DJ Kemit

DJ Kemit

Official Biography (courtesy of DJ Kemit)

While some claim to be a jack of all trades, DJ Kemit is blessed to be a master of more than one.

As a DJ, he weaves a sonic tapestry of house music standards, rare soul grooves, Afrobeat or hip-hop classics that have been making party-goers and tastemakers call him Atlanta’s best for nearly 30 years.

But it’s his work as a producer that has established him as an artist who combines all the genius of the music he spins to create a unique sound that is as refined and authoritative as the man himself.

When Kemit, better known to family as Kevin Hyman, saw a fellow 12-year-old boy DJing, that was it. He’d found his future. Although his first record was “Planet Rock” by Afrika Bambaataa and the Soulsonic Force, the disco and house music blasting from Chicago’s airwaves managed to reach his hometown of Milwaukee and is the music he first learned to mix.

Years later, shortly before graduating from Howard University, his high-school friend – now named Speech and co-founder of Arrested Development – invited Kemit to join him. That would be his first step onto the international scene, first as the group’s production manager, then as the DJ.

In 1996, Kemit left AD, but not without recognition for his production work on the group’s Grammy-nominated second album, Zingalamaduni. He continued DJing as a guest for household names such as Prince, Janet Jackson, Steve Harvey, Jane Fonda, Jermaine Dupree and Bryan Michael Cox, and as a touring collaborator in locations as far flung as Oslo and Tokyo. He also gained notoriety for his residencies at the legendary FunkJazz Kafe during its 13-year run, and with the National Black Arts Festival in his current hometown of Atlanta.

His most recent event productions – Spread Love, Kickin Up Dust and Soul Makossa – were created to give Kemit complete creative and branding control. The risks have returned big payoffs: capacity-level crowds and Spread Love ranked among the Southeast’s most popular parties.

But all of that is just one half of the story. As a producer, Kemit finds a way to draw even more emotion from already heart-touching songs, or bump just enough bounce into surprising dancefloor steppers.

His most recent hit was as producer and co-writer on “4Evermore,” Anthony David’s single that landed at No. 1 on the Billboard Urban Adult Contemporary charts. But years before, he and Justin Chapman, aka Just One, formed production duo KemeticJust, creating lauded soul and house music for labels such as King Street, Nite Grooves, Yoruba Records, Giant Step, Diaspora Recordings, Wave Music, Bombay Records and Play Records.

During that time, he was also a founding member of the Chronicle, Yin Yang Café’s famous house band that backed would-be superstars such as India.Arie in the mid-’90s.

Inevitably, Kemit connected with like-minded artists who found a home at Yin Yang and became a producer for DATBU, a hip-hop trio led by bassist Divinity – who later became Beyonce’s touring bass player. DATBU self-released Fool Proof in 1997 and opened for several notable hip-hop acts including the Roots, Guru, Jeru the Damaja, the Rza, Organized Noise, De La Soul, the Pharcyde and the Alkoholics.

He also had a hand in one of Angela Johnson and John-Christian Urich’s most memorable cuts when they performed together as Cooly’s Hot-Box -- “Wasted Time” from the group’s Take It album.

Kemit is consistently referenced among DJs and music lovers – with tastes as varied as Kemit’s collection, from hip-hop to house to drum and bass – as an incredible and influential talent. That’s in addition to balancing family life with the duties of being CEO of Kemit Muzik. In all, he represents the collaborative, creative and conscious soul of music. And to him, if it’s good, it’s all soul music.

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