Hispanic Heritage Series
Part II of VI
Local DJ continues to hone his skills and deliver
Denver has its range of celebrities. From artists to musicians, actors to professional athletes many individuals born in or around the Mile High City have made their mark here and around the world. One of those celebrities continues to hone and display his talents on a regular basis, while also delivering a message of positivity and hope to his audience. He is DJ Chonz aka Mario Rodriguez.
“I want to be the best that I can be everyday,” said Chonz who can be heard regularly at Invesco Field at Mile High during Denver Broncos’ games. “If that is being the best husband, father, son, brother and friend, I want to be that. If it’s being the best business owner, co-worker, colleague or coach, I want to be that.”
As his statement would reflect, Chonz wears multiple hats, which keeps him on the move constantly. His love of hip-hop – a gift he received from his older brother Fienz – is what originally got him into the field of DJ. As a 15-year-old he would wake at 7 am and find himself spinning records until 3 am, because he had found his place.
“In 1993 my brother and I were reintroduced to the hip hop culture, which included, MC-ing, graffiti, B-boying and DJ-ing,” Chonz said. “I wasn’t any good at any elements, yet DJ-ing is where I seemed to find my niche. I learned DJ-ing from watching local DJ greats such as Hen-G and listening to actual mixtapes from Jam-X. I studied what they did and tried to emulate their skills.”
The endless hours of study and practice paid off as Chonz won a local DJ competition in 1996 and went on to complete in multiple mix events and championships. After creating the Radio Bums Mixtape Show with Francois Baptiste and Kingdom, he became the first on-air mixer at KS107.5.
Getting paid to DJ gigs and working alongside hip-hop legends like Wu-Tang Clan, A Tribe Called Quest and De La Soul, one could say Chonz had it made, but he knew that to get the best out of himself, education was key.
“I think we have to sharpen our skills no matter your profession,” he said. “I’m always trying to learn something new and I embrace being taught. I went back to CU Denver while I was on the No. 1 rated afternoon show in Denver to pursue my graduate certificate in public relations. No one made me do it, I pushed myself out of my comfort zone to learn something new.”
Chonz is one class away from completing that goal. He is also helping to pave the way for others to achieve similar heights.
“I understand some kids are not in a position to attend a university or a college in general,” Chonz said. “That is why I teamed up with the College of Arts and Media at CU Denver to offer a scholarship for the fourth year that is endowed under ‘DJ Chonz’ to the Denver Summer Music Industry Program.”
As a father, husband and local celebrity, Chonz said he realizes his voice and opinions can carry a lot of weight, particularly in a divided nation.
“I was saddened when my 11-year-old daughter asked her mom if she was going to have to go back to Mexico when Trump won,” he said of the Election Day results. “It’s hard to have adult conversations with such young children. Yet we shower them with love and set an example in our household to be positive.”
That positivity rings true for his audience as well.
“The message I try to convey is happiness to my audience,” he said. “You can forget about all your problems for a couple of hours and enjoy the musical journey.”
To find where DJ Chonz will be performing his next musical journey visit www.djchonz.com or www.facebook.com/djchonz
Reprinted from 11/16/16 Edition.