Booda brings hip hop nirvana to L.A.

James Nishima, known to many as DJ Booda, is a Lethbridge DJ and promotor. He’s the man behind bringing some of the biggest hip hop acts to Lethbridge in the last couple of years, namely Method Man & Redman, Kardinal Offishal and Maestro Fresh Wes, amongst others. He also hosts “Droppin Science,” a weekly radio show on CKXU from 7:30-9PM.

James comes to us from Taber, which we’ll forgive. A tall man with a large stature, he quickly gained the nickname “Booda” when he moved to Lethbridge. Now he’s enlightening this city with some real hip hop culture.

In the past, Booda was resident DJ for various nightclubs, like Studio 54 and The Bear’s Paw in Waterton. He got his start DJ’ing at the now defunct Tommy G’s, hosting hip hop nights that also featured rap battles and breakdancing. Although they tended to bring in roughly the same crowds every week, it got Booda’s feet wet at organizing and promoting.

In June 2007, Booda delivered his first act to Lethbridge. It was east-coast rapper Classified, who recently was signed to the Sony Music label. Since then, he’s been bringing a steady stream of artists to Lethbridge. Upcoming shows include Art of Fresh and Swollen Members.

Booda has discovered that one of the many challenges with bringing acts to Lethbridge is the scarcity of venue space. Beyond the Enmax Centre, Lethbridge doesn’t have any larger venues. Although finding past success with promotion partner Suede, he since has moved on to The Blarney Stone for many of his shows.

He takes certain gambles when bringing acts to Lethbridge, partially because of finding the right venue, but also the high risk of the concert not selling out. He describes Lethbridge as a “last minute city,” where people usually buy their tickets at the door. Despite admitting Lethbridge doesn’t have much of a hip hop scene, it’s something he strives to change.

Knowing the city’s demographics plays an important role in what artists Lethbians are willing to spend their cash on. Booda found that attaching a theme to an event garners plenty of interest, such as the “Throw Your Panties” video premiere party that featured Choclair and Moka Only.

Though some of his favourite shows that he has brought to this city included Sweatshop Union and Choclair, Booda doesn’t want to be pigeon holed into hip hop. He’s brought other popular acts to Lethbridge, such as electronic folk-rock band Adaline. And on his iPod you’ll find Cat Power, Feist, The Police, Jane’s Addiction, K’naan and Propagandhi.

James Nishima has gained himself a great reputation in Lethbridge for consistently bringing in quality performers, but he doesn’t like to take all the praise for himself. He’s also partnered with Alan Gillespie, a.k.a. DJ Daemon, to organize many of the shows. Alan also designs all the great posters you’ve no doubt seen around town.

DJ Booda’s hard work is definitely paying off. He’s a Lethbian who has found a niche in this city, bringing some of the best hip hop to Lethbridge. The next show he’s organized is this Saturday (the 28th) at the Blarney Stone. Performing there will be the Swollen Members on the last leg of their Alberta tour, before starting on 22 dates in British Columbia. And DJ Booda will be there.

And now the best part…


For Lethbian Love readers, James has offered up 2 tickets to this Saturday’s Swollen Members show! All you have to do is correctly answer the following question to have your name put in a random draw:

Which artist is no longer a member of the Swollen Members?

The winner will be required to provide their name and phone number to claim the prize. Draw ends at 5PM Friday.

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