On the night of Wednesday, July 8, DJ Cassidy celebrated his 28th birthday at the New York Public Library with guests Funkmaster Flex, Jay-Z, Estelle, Doug E. Fresh and other hip-hop heavies. Bobby Brown and Rakim put on special performances, and the DJ-to-the-president got an extra-special cake from his father. Due to an embarrassing fall and subsequent busted knee, the Daily Transom missed the festivities, but we caught up with the birthday boy the next afternoon.
Daily Transom: Happy birthday. Did you rage last night?
DJ Cassidy: Thank you! I actually haven’t slept yet, so you’ll have to forgive me if I sound a little out of it.
DT: How was it?
DJC: Surreal in every sense of the word. I still can’t believe that I threw the party at the New York Public Library. It doesn’t get more beautiful, more glamorous, more sophisticated and more over-the-top than that. … I DJ a lot of parties every year, and what I’ve learned is that often the fun gets lost in the hype. The bigger the place, the more celebrities and the more press there is, the less fun the party becomes because the other elements begin to take over and overshadow the fun.
DT: And this didn’t happen last night?
DJC: No. And I know it’s kind of cliché to say, and everyone says it, but you know, night life in this city is—not like any one remembers it, but everyone says, “Oh it’s not like it used to be.” But I feel like this party is.
DT: What did Bobby Brown perform?
DJC: His four biggest hits, which are Don’t Be Cruel, On Our Own, Every Little Step, and My Prerogative. Every year I have surprise legendary old-school performances. … This party, in a sense, it’s kind of an excuse to live my dream and get my heroes to perform at a party and give that to the people.
DT: I saw a picture of the cake—can you tell me about that?
DJC: The cake actually never got brought out, things were so chaotic and there were so many great moments going on throughout the party that my dad never actually brought out the cake.The cake was actually a very cool thing, I’m glad you asked. When I DJ’d the inauguration, CNN showed Obama’s first dance at the ball that I DJ’d. I DJ’d the Mid-Atlantic Ball and I programmed the playlists for the nine other balls, and they showed live from the Mid-Atlantic Ball, them dancing. And it said at the bottom “Barack Obama and Michelle Obama have their first dance at the Mid-Atlantic Ball,” so my dad was watching this on CNN the night it happened and he took a picture with his phone of the TV screen, and I guess he gave the picture to a friend of his who then took a picture of me from the inauguration from something else, and blended the two pictures, and that was the cake. This was an amazing idea—it was also obviously the biggest night of my life doing that and the highlight of my year.
DT: I saw a picture of Funkmaster Flex in the DJ booth—how did you feel about other people DJing for you? Did you have the urge to get behind the booth and DJ yourself?
DJC: No—I never had the urge! It’s the one night I don’t have to, and I can be the dancer and not the DJ. Funkmaster Flex, who I’ve looked up to since I was like 10 years old, he’s the reason I became a DJ, he came and surprised me. He did a Michael Jackson set. It was great—he’s really the king of this.
DT: So getting older isn’t so bad?
DJC: No, this is the bright side, I guess.
DT: Are you already thinking of ways to top this year’s party next year?
DJC: I gotta tell you, every year my mom says to me, just stop. She’s like, “It’s too stressful!” I plan this party virtually myself. It’s
a lot of work and I’m a control freak.