DJ Hesta Prynn has taken the world by storm - first as a member of all girl hip-hop group Northern State and now as a solo DJ. But that's not all there is to this fiesty female. She was also the face of Daryl K's Spring 2011 collection, she hosts a show for The Logo Channel, and even has her own column for Paper, called '5 n 5.' She has worked with some of the biggest names in the music biz, such as Questlove, Cypress Hill, and has opened for Fabolous, Kelis, and Frank Ocean. We got the chance to chat with this busy bee on the not so intricate meaning behind her name, how she got into DJing, and her dream collaborations. Check it out!
I love your name - it is obviously based on The Scarlet Letter. Why did you choose this name?
This is how I chose my MC name*: Drunk Northern State Bandmate: OMG WE WANT TO START A GIRL BEASTIE BOYS AND WE WANT YOU TO BE IN IT!!
Drunk Hesta Prynn: OMG DON'T NAME IT SOMETHING OVER-THE-TOP FEMINIST LIKE "HESTA PRYNN" or something!
Drunk NSB: OMG THAT'S YOUR MC NAME!!!!
*based on a true story
That's hilarious. How did you first get into DJing?
Northern State toured with The Roots all over the world and I got to spend a lot of time with DJ/producers like Questlove, Pete Rock and Muggs. They all have big vinyl libraries and I was always interested in how they sampled vinyl to create elements of songs we were working on. These guys were very generous as far as teaching me things. I love the dorky, techie aspect of DJing as well as the encyclopedic collector aspect of it, it just all really spoke to my personality. When the band went on a final hiatus, I started DJing for fun and pretty soon it turned into a career.
How does it differ working in a group (Northern State) versus being a solo artist?
In a group, you get to build off the energy of the other members - you inspire one another whether through encouragement or competition and I find that to be a very positive thing which I really miss. However, as a solo artist you make all of your own decisions. When things go wrong it’s on you, but when things go right it gives you a sense of pride and self-worth that is very different from working in the group.
Who would your dream collaboration be with?
I really like writing for the rappers and pop acts. I’d love the opportunity to rap with some of the new guys: A$AP, Kendrick, Joey Badass. I would love to work with DJ Premier. I love what Benny Blanco does and we roll in the same world. Diplo and the Mad Decent crew are killing – I did a collab with Derek “DJA” Allen and it was great. I wrote some hooks for Ultra artists and loved that experience; I’d love to write for some huge Dr. Luke or Guetta tracks, that would be a dream. On the other end of the spectrum, I’ve been meeting with some truly legendary songwriters in the mainstream world - they are talking about bringing me in as a lyricist to help modernize and that is an amazing opportunity that I’m excited about as well.
You also write your own column in Paper. What are some of the coolest things you've been writing about these days?
I love my Paper column! I pair up five things in pop culture with their 90s hip-hop theme songs. So I did the cast from Girls, the five coolest US presidents, etc. It's fun to surprise people with my picks – remind them of jams they love but haven’t heard in awhile.
Do you have any cool projects in the works you can tell us about?
I’m currently producing a large, bracketed charity Ms. Pac-Man tournament at Brooklyn Bowl in April to benefit a children’s hospital. It’s going to have amazing DJ talent and an exhibition portion as well. Stay tuned for that. xo