Kanye West's Go-To DJ Has A No-Fail Wedding Playlist, And We Have It: Exclusive
With a Las Vegas residency at the MGM’s Hakkasan nightclub and almost two decades of deejaying under his belt, DJ Ruckus is the industry (and Kanye West's) go-to for ensuring elaborate parties never have empty dance floors.
So with wedding season upon us, we asked the Miami native -- who’s known for working the weddings of some serious clientele for a starting fee of $75,000 -- what his no-fail tips, tricks and tracks are for keeping people out of their seats and on their feet.
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It takes time to get the music right, so do your research.
I did a wedding one time in the Dominican Republic for a very well-to-do Latin family, but I only speak Spanish half fluently and didn’t really have knowledge of Latin music. I wanted to play a maintained, long set with it though because people are very passionate about Latin music when you use it. Finding indigenous records, specifically remixes since those help bring in all generations, was a lot of homework. But it turned out great and was completely worth it.
Know where you want to go and where you’re actually going.
People hire me because they want to match an energy or recreate a certain feeling they felt somewhere, like a club. But to get to that crescendo in the night, you need to start softer than where you’re going so you’ve got somewhere to grow to. A lot of DJs also have “DJ ADD” where they move too fast, skip around and ruin the energy. The idea is to keep people dancing the whole night or 10 songs in a row or wherever you feel like the guests energy is. So constantly be thinking at least three songs ahead, but sit back, let a record play and let people dance through their favorite part of a song.
There are some definite no-fail songs to play at weddings, unless of course they fail.
“Brown Eyed Girl” by Van Morrison is always a fun track to play because people love singing along to it. So I was working this wedding where I decided to play the track to be nostalgic, but the groom looked at me and was like, “she’s got green eyes, so not so much….” We changed that song pretty quickly.
At another wedding, Uma Thurman was on the dance floor and I decided to play Chuck Berry's “You Can Never Tell” (from Pulp Fiction) thinking it’d be funny, she’d like it and want to dance it out. But when the song started playing she turned her head and just looked at me with those eyes…definitely a fail.
Listen below to DJ Ruckus's "No Fail" Wedding Songs playlist, exclusively for Billboard: