DJ Felli Fel Explains Assembling Juicy J, Cee Lo & Pitbull For Have Some Fun
Exclusive: DJ Felli Fel weighs on the ingredients for a summer hit, recalls wild times with Puff Daddy and makes a case for longevity in Hip Hop.
While providing the sound for the greater Los Angeles area—and by extension potential listeners across the globe—Felli Fel has seemingly seen and heard it all. His humble beginnings, which he describes as “screwing off as a kid deejaying” have led him to a role as a personality at one of the area’s leading radio stations in KPWR “Power” 106 along with a handful of releases featuring the likes of Kanye West, Diddy, Lil Jon Jermaine Dupri and Pitbull. Aside from providing both further insights on what keeps the people moving, his A-list rolodex doubles as a fun way to make music with friends he’s been running with for decades. If you need proof, look no further than his latest single, the Pitbull, Cee Lo and Juicy J-assisted, “Have Some Fun,” which premiered on Billboard.com in April. Felli Fels stable of high profile collabos has just been further boosted by Steve Aoki’s remix to the aforementioned “Have Some Fun.”
“I can’t even tell you how lucky I am to have such an amazing record but a summertime record,” Felli Fel gushed while speaking exclusively to HipHopDX on the set of the “Have Some Fun” video. “A lot of it is timing too. This record’s come out at a really good time, and like I said just the combination of the artist and the sound of the music makes it for the summertime type anthem.”
Environment doesn’t hurt either. With an abundance of liquor and scantily clad women around their Woodland Hills, California location, it wasn’t particularly difficult for Felli Fel, Cee Lo and Juicy J to obey the song’s command and “Have Some Fun.” Given his history with Three 6 Mafia and Puff Daddy, maybe it’s a case of art imitating life. But Felli Fel can tell you those stories much better than any song.
Why Felli Fel Says, “Longevity Is Everything.”
HipHopDX: You’ve worked as a radio personality and as an artist, what do you think of deejays and other personalities expanding into reality TV?
Felli Fel: Well, I would never personally do reality TV, but I guess we’re kinda doing it right now. I mean as far as deejays getting involved in that, it’s awesome. I’d be a hypocrite if I said I had something against that, but before I got into radio I was deejaying house parties and just screwing off as a kid deejaying and got lucky and got into radio. And then radio catapulted my deejay career and my career as a producer, so it kinda works hand-in-hand. So I’m 110% all for it, and we get to be around a bunch of beautiful ladies.
DX: On this song you’re working with Pitbull and his connections go back to 2 Live Crew. And then you got Cee Lo and Juicy J who have both been in the game for two decades plus. What does it say about the importance of longevity when it comes to making a song that will appeal to the masses?
Felli Fel: Longevity is everything. I try to do songs and produce music that I feel like is gonna be around for a long time. I hope that some of the songs that I’ve done are here when my kids have kids. I think part of it is just not conforming to what’s going on for that moment. I think I’m influenced by the sound that’s going on right now, and I’ll be influenced by the sound that’s going on years from now, but I try to do stuff that I feel is gonna be here for a minute.
DX: “Have Some Fun” has the vibe of a summer anthem, and when you think of summer classics like “Summertime” or “93 ‘Til Infinity” what do you think are the ingredients of a summer classic?
Felli Fel: A summer classic can be a lot of things. It’s the feel of the music, and I think the track and the hook obviously dictate any song. In this case you got a fun, upbeat record. I mean it literally says, “Have Some Fun.” It’s just got a feel good melody going on, and then you mix somebody like Cee Lo, Pitbull and Juicy J, that’s party all over it. You got “Mr. Worldwide,” Pitbull and Cee Lo murdered this hook for me. It’s incredible how this record turned out, and I can’t even tell you how lucky I am to have such an amazing record but a summertime record. A lot of it is timing too. This record’s come out at a really good time, and like I said, just the combination of the artist and the sound of the music makes it for the summertime type anthem.
