Being a jack of various trades can be one’s ace in the hole that affords ample opportunities to scatter seeds across fertile ground. Just ask DJ Whoo Kid, who has built a kingdom so vast, it rivals the towering project buildings that stand guard over his native Queens, New York stomping grounds.
Obsessive Hip-Hop historians may recall Whoo Kid’s late ’90s run as a burgeoning force on New York City’s mixtape circuit, but many were introduced to him through his affiliation with 50 Cent and G-Unit. Serving as the host of landmark street releases 50 Cent Is the Future (2002), No Mercy, No Fear (2002), God’s Plan (2002), and Automatic Gunfire, Whoo Kid’s harrowing DJ drop was inescapable in the early 2000s.
That organic buzz—along with 50 Cent fulfilling his promise as a Hip-Hop behemoth with the multi-platinum success of his 2003 debut Get Rich or Die Tryin’—placed the Haitian sensation in an enviable position. Many of his peers strived to headline arenas and stadiums across the globe, yet, DJ Whoo Kid’s radar remained fixated on higher heights.
Fast forward two decades and DJ Whoo Kid’s hunger for more remains. But he’s since proved his ambitions of transcending the world of Hip-Hop and placing his imprint on various sectors of entertainment and culture around the world. Having branched off from the roles traditionally thrust onto a DJ, the 47-year-old has become his own entity, making an impact on radio, on the club and party circuit, and elsewhere. After diving into the cannabis lane with a strain of his own, the spinner is inviting all of the smoke when it comes to his refusal of being pigeonholed as a one-trick pony.
VIBE spoke with DJ Whoo Kid about smoke sessions with legendary potheads, earning the trust of boxing legend and podcast cohost Mike Tyson, new music, and more.
You recently introduced Whoodini, your new cannabis strain. How would you describe its reception within the cannabis community thus far?
Well, it started with Mike Tyson because he has his own brand. I co-host his podcast with him, so it started there, but I kind of went elsewhere. I went to Jokes Up because they gave me another deal, which Mike Tyson is still open [to], but I have both of them on deck. And they’re both not exclusive, so the first one is gonna be with Jokes Up. They have Runtz on there like, Coi Leray, and a whole bunch of other people’s weed out there. They combined with me because they booked a tour. I do this residency called Whoo’s House, so it’s an artist you would know, together, killing it. I’ve done it with Snoop, I’ve done it with Swae Lee, Wizkid, a whole bunch of artists, but it’s like in a different part of the country [every time]. It could be overseas. I’ve done it with Wiz Khalifa in Saudi Arabia. Stuff like that, so they kind of understand my touring engagement with radio. So I went with Jokes Up.
How did the opportunity to come up with the Whoodini strain come about and how would you describe your role in the process?
I mean, over the years, hanging with Wiz Khalifa and Snoop Dogg—it helps a lot when you smoke with guys of that caliber. And then, I’m the weird guy. My good friend is Willie Nelson. I hang with Cheech & Chong. Seth Rogen did my show. I’m not a real pothead, but I know what real weed is and the strength and the strain. I understand it by smoking with those guys. If I survive with them, I guess I made it, you know? Not a lot of people could say that they smoked with all the top potheads. And they’re your friends, which is kind of crazy. So it’s just the experience of smoking with them. Because of my relationship with them, I was like, ‘Why not put out my own strain?’ And then, Whoodini came from Snoop Dogg. He was like, “Yo, you need to do like a magical type weed name or something because your name is Whoo Kid.” And then Snoop Dogg gave me the Whoodini name. I was like, “Word?” He said, “Yeah, man, you should tell people when you smoke it, it’s like magic.”
Whoodini is sponsoring a social media campaign that will award $5,000 quarterly to the participants who create the best video promoting the product. How can fans enter?
One of the reasons why I’m sponsored by Jardin in Vegas [is] because I’m not a real pothead. I’m kind of like a regular guy that recreationally smokes weed. I smoke weed casually and when I wanna get high. I choose when I wanna get high and they like that. So many regular people out there aren’t potheads like that. They just smoke weed here and there, and they can regulate.
Jardin’s supported me for the last two, three years, unconditionally. And they do it like, “We’ll back your budget, man. If you want to do an award campaign quarterly, we’ll tally up all the videos.” Either I’ll judge them, or I’ll get like a celebrity pothead to judge the best or funniest [Instagram] Story or Reel or Twitter video. It could be any social media platform video, as long as you’re smoking Whoodini. You just gotta say, “It feels like magic,” then do the [signature] Whoo Kid drop. I don’t care how you put it together, where you’re at, what country. As long as that sh*t is hilarious, [and] it’s $5,000 to the best. And I think you get 200 pre-rolls from Jokes Up, plus $5,000 in cash, and then we’re gonna add more.
You’re a recurring cohost on the Mike Tyson’s Hotboxin Podcast. When did you first meet Tyson and how did your relationship grow from there?
I met Tyson on Sirius XM when I first interviewed him on Shade 45 on my show. And that must’ve been more than 10 years ago, but he’s always been a fan of mixtapes. Even when I first met him, he was like, “Whoo Kid!” Like, we was going crazy (laughs). I met him I think after he got his facial tattoo, so it was like the big news back then. Everybody thought he was crazy, out of his mind, mental, whatever. And he’s such a cool guy that we naturally clicked, and we’ve been friends ever since. I think he was promoting his Adult Swim cartoon on MTV at that time and ever since then, we’ve been hanging. I’ve toured with him overseas, I’ve done parties with him, and then I got cool with his wife. The number one thing is, regardless of what’s going on, you have to be cool with the wife. The wife is like the backbone of Mike Tyson. [If] You’re not cool with her, then I don’t know what to say. So once I got cool with her and she accepted me kind of like in the family, then I was good.
