The state of nightlife is amazing with so much traction in recent months that has evolved the scene from mediocre experiences to a series of epic moments. DJ Jerome Baker III (JB3) is one of the leading entertainers in the D.C. nightlife scene as he continues to deliver vibrant experiences that push the envelope of creativity. Getting ready to shut down another night with cohort Spinser Tracy, JB3 is already clearly in his zone at 9:28 p.m. sitting at the countertop window seats with a nightlife promoter and friend that he had not seen in some time. This guy is not just approachable but also humble in his perspective of life and success.
DJ Jerome Baker III shares that his journey developed in uncharacteristic fashion. Being in D.C. for the past decade and hailing from Hampton University (studying sociology) he never expected such positioning in nightlife but always knew it was possible. Gaining his start on the infamous U Street corridor where many attribute their starts in musical success to playing some of the best venues in the city to include Recess, Park at 14th, Napoleon, Josephine, Heist and many more. JB3 shares that he comes from a smaller part of Mesa, AZ comparable to Silver Spring, MD where his influences first began to shape his musical ear and ultimately play a large influence into his appreciation for vast music genres. An invite from his uncle to come experience D.C. quickly cultivated into Columbia Heights becoming his stomping ground. JB3 during the next decade would build the empire of his brand with major creative influences across nightlife and entertainment among what he says is “a transient metropolis of inspiration.”
Working at Commonwealth (near Adams Morgan), JB3 advanced his skills with DJing at their in-store events with industry artists to include Curren$y, Wale, Diplo, Pusha T and more. This inspired him and several friends to further explore nightlife, ultimately noticing the void within the local industry. JB3 states, “We had nowhere to go and listen to music we liked, while rocking the fresh clothing we loved (from Commonwealth).” It was at that point Rock Creek Social Club was born into a major nightlife curator and events team, which continues to bring the most innovative experiences to the D.C. region.
“RCSC was an idea that was heavily influenced by an amazing event hosted in Chicago called SuperFun” states JB3. From there JB3 conducted extensive research following the scenes in Chicago, L.A., New York, and Miami to really build a solid product that could deliver monumental (no pun intended) success in the D.C. market. Recess was the foundation for GoodLifeTuesdays that really was among the first open-format events in the local region with multiple DJs playing music that crossed multiple genres beyond hip-hop or Top40.
JB3 currently showcases with Spinser Tracy on Mondays at Heist. The venue is one of the most intimate; specialty clubs to enter the D.C. marketplace. “Being able to have both a Sunday and Monday night as a DJ is like a bonus to someone with a 9 to 5 job” states JB3. The business relationship with the owners of Heist is direct result of his continued hard work and dedication. The high-end feel and innovative interior design of the space naturally complements the energy that JB3 invokes through musical showcases. He further shares the venue reminds him of the best places in New York with amazing execution of details to include the gold 1200s on the DJ tables, Blackberry and IPhone chargers at VIP tables, themed wall décor, 24k gold buffalo skull overtop the DJ Booth, and a customized art piece curated especially for the venue (for sale at $35,000).
Check out more about Spinser Tracy and RedBull Thre3style here.
Being behind the DJ booth is no easy task. The craft is indeed a unique skill and talent. Around 10:08 p.m. watching JB3 prepare, he first begins to check all equipment after walking through the venue and chatting with several staff. JB3 always enjoys having those few extra moments before patrons enter the venue to set up and check the sound system for technical quality control. He shares “being a DJ is a lot of power, being able to have people enjoy dancing all night and take them through a journey every night is an amazing feeling.” It comes as no surprise that JB3 is already looking at future endeavors after coming off an amazing series of events with inauguration week. He shares “it’s always competitive and being able to build a home base is a fantastic accomplishment.” JB3 is focusing on playing the best venues for the best crowds and looks forward to traveling as he continually builds the brand. Understanding the market is no longer one-dimensional; his computer screensaver is the direct testament of his mantra, stating NEVER NOT WORKING.
Once the crowd picks up around 10:48 p.m., Spinser Tracy starts in the booth and takes the energy up to another level as he starts dropping tracks. At this point, JB3 is really taking notice of what is going on. He frequently checks his phone maneuvering business moves, mentions deadlines for graphics to Spinser Tracy, and speaks with a few regular patrons, while casually acknowledging others with a gesture of appreciation. He focuses on making sure to keep up with the tempo and takes mental notes to avoid playing the same songs within his set (unscripted rule in the codebook). “We never play the same songs twice,” states JB3 when discussing his approach to the open format in which no pre-set playlists are implemented. The feeling is truly organic when he touches the booth. He further shares some of his most memorable experiences from rocking out clubs in Pittsburgh, playing for a private event during this year’s inauguration, to now having residency at Heist. One of the biggest accomplishments to date is the closeout event of the GoodLifeTuesday’s Anniversary at Recess. “As the music cut off for approximately two and half minutes with Unkle Scooty giving out thank you compliments and others sharing sentiments with the crowd, it was only fitting to play the song by MGMT that started it all – Electric Feel” states JB3. He further explains once the track dropped the crowd burst into a climatic group of celestial ambience throughout the venue. That is what a DJ lives for, being able to have the entire crowd party and move with spine tingling energy throughout the night.
Check out another article about Rock Creek Social Club here.
Those moments will last for a lifetime.
DJ Jerome Baker III approaches the booth, the jacket comes off, and he is mentally in the zone. The crowd surges into a wave of energy once he spins the first track of his set. This moment belongs to the DJ and everyone in the venue knows (subconsciously) it is only the beginning. Time is limitless during these minutes where people leave behind the cares of life and day to day for an escape, the musical journey of nightlife. That journey is one that JB3 lives to share with people daily. DJ Jerome Baker III shares that he approaches life with an appreciation for everything and surrounds himself with people that enrich his life.
DJ Jerome Baker III current schedule:
Fridays at Josephine (Vermont Ave)
Saturdays at Napoleon (Adams Morgan)
Sundays at Capitale (K Street)
Mondays at Heist (18th Street)
Special thanks to both DJ Jerome Baker III and the fantastic team at Heist.