In the wake of the untimely passing of DJ AM on Friday, musicians, DJs, friends and fans alike have been paying tribute to his memory — and his formidable skills behind the turntables, which earned him and Travis Barker the spot as the house band at the 2008 Video Music Awards.
This year, the house band will be Wale and his band UCB (which stands for the Uncalled 4 Band), and the Washington, D.C.-reared MC had great things to say about DJ AM, and the legacy he hopes to live up to at the awards, which take place at New York's Radio City Music Hall on September 13.
"AM was one of the greatest DJs I've ever seen play," Wale told MTV News on Monday (August 31). "Him and Travis had such a chemistry."
Wale said he and AM were both part of the underground-sneaker scene, and that he knew him through his friend and mentor, Amy Winehouse producer Mark Ronson (who led the house band at the 2007 VMAs).
"[AM was] definitely one of the greater ears in music," Wale said, "and he's definitely underrated [as a DJ]."
Wale said he's honored by the opportunity to perform as the house band at such a big show.
"It's really cool that MTV notices that me and my band have chemistry, because we've been playing together for four years now," he said. "The chemistry is definitely there."
When asked how his band's set will be different from the two previous years, well, he had a joking remark for Ronson, who took Wale under his wing a couple of years back.
"Mark [Ronson] is not as cool as me, obviously," he laughed, "and Travis is cooler than me, so we're somewhere in the middle right now! We're going to bring that young energy and that D.C. style to the table."