I got interviewed to do the Hot Boxing podcast, and then I think his boy [Fred] Frenchy and his wife was like, “Why don’t Whoo Kid be like a permanent cohost?” They saw how I was so compatible with him and how I can control him, too. ‘Cause when Mike Tyson does shrooms and stuff like that, the rabbit hole can be endless, you know? So I’m the only one who could stop what he’s saying or I can get him out of the hole, and I do it in a cool way. It’s nothing embarrassing about it. If you haven’t been on the Hot Box set, it’s all fun. It’s just the most funniest sh*t.
You started off your career as a DJ, but were ahead of the curve as far as establishing yourself in media and as a personality. Was that always an aspiration or something that was organic?
You know, it’s like anything that comes with Hip-Hop. I kind of upgraded it into the entertainment side where people know me more for other things than Hip-Hop. But in Hip-Hop, you just got to let it choose you in a certain way. I’ve been consistent. I’ve been doing so much stuff and keeping myself out [of] the box. The great Howard Stern, he was like, “Yo, you’re bored with the Hip-Hop sh*t, go to the f**king booking department, where they book all of Hollywood. And tell them you want C, D, and E-list celebrities because we’re not using them. Go over there.”
So I did that for like eight years. It upgraded me into another box in Hollywood where people were like, “Why is this urban Hip-Hop guy interviewing Thor from Avengers? Because for some reason, the Hip-Hop heads weren’t trying to or just couldn’t relate to a [actor like] Chris Pratt coming in. And they’re so urban and Hip-Hop’d out, cliched out, that they won’t even know how to talk to Chris Pratt. But here I am because I’ve done talk radio. I’ve attained that experience of understanding how Hollywood thinks. I just made it cool where they can come on my show and they could talk a different talk because in their world, everything is media trained.
When they come on my show, you could have Robert De Niro. He’ll never talk about, “Oh, I like rims on a car.” Like where would he say that? He’s gonna say that when he comes to the urban side of things. Then he’ll be like, “Yo, I really love the fact that these young kids in music, they really know how to hook up their cars.” You will never hear that story anywhere. So I think me being outside the box, it was created by me letting the entertainment business choose where to put me because of my consistency. It was kind of like fate.
I put myself in and created this out-of-box element where you’re gonna book Whoo Kid for anything. I’ve done country. I did f**king Ric Flair last week, all country music. I’m doing Gronk’s retirement party. I made myself this individual that it makes sense for me to be with these guys. Willie Nelson being on Shade 45, hanging with me all day, it makes sense. And I learned all this from Howard Stern. I did Howard Stern, and I didn’t waste any time. That’s the first thing he told me, “Get out of this stupid box. You don’t wanna be the Black guy in Hip-Hop, you want to be the Black guy in entertainment.” So I said, “I’m gonna be the ni**a Howard Stern (laughs).”
You previously released your single, “MNDS” featuring Benny The Butcher, Dave East, and Nasty C. How did that collaboration come about?
When I linked up with Nasty C, I was like, “Yo, this motherf**cker’s crazy. This guy sounds like he’s from New York.” So I did the mixtape day with him. We got like 23 million streams because we didn’t have time to clear all the f**king producers. He was like, “Yeah, I want to drop this Whoo Kid style,” so we didn’t clear none of the producers. He’s already popular overseas, but they were already excited that I did a mixtape with him. But then from that relationship of doing that tape with him, I was like “Man, let’s use you on this hook that I’m doing because you’re like the hook master.” And then Benny, of course, I’ve always been a fan, and I was in the studio with him knocking out a record and then Drake had texted him, and he asked, “Did you hear the song?” I was like, “What are you talking about?” He plays this f**cking Drake and Benny song, and I was like, “Holy sh*t!” I kind of forced Benny in the studio like right in there after I heard the Drake and Benny song. I was like, “Yo, you’re gonna knock out my song right f**king now!”
Dave East was like the finisher. I’ve always hung out with him. I’ve done shows with him, but I’m also a fan of a lot of his songs. I actually have another record I did with him with Snoop Dogg, but I was like, “Yo, get on this record right here. I know you can murder it, it’s a no-brainer,” and that was it. It was just put together in a simple fashion where it sounds so classic. I leaked it on the radio, [and] everybody’s going crazy. Benny’s dying to do the music video already. So I got an anime company to hook up the video. Shout out to Capcom and all those guys. They’re gonna make it like a real anime video, so we’re gonna see if it’s gonna go that route.
What’s next for DJ Whoo Kid?
Well, definitely my strain is coming. My Whoo’s House residency is coming to Hakkasan [Las Vegas nightclub] on Fridays. We’ve been kicking a** out here in Vegas, that’s where to go. And I teamed up with this brand in Asia called NEO NEO. They’ve just been loving me being all over the world. They gave me a company that’s gonna create like an Anthony Bourdain [style] travel show. I’ll be touring at the Mandarin Hotels. There’s gonna be events at every Mandarin Hotel on this planet, whether it’s Bali or wherever. It’s gonna be an experience that you’ll never know, that you’ve ever experienced. It’s gonna be wild. I’ll have more on that.
And then, of course, I already said Rolling Loud Thailand. Shout out to the Bangkok Invaders. We put it together. We’ll start in April 2023, and you can thank Whoo Kid for that. I will be behind the scenes of that. And finally, I got a TV show with Dwyane Wade. It’s a sneaker show, and we already shot like three, four episodes in L.A. I have maybe like seven more to go. It’s with Antoine Wade, which is Dwyane Wade’s cousin, but I can’t shout out the name yet because they don’t want nobody to steal the title. But it’s a sneaker show, and it’s gonna be wild and crazy, and they’ve got me involved. So [it’s] definitely going to be on some other sh*t.