Today, anyone with $500 can buy a box of software and become a DJ, and most people have. Their Honda Elements clog the parking lots of Guitar Centers nationwide. A Performer like DJ SK, on the other hand, is of a dying breed—and there weren’t many to begin with. For over a decade, the indefatigable performer has established some of the region’s most successful parties, championed a generation of local artists, and invested heavily in the musical culture in his community.Born Jodi Kimball, SK caught the DJ bug early on, thanks to an unlikely scratch tutorial on Sesame Street. Acquiring turntables soon after acquiring a driver’s license, SK was reared in hip-hop at its arguable precipice, gleaning mix-tape tutorials from prime-time tastemakers like Ron G and Tony Touch. Others, from Funk Master Flex to A-Track, would come along, each lending a hand in shaping SK’s technically exceptional manner of mixing.

Behind the turntables, SK has shared the stage with the likes of the Wu-Tang Clan, KRS-One, and Common, not just as an opener, but also as an ambassador for the Carolinas—a liaison between his idols and his peoples. His parties and their respective playlists have a certain sophistication that makes them hard to ignore, regardless of your musical background. Kimball’s lengthy tenure in party rocking makes him unrivaled in song selection; when he plays a particular title, rest assured he has played that song dozens of times in hundreds of situations, and can gauge the approximate reaction it will illicit from any given crowd. He knows it’s not just the right songs, but effective sequencing of new music and good music that helps his sets achieve an effect greater than the sum of the individual songs.

Aside from the inherent duties of the modern disc jockey, Kimball hosted one of the state’s longest running hip-hop nights, where rap legends like Camp Lo and R&B luminaries K-Ci and Jo Jo had been known to pass through, as supporters and performers. His well-attended and highly regarded series, Money, Power, Moves, Respect, celebrated hip-hop as an art form, creating a platform and audience for break-dancers and graffiti artists alike. His consistency and imaginative programming caught the attention of Red Bull, who enlisted SK to represent the Carolinas as a point man for their music academy, which pairs new talent with independent music heavyweights for an annual, all-expenses-paid workshop. His tenure in the state’s hip-hop community was recently cosigned by the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where in the Spring of 2013 he became DJ in residence, aiding and abetting Professor Mark Katz’s in his innovative course, Art and Culture of the DJ. A natural mentor, SK has also served as the lead instructor for Winston-Salem State University’s annual Hip-Hop is Reality summit, establishing himself in the burgeoning field of hip-hop academia.

When SK is not DJing, he is often out and about, supporting his sprawling network of musical friends, who range from rockers to rappers, disc jockeys to jazzers. In the ecosystem that is the North Carolina music scene, SK knows that balance must be achieved for all organisms to thrive. It is through his reinvestment in his musical community that, not only will North Carolina remain a sustainable place for club owners and musicians alike, but that SK will retain a respectable market share, ensuring that our collective future runs smoothly.

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