Reed Griffith is a man of many talents. He’s a visual artist and member of Urban Artisty, a DJ and producer, and even an instructor on the finer points of electronic music at the Beat Refinery. In the past couple of years, he has consistently been making both the city and its dance floors move with his high energy blends of Dancehall and Moombahton. This Friday, Reed, who DJs under the name Obeyah, will be manning the decks at the U Street Music Hall tent at the Mad Decent Block Party for what is easily going to be one of the year’s craziest events.
Obeyah is best known as one of the area’s leading masters of Moombahton. This hybrid of House and Reggaeton has lead him to having his work featured by the likes of MTV Iggy, Mad Decent, and Mixmag, and support from DJs like Diplo, Nadastorm, Brodinski, and RL Grime. He’s held DJ residencies in Panama, Boston and DC and shared bills with the likes of Baauer and Flosstradamus.
As a DJ, he approaches his sets with a turntablist mentality, having gotten his intro to DJing after seeing a DMC competion at the Black Cat. He says, “I like doing things wrong, like putting my hands on a record when it’s on the turntable to make it sound different from the song that’s already there, or taking an Electro track and slowing it down to 108 bpm. ” This knack for discovery lends itself well towards his DJ sets, instilling them with an energy and diversity that sets Obeyah apart as one of the area’s leading tastemakers.
Obeyah hails from Arlington, VA, and when asked how the DMV has influenced his music, he responds, “Not in any particular order–Baltimore Club, Chesapeake crabs, the graffiti scene here in the late 90’s, DJ Hut!!!, 99.1 WHFS when they played rave tunes after 1 am–so much more though. It’s cool watching a city evolve and change.”