ATLANTA — The hottest place in ATL on Sunday nights has to be the Velvet Room.
You're bound to see a superstar — from Jay-Z to R. Kelly to T.I. — there during any given week. They say the capacity is 3,500 people, but anyone on the dance floor will feel like there are probably three times as many people in the building. It's so packed you can barely move, but nobody seems to care. The music is banging, the drinks are flowing and everybody came out the house looking fly.
A couple of weeks ago, it seemed like 3,500 people were in the VIP section alone. Picture it: A cross-section of hip-hop kings from all over the country. Hometown hero Young Jeezy and his Corporate Thugz Entertainment crew. Fat Joe, Diamond D and DJ Khaled and their entourage. Playaz Circle were in the house. Singer Trey Songz was there, as was Fonzworth Bentley, DJ Drama, DJ Don Cannon, Rich Boy and Jim Jones and his Goonies.
Clearly, a regular night won't bring all these guys out. So is it a concert? Nope. Afterparty for an awards show? Nah. They all came to help DJ Infamous celebrate his fourth year of spinning on the radio.
"Infamous, happy anniversary," Def Jam South President DJ Khaled screamed. "Def Jam had to come rep Infamous real quick. We in ATL. Velvet Room. It's going down. Let's get it."
"A-Town gets in," DJ Drama said. "You can go anywhere in the world, and you're not gonna see all this star power in one room."
"DJ Infamous, that's my brother right there," Fat Joe said. "I had to come out for him. He's one of the hottest DJs in Atlanta. I respect him big time."
"Let me tell you, Sunday night in the Velvet Room ... it was crazy, man," Inf, a.k.a. "the youngest in charge," said as he drove to downtown Atlanta two days after his party. "It was basically special for me. Being professionally on the radio for four years and that many people come show me love like that. These are cats that's been in the game for years. They didn't just show up, they came down and performed. It makes me feel good. These are real cats, man."
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Infamous seems destined to follow in the footsteps of DJ Drama (a Philadelphia transplant) as the next big spinner to come from ATL. The 26-year-old got his career going five years ago, going to school in Alabama in the day and spinning on the radio and clubs out there in his free time. He felt he couldn't get any bigger in such a small market, so he moved to Atlanta. He was commuting to ATL on the weekends anyway, because one of his friends, Botchey, was a club promoter and got him work at the clubs in A-Town.
Infamous soon started interning at radio station V-103 and ended up on the airwaves as he increased his profile in clubs like Vision, 112 and South Beach.
"I was probably in Atlanta seven months, and within seven months I was on the radio heavy," he said. "I was in the biggest clubs, doing Young Jeezy's album-release party and other big functions. ... It just took off. That's how I got the whole 'youngest in charge' name. Here, it's unheard of for a dude that young to come here and start getting clubs and radio like that. I just kept it moving."
Along the way, Infamous briefly joined DJ Drama's Aphilliate family and had a long stint at Jermaine Dupri's Club 72. Infamous' biggest outlet, however, might be his offerings on the mixtape circuit. In just a few months, he's put out CDs with Rick Ross, Bow Wow and Young Jeezy.
"I didn't take it seriously until Jeezy called me and said, 'I want you to do this Prime Minister mixtape.' When he called me for that, I saw the outcome of it. I said, 'I need to put some mixtapes out.' It was 150,000 downloads on ThisIs50.com the first day and 160,000 downloads on USDA2day.com. That's what sparked it off. I was like, 'Now people in other areas know who I am. People in New York know me. People in Cali know me.' After that, I had the wave."
Infamous' next mixtape is Risky Business with Jim Jones. You can find out more about that project in this week's Mixtape Monday.