "He used to show me a lot of records, like, `You've got to check this out; there are a lot of samples on here.'"

Goldstein moved back to the West Coast to finish his degree in political science ("Not gonna use that," he said). Then, he decided to pursue his love of hip-hop and start a label of his own. Ayatollah's instrumental album Listen was one of the first releases.

The next big project was Sound Chronicles Volume 1. Goldstein and Ayatollah both produced tracks for the album. It features East and West Coast MCs such as M*E, Planet Asia, Imam Thug and Cormega. Goldstein loves the West Coast rappers' laid-back vibe -- especially the feeling Planet Asia brings to the CD.

"That's a true MC," Goldstein said of Planet Asia. "This guy is a beast. Any track, he just tears it up -- the energy, the delivery. All those West Coast guys, the energy, the delivery, the vibe -- the party vibe out there. I like that."

This year, Goldstein plans to release albums featuring Imam Thug and M*E. Mobb Deep might be on one of them, he said. As Soundchron picks up speed, Goldstein is relishing the opportunity to release more work by these MCs, he said.

"It's just good hip-hop," he said.

The CD release party for Sound Chronicles Volume 1 is 10 p.m.-2 a.m. Sunday at GoodLove Bar, 2322 Boston St. Free. For more information about the label, go to soundchron.com.

sam.sessa@baltsun.com

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