VSOP's DJ Shafiq talks Gordon Heights and a year of Courtyard Sessions at Ybor City's First Chance Last Chance

The collective celebrates — and raises funds for Tampa trumpeter Kenny Pullin — tonight.

Vinyl Sounds on Partrol's Courtyard Sessions celebrates a year at Ybor City's First Chance Last Chance on Saturday, and CL was fortunate enough to catch up with one half of the collective to talk about the VSOP's origins, its future and which records DJ Shafiq (pictured above, on the right) loves to play.

What's more is that the event will also be collecting donations for Tampa trumpeter Kenny Pullin, who fell off of a roof while workingHave a look at our short Q&A — and get more information on the show — below.

Courtyard Sessions One-Year Anniversary w/VSOP. Sat. July 14, 10 p.m. No cover. First Chance Last Chance,1707 N 16th St., Ybor City. facebook.com/vinylsoundsonpatrol.

Could you talk about your life in Gordon Heights and how Suffolk Country shaped your taste in music?

Life in Gordon Heights was fun, wild and a bit chaotic at a certain point in time. As far as music, my parents own a record store in Long Island so I was fortunate to grow up in a musical environment. That is how I started DJing, watching my older brother and his friends come to the record store jump on the set and spin records. I gave it a try and the rest is history. There are a lot of pioneering artist from Long Island like De La Soul, EPMD, Rakim, Public Enemy, Roc Marciano, Keith Murray, JVC Force, Grand Daddy IU, to name a few who all are inspiration.

When did you move to Tampa, and why have you stayed here?

I moved to Tampa at the end of September in 2004. Prior to that I was in Long Island all my life. So after making the move, settling in with the new job and starting a family here, that was it for me, I knew this would be my new home. When I finally stepped out searching for the music scene, and saw what was going on I had to get out and DJ.

Could you talk about why you started Courtyard Sessions and what you think you’ve accomplished in the first year?

Courtyard sessions started from me walking into first chance Last Chance bar and talking to one of the bartenders asking about DJing a night. We discussed what night would be good which became the second Saturday of every month. After the first night they wanted me back, and I wanted to go back due to the great atmosphere in the courtyard and the reception I received from the patrons there. The accomplishment is that the people who know about second Saturdays love it and the place is always packed, which speaks a lot about the night. That's what it's all about: creating a fun musical journey to take the party people on and makin sure everyone is having a good time — and I feel that I've reached that goal.

What’s the future look like for Courtyard sessions?

Hopefully the future for Courtyard sessions with VSOP Vinyl Sounds On Patrol will keep going for some time. As of right now, the future looks good with continuing to rock the courtyard.

You were a later edition to the VSOP crew. How’d you end up officially linking up with Blenda after probably knowing him for some time?

I was introduced to DJ Blenda through my friend Spon. I was working at Slopfunkdust's house — I worked for the cable company at that time, installing cable, phone and internet — and Slopfunk took me to the room where the computer was and I saw a bunch of records, keyboards and beat machines. We started talking about music, DJs, emcees, songs, etc. I told him I DJ, and we automatically clicked. Then Spon rolled up and Slop told him the cable guy is a DJ. They both said I need to meet their friend DJ Blenda. Soon after, Spon asked me if I wanted to go to a show at this spot where it was happening (The Crowbar), and they wanted someone to play music outside. I said "yes." That is where I played for the first time in Tampa, and that's when I met Blenda along with the Gwan Massive crew. As time went on, Blenda invited me to several gigs he was playing and let me get spins. Eventually I joined the Gwan Massive after rocking the decks with Blenda, and the rest is history. By this time, Blenda and I were DJ-ing all over Tampa, and he pitched the idea of doing an all vinyl gig. VSOP started at the Dubliner in south Tampa as "Vinyl Sounds on the Patio." I suggested, since we always have vinyl no matter where we play, changing it to "Vinyl Sounds on Patrol." So, pretty much both of us created it and I was not a later edition. That was the start of VSOP.

What are your top five favorite records to play?

That's kind of hard. "Sun is Shining" by Bob Marley, "The Saga Begins" by Rakim, "Nautilus" by Bob James, "Revolution" by Dennis Brown, and "Silk" by Mandrill.

About The Author

Ray Roa

Read his 2016 intro letter and disclosures from 2022 and 2021. Ray Roa started freelancing for Creative Loafing Tampa in January 2011 and was hired as music editor in August 2016. He became Editor-In-Chief in August 2019. Past work can be seen at Suburban Apologist, Tampa Bay Times, Consequence of Sound and The...
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