Felli Fel Juicy J & Pusha T Positioning Themselves To Succeed
DX: When you come up with a track do you already have the artist in mind that it’s for or do you throw the track out there first?
Felli Fel: I never try to figure out what artist is gonna be on my next song until I have the track finished, because I feel like the music dictates who’s on it. I’ll finish a record and say, “Ah man it would be dope if Trey Songz was on this,” or, “It would be dope if Juicy J was on this.” That’s what I did with this record. I finished the record with The Futuristics—shout out to Alex and Joe—and I sat back and played with it for a second. The first thing I tried to determine on the record was who would sound good on the hook, and in this case it was Cee Lo all day. So he did the hook, it came out amazing and second was Pitbull—that was the next person I heard on this record. [Pitbull] actually did his part from Barcelona. He liked the record so much. He was super excited about it, and he knocked it out overseas. If I’m not mistaken he did it in a hotel room. And then Juicy…I sent it to Juicy and Juicy went crazy over this record. And that’s exciting for me when I see an artist get excited about something that little old me has done. Juicy was so excited, he called me multiple times and said, “Do we need to change anything?” And we did. I put him through the ringer. On the end of his verse, we changed it probably four or five times until we got that ending right
DX: Guys like Juicy J and Pusha T are getting treated like new artists even though they’ve been in the game for a minute. Why do you think that is happening now whereas in the past it was almost impossible?
Felli Fel: I think these guys are getting opportunities and recognition, and a lot more people are feelin’ them now or as much as they were back then. In Juicy’s case—when he was and still is with Three 6 Mafia the whole Hypnotize Minds camp, which I’ve been a fan of for years, even before I knew Juicy. Back then, Pusha T was doing Clipse, and now here they are more relevant than they ever have been. I think that goes to positioning themselves right. I think Juicy is a very smart guy, Pusha as well. I think these things kinda happened organically for them. People can say Pusha aligned himself with Kanye, but I think that just happened organically. And Juicy, just being hungry. I think some sounds tend to be cyclical, and I think the sound that was in really fit Juicy. In a lot of ways he was ahead. He’s a pioneer man, and pioneers don’t go away.
Felli Fel Recalls Partying With Puff Daddy & Naomi Campbell
DX: I wanted to see if you had any great Hollywood stories, like Chappelle’s Rick James stories?
Felli Fel: Actually I got one pertaining to Juicy J and DJ Paul. When Three 6 Mafia first moved out here to LA, they had the big TV show. I was one of the only people that they knew out here, so they would call me and say, “Hey Fel, we hangin’ out.” I used to go to their crib, and we used to just get smashed—like tore down, tore up from the floor up. One night we were in the studio probably at like midnight; they had a studio at their crib, and I think we probably didn’t go to sleep until like 10 in the morning. Juicy passed out, and Paul ended up going to sleep with his girl, but that was just one of the many memories I had of these guys. I’m thinking to myself, “Man, these dudes. I’ve known ‘em for so long now they got this crazy show, and I’m in their house in Hollywood and we’re having the time of our lives.”
Another quick story. P. Diddy called me one time when he got to town, and he was like, “Fel I want you to come over, we’re having a little get together.” He sends me this address, and I don’t know where I’m going. All I know is I’m going to meet Puff. I get to this crib in Beverly Hills. This light skinned chick answers the door, I walk in and I’m with a friend of mine. We hang out all night with Puff. The owner of Ralph’s grocery store was there along with some other random people. At the end of the little get together, this kinda short white guy was leaving, and Puff was like, “Yo Fel did you meet John Lennon’s son?” I was like, “What?” So in my mind I’m thinking I just hung out with John Lennon’s son, Puff and the owner of Ralph’s grocery store. Then me and my girlfriend at the time get in the car and she was like, “Man that’s crazy.” I’m like, “Right? We hung out with the owner of Ralph’s, Puff Daddy and John Lennon’s son, and she was like “Yeah, Naomi Campbell’s house.” I didn’t realize that was who opened the door for us when we got there.