Guardians of Groove: Get To Know "No Boys Allowed" Late Nite & Kamari Esson
Written by Greg Harris
The Miami Underground scene has always been a fascinating place when it comes to digging into the core of a city's foundation that's built off the youth. From the days of Ashley Outrageous to the times of Yes Julz, Miami has always had a pulse on the mainstream scene when it comes to their behind the scenes influencers and they continue to do so with two bright DJs in South Florida. Late Nite and Kamari Esson have played a unique duo from their humble beginnings with Major118 to cultivate the Miami Night Life scene with their captivating Sunday shindig, "Babygirl", which is held at Coyo Taco in Wynwood and Hot N Fun held at Sidebar.
Continuing their path of innovation, they've crafted another event curated to the ladies of Miami and tourists gals in South Beach, which is called "No Boys Allowed". Coining the name after a vibe they wanted to give ladies exclusively, but the only exception would be if a guy comes with a girl but if he comes alone he shall not get in. It's a witty idea that they brought to forefront with the likes of Spinser Tracy, and Helen of Creative Thirst.
We at Modern Life Mag recently had a chance to speak the Late Nite and Kamari Esson about their thoughts on the scene, their concepts, what inspired their latest event, "No Boys Allowed", and more. Read below.
How's Your Modern Life?
LATE NITE: My life recently I feel has been moving at a consistent pace and has been extremely exciting with everything going on.
KAMARI: Interesting. I'm currently going through a transitional stage in terms of my career and where I would like to be. For the most part, it's great right now.
What are three things you guys have to do when you all wake up?
LATE NITE: Figure out who to call to go eat with. Check email's and all social media's and get some work done. Shower and get my day started.
KAMARI: Brush my teeth. Check my e-mail. Download/Create music.
How has your upbringing in South Florida cultivated your life today?
LATE NITE: Personally I feel like it's a humbling experience growing up in South Florida. Being a creative, we were exposed to such a "do it your self" culture knowing that Miami birthed some of the staple trends in culture today but we also did not have much of a youthful creative surrounding. All we had was the inspiration of our past and motivation of seeing what other cities could do, allowing us to work hard and get ahead ourselves.
KAMARI: I believe that due to its blending of cultures and lifestyles, it's given me a strong sense of identity and helped me cultivate my taste & interests into something that I can use to my benefit in all my endeavors.
Since you all's days of Major 118 to what you all doing now with Babygirl/Hot N' Fun, how do you feel like the Miami Underground Scene has changed?
LATE NITE: I feel like the whole scene has matured. The Major 118 days was a time to experience what Miami had to offer a creative and since then a lot of creatives have stopped pursuing their original goal's. Some have had a complete switch in occupations. The scene has blossomed into something that is a lot more polished and to be taken much more serious.
KAMARI: It's different. I personally feel like more of the unprofessionalism has gone away and those who were unprofessional have as well. You're starting to see more events/parties pop up that are well thought out and planned properly. You're also starting to see more individuals who are serious about what they do/who they are come forward and be present on the scene.
Seeing the transition of influencers go from Ashley Outrageous to YesJulz, it's innovated Miami in a way where you all always stayed ahead of the curve. How do you feel these two impacted the city?
LATE NITE: Ashley in my heart will always be the originator of what I'm exposed to today in Miami as far as a night-life goes. She was innovative and successful early on. Ashley has truly been a tastemaker from the start in Miami.
YesJulz has brought so much attention to Miami which is always a good and bad thing. Her intentions were to put a city on further on the map strictly through her personal taste which I felt left a lot of locals upset. The attention was meant to be capitalized. If Miami had eyes on it; it was our chance to showcase what we have to offer. I just feel there was a much better way to bring the attention to Miami without the over-saturation and outlandish events catering to just trap music.
KAMARI: Ashley has done a lot for the city. She was one of the first individuals to bring down notable artists and give them a space to showcase themselves at a time when literally NO ONE down here was doing so.
YesJulz has given the city a look from her perspective that as an individual living here, you either love or hate. I can't deny that she has put a spotlight on the city within the last 2-3 years that's made visitors/social media take further interest in what we have going on down here.
You all went from rapping to DJing and producing, what influenced the switch up?
LATE NITE: You just grow out of things early on in life and later find a calling somewhere in the same field. Always had a ear for music and always loved seeing a crowd dance until I realized there's better ways of doing so. So instead of making suggestions at a event I just picked up a controller and learned.
KAMARI: Just being interested in different fields. From the early days of rapping, I've been interested in producing and took the initiative to do more research to figure out how to go about it. DJing came from seeing friends pursuing it and just wanting to participate and see if I could attempt it as well.
Along with bringing more vibes to the party, you [LATE NITE] helped created the concept for the swank Sunday event, "Babygirl" which is a curated weekly shindig at Coyo Taco. What influenced the event ?
LATE NITE: I actually over heard a conversation between two friends about an ALL R&B party that caught my interest. At first it seemed impossible to me but once I inquired about joining the party and played my first one it was a wrap. I knew where my talents lied.
After doing that, you guys go along the same line with "No Boys Allowed" with catering it to the ladies. Why are the ladies are such an important asset to your groove of the night?
LATE NITE: Everything at a party revolves around the ladies. Drinks being bought for the ladies, music being played to see the ladies dance. The reason why men dance is due to the ladies. They curate everything fun about a party just by their presence. I just wanted to create a controlled environment for the ladies to feel safe and have true fun one night a month.
KAMARI: Because they essentially determine the night. If they aren't entertained and having fun, it's easy to see and that can throw your entire party off. And that's the last thing anyone would want to happen if you're a DJ.
What are some favorite singles that must be played each time you have a DJ set?
LATE NITE: I love to play Earthquake by Lil Wayne right now. I play Pretty Ricky almost every set. But my true favorite records to play are Breaking My Heart by Mint Condition & Reasons by Earth, Wind & Fire.
KAMARI: I love playing All N My Grill by Missy Elliott. I also have to play either Girls Around The World by Lloyd or D.I.D.D.Y. By Diddy.
What are your 5 commandments you live by being a DJ?
LATE NITE: Learn BPM range. Learn how to play to the energy of the crowd. Don't get ahead of yourself and burn someone's set. Learn how to count bars for transitioning. DJ for the crowd, not for yourself.
KAMARI: BE ON TIME! Have your cues set up. Never stop building your library. Always read the crowd and never lose control of them. Have fun (most important).
What are the three unique aspects of being a South Florida DJ?
LATE NITE: The fact that Miami has been a party city for ages and we've build a certain skill set that sets a standard for DJing. We couldn't go into DJing playing whatever we wanted and expect to be booked at venues. We're forced to have the skill set and earn our reputation in Miami no matter who you are as a person. The skill set is an absolute necessity. The city builds good DJs.
KAMARI: Being able to grab influences from different cultures/lifestyles, you're given a wide array of different selections to chose from. The parties & crowds are never the same so you always have to be on your toes in terms of what you play. Being able to add my own unique style/taste in that would differentiate me from other DJ's.
What are three things you all want to accomplish this year?
LATE NITE: Tour. DJ out the country. Run a successful party of my own.
KAMARI: Secure a production placement. Get a full DJ set up. Build my reputation more as a Producer/DJ.
How do you all want to be remembered?
LATE NITE: 32, with a tight ass toy collection I spent too much money on.
KAMARI: As an individual who was great at what they do.