The DJ’s “Cut Up” video was shot in two separate locations, a downtown second line and a house located in the 17th Ward, Uptown. The idea of the video was to make mainstream music in New Orleans more prevalent in the industry. The DJ wanted to give the world an “unpolished version of what we come from; we could’ve done many things but we want people to know the unglamorous side of New Orleans. It’s beautiful.” The video was shot, directed, and edited by Benjamin Simmons of Breathe Video.
Rapper Paco Troxclair and producer Ze11a are The DJ, a duo whose focus is the music played at block parties in 1990s and early ‘00s New Orleans.
Though nostalgic, The DJ is primarily an evolution of a bygone sound, with a story behind it. Hailing from the 3rd and 11th Wards of New Orleans, respectively, Paco and Ze11a have witnessed the rampant gentrification in post-Katrina New Orleans extract the city of its distinctive culture, particularly as it relates to Black life. The DJ recaptures the magic and beauty of New Orleans’ nascent rap culture once prevalent in many Uptown neighborhoods.
Paco earned significant local recognition for his 2017 single, “Duffy.” Produced by the Grammy-nominated KLC, known for his work with New Orleans rap icons like Master P, Mystikal and Mia X, the song and its video have garnered over 30,000 views on YouTube. “Duffy” appeared on his album Where We From, which features Ze11a.
Ze11a’s 2017 album 4What4U, featuring Anderson .Paak and Mannie Fresh, solidified his reputation as one of the most acclaimed producers from New Orleans, as did his work as the co-founder of the production team Flight School. In 2018, his work was nominated for Best Hip-Hop Album at the Best of the Beat Awards presented by OffBeat Magazine.