NYPD's Acu Rhodes (aka DJ Ace) Spins Old-School Jams at Barclays Center's Billboard Lounge

Barclays Center

Exterior view of the Barclays Center before a Brooklyn Nets basketball game April 9, 2013 in the Brooklyn borough of New York. 

Hip-hop and law enforcement don’t always mix. Maybe they just need more mixmasters. One potential peace broker is Lt. Acu Rhodes (aka DJ Ace), an NYPD officer who moonlights as an old-school scratch DJ.

Friday night (Jan. 8) at the Barclays Center -- the very building he’s tasked with protecting and serving as detail lieutenant of Brooklyn’s 78th Precinct -- Rhodes commandeered the DJ booth at the Billboard Lounge and proceeded to rock the party like a champ.

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Rhodes has been a police officer since 1997 and a hip-hop fan for way longer. As he told DNAinfo, he’s been scratching since 1984, when he saw the movie Beat Street at the age of 10, and Friday’s set showcased the depth of his knowledge. He selected and mashed up vintage favorites like Eric B & Rakim’s “Eric B is President,” “Nice & Smooth’s “Funky For You,” and Grandmaster Flash’s “White Lines,” though his tastes aren’t strictly pre-gangsta.

Given that he was in Brooklyn, Rhodes devoted a good minute or two to the Notorious B.I.G.’s “Hypnotize,” which had older lounge patrons and young bucks alike nodding their heads. Rhodes also repped for Staten Island (Wu-Tang’s “C.R.E.A.M.”) and Queens (A Tribe Called Quest’s “Scenario”), spreading the love to all boroughs.

Billboard and Barclays Center Align on Billboard Lounge

While Rhodes also showed off his scratching skills, making Chic and Diana Ross sound like stutterers as he tore through “Good Times” and “Upside Down,” he was mostly too busy snapping pictures with friends and party-goers to man the turntables. There was even more smiling and hugging when a bunch of his fellow officers turned up midway through his set, much to the chagrin of absolutely no one.

Rhodes probably spins more as a hobby than as a means of humanizing cops, but he definitely has the latter effect. At one point in the evening, he followed Slick Rick’s “Children’s Story” -- the sad tale of a stick-up kid shot dead by police -- with Naughty by Nature’s “Hip-Hop Hooray,” one of the genre’s greatest celebratory anthems.

There may have been a message there -- or it may have been that the beats just fit.


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