_"Home of the Underground Family" the slogan behind Poji Records, put together back in 92 by Baltimore's own DJs Pope & Oji. Dedicated to quality Soulful/Gospel House vocals and tracks, which showcases some of Baltimore's/DC's brightest producers/artists. Here we feature DJ Pope one half of the production team "Brothers In The Struggle." Starting off in Chicago DJ Pope used to open up several times for Frankie Knuckles at C.O.D. in the mid eighties(80's). He eventually moved to Baltimore to attend Morgan State University, where he met production partner DJ Oji. There he received a degree in Radio Broadcasting, and started a radio mix show called "Back On The Blick." Later in 91 with partner Oji they formed the production team of "Brothers In The Struggle," known for their various releases on Emotive and Strictly Rhythm.
e909st_When did you first get into house music?
DJ Pope_"I began playing house in 1979."
What was the difference in Baltimore as compared to Chicago in regards to the music being played when you first moved there?
"In Chicago, right when I left in '84, that was the time when house music was booming. When I came to Baltimore, house music was new. So, it was different because it was new. It wasn't new to me because that was all I had been playing since I started DJing. Another difference was in Chicago, we played a lot of '70's R&B music along with the house music, as when I came to Baltimore, the '70's music wasn't as prevalent as it is in Chicago."
Are you still involved in radio?
"No, not at this present time. I am taking a break from radio since I have been in radio since 1988 doing a mix show for 13 years."
How and when did Brothers in the Struggle come about?
"The Brothers in the Struggle (B.I.T.S.) is DJ Oji and myself. That name came about when we recorded as B.I.T.S. our first record titled, "Come Together" on Emotive Records in 1991."
When was POJI records founded?
"POJI Records was founded in 1995."
What is the message behind POJI Records?
"POJI Records name originated from the first 2 initials of my last name and the first 2 initials of Oji's first name. We started POJI Records as an outlet to be able to put out music that we believed in that other labels didn't as well as to be able to showcase local talent. This gave local artists a means to be heard and listened too."
What release on the label has gotten the best response?
"Well, there are a few of POJI releases that have received great response. "The Original Man" by DJ Oji received a lot of club play across the country. "Watching You" featuring the vocals by Una and "More Love" featuring the vocals by Ed Ramsey, both produced by myself, received worldwide attention by being licensed to Cause-N-Effect Records out of Germany. Also, Sam Burns' release "House Music Can No Longer Be Commercial Free" received worldwide accolades as well."
How would you describe the sound for the label?
"I would say the sound of POJI is a little bit of this and a little bit of that. Soulful, deep, and sometimes hard. That is the POJI sound."
Favorite residency and why?
"My favorite residency right now is Club Red in Washington, DC. The reason why I say that is there is no discrimination on the type of house music I play and when I play it as long as it is good house music. I also have 2 other residencies, the Sanctuary (Washington, DC) and POJI's Groove at the Paradox (Baltimore, MD)."
Favorite places to play at?
"The Paradox is one of my favorite places to play because of the whole DJ setup. The 3 turntables, the cross over, the Urie mixer, and the 60,000 watts of power. A DJ's playground."
"I would have to say the Masters At Work because of their sound and their ability to consistently produce quality, soulful music. Another DJ/Producer that I admire and respect that sometimes get overlooked is Tommy Musto."
How would you describe the music you play?
"I describe my music as being lyrically influenced, soulful and deep, and educational."
What do you love most about DJing?
"What I like most about DJing is when I am able to play a song that can pierce the innermost part of a person's being and be able to see the reaction from this thing we call house music."
Where would you say do you get the best reception to the kind of music you play?
"I would have to say Club Red. Red is a melting pot of people from all walks of life, all colors and creed. There's no fashion walkway. There's no face being played. It is all about the music."
Spots/nights/clubs in Baltimore that you are feeling?
Artists/producers you're feeling as of late?
"Masters At Work, Jazz and Groove, Nathan Haines, Kerri Chandler, and Spen and Karisma."
What productions/remixes are you working on?
"I just finished working on a song titled, "America at War (Freedom)" which will be out late March on Yellorange Records. I also have a tune titled, "More Love" that was licensed to Cause-N-Effect that will be out late March. I am currently working on 2 new projects from Una and Sheila Ford."
