Born on December 16, 1976 in St. Louis, MO and raised in East St. Louis IL, James Gates aka DJ Needles actually stumbled into deejaying in 1994 by doing house parties with tapes and cds. Needles’ brother asked if he’d do the party for his friend knowing he had tons of tapes full of the best Hip Hop and R&B music from recording off the radio. From there he went on to do more house parties, small high school functions and youth events and began to build a name around his hometown of East St. Louis and surrounding areas. In 1997, Needles got a job at Vintage Vinyl (St. Louis Landmark Record Store) and was surrounded by so many dope, rare and “gotta-have” records, he became a collector and began learning to mix. Shortly thereafter in 1998, Needles released his first mixtape entitled “98 Fresh Mix Tape” featuring music from Pete Rock, A Tribe Called Quest and Black Star. The next year, radio personality Deja Vu recruited Needles to commercial radio, offering him a specialty mixshow as a platform to expose underground and classic Hip Hop music. During the past decade, Needles has been exposed to many different genres in his hometown of St Louis and while in Dallas, Chicago, Atlanta and New York. Needles’ appreciation for good, significant music runs deep and he expresses that wherever he deejays.
Needles often refers to his style as polyrhythmic; many different styles as one fresh sound. When Needles performs you are likely to hear Rare Groove, Deep Funk, Afro Beat, True School Hip Hop and R&B, Raw Soul, Dusty Jazz, Breakbeat and Nu Soul.
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