Most memorable moment on the dance floor?
"This was 1989-90 at the Zanzibar (New Jersey) during the New Music Seminar. This was my first introduction to hearing Tony Humphries playing live. I stood there in awe watching how he just worked that system and the people on the dance floor. Right then and there I knew my hunger for the knowledge of DJing had a ways to go."
Come Together - Emotive Records - Brothers In The Struggle*
Prayin - Strictly Rhythm - Brothers In The Struggle*
Turn My Life Around - MicMac - Imani
Spirit - Cutting Records - DJ Pope f/ Marti
What's it all About - Cutting Records - N.C.O.P. project*
Sell My soul - Shelter Records - DJ Pope f/ Marti
Tracks From The Vatican - Downtown 161 - DJ Pope
Tracks From The Vatican II - Cajual - DJ Pope
No Time to Waste - Cajual Records - DJ Pope*
In The House - Cutting Records - DJ Pope f/ Ed Ramsey*
Help Me - Soundmen On Wax - DJ Pope f/ Ed Ramsey*
Little Bit Of This, Little Bit Of That - Cajual - B.I.T.S.*
Little Bit Of This, Little Bit Of That - Ministry Of Sound - B.I.T.S.*
I Need You - Black Vinyl - DJ Pope f/ Marti
Your Love - Poji Records - Marti St. Michaels*
Yearning For Love - Look At You - B.I.T.S.*
Waymaker - Look At You - DJ Pope f/ Ron Carroll*
In My Arms - YellOrange - Voices From The Vatican
In And Out Of Love - Poji Records - David Crawford
Watching You - Poji Records - DJ Pope f/ Una *
Watching You - CNF Records Germany -DJ POPEf/Una*
More Love - Poji Records - DJ Pope f/ Ed Ramsey
More Love - CNF Records Germany - DJ Pope f/ Ed Ramsey(soon to be released)
Holdin On - Silk Entertainment Records - B.I.T.S.**
Moody - Blacvinyl Records - DJ Pope f/ Sheila Ford**
Hmm Hmm - Baltimore House-ing Authority - Poji records
Go Sister Soul Sister unreleased mix - Baltimore-Chicago-Phoenix Proj. - Poji Records
Gotta Feel the Music - Baltimore House-ing Authority II - Poji Records
America at War - YellOrange - Voices for Freedom **soon to be released 03-02
Vernessa Mitchell - Higher - Silk Entertainment Records(unreleased)
Tramine Hawkins - Bye His Strength - Gospo Centric Records
India Irie - Brownskin - unreleased
DJ Pope & Una - In My Arms - Yellorange
PJ001 - Dj Oji : Original Man
PJ002 - David Crawford : In and Out of Love (produced by Dj Pope)
PJ003 - Dj Oji : OjiDisco
PJ004 - Nardie Adams : Would You Die for It (produced by Dj Oji)
PJ005 - Marti St. Michaels : The Luv Track (Your Love) (produced by B.I.T.S.)
PJ006 - Baltimore House-ing Authority Vol. 1 : Charles Dockins, B.I.T.S., Dj Feelgood, Spensane
PJ007 - Baltimore Washington Project : Sam Burns, 95 North, Dj Mandrill, Dj Pope, Dj Oji
PJ008 - Dj Oji : Set Our Souls on Free (Vibe of House)
PJ009 - Dj Pope featuring Una : Watching You
PJ010 - Baltimore - Chicago - Phoenix EP : featuring BITS (Baltimore), Dj Greg Cash (Chicago), introducing Saint (Urbanite Recordings:Phoenix)
PJ011 - The Baltimore House-ing - Authority Vol 2 : Soul Providers, Charles Dockins, DJ Oji, B.I.T.S.
PJ012 - Dj Pope featuring Ed Ramsey : More Love
PJ013 - Dj Oji featuring Stay-J: Jus' Rock Me b/w Its gonna happen
PJ014 - The Baltimore House-ing Authority Vol. 3 : DJ Cool Chuck, DJ Buzzard, DJ Pope, DJ Oji