DJ Norie's BIo When meeting with Noriega, you almost instantly expect to come into contact with that well known DJ who constantly wows audiences with his superior mixing skills, or who can be caught talking over some of today's hottest beats at anytime, nick-named 'Da Governa' of Reggae by DJ Self of 'Da Union' due to his ability to captivate the crowd. But in actuality, what you get is a very approachable, funny, bright-eyed man with music and a deep Panamanian heritage at his core. A superstar in his own right, Noriega has been the personal DJ for a range of dancehall Reggae acts such as Elephant Man, Beenie Man, Bounty Killa , Movado, Serani and can be found mixing for a variety of others.
Always one to get into trouble, he was branded 'Noriega' in high school by his friends, after the former President of Panama, wanted by the American Marines for incarceration in the United States, for Noriega was the one who was always wanted for trouble. Years later, Noriega has lived up to that name, still wanted, but for being one of Dancehall's most sought after DJ's, affiliated with 'Afrique' and 1/6th of DJ Self's 'Da Union' allowing the Dancehall reign of both affiliations spread world wide. When asked where he gets his inspiration from, Noriega simply turns up the volume on the mixer, closes his eyes and simply states 'music'.
In the game for almost 17 years, Noriega, known as Norie 'Da Man' to his friends, began in the world of Dancehall playing along side DJ Supa C and Redds from Spectrum Disco, another highly respected sound system in the history of Dancehall. There, he became the highly seasoned professional that you see today. But it was not long before not just the crowd was taking notice, but the higher ups in the dancehall world had their eyes open also. Known as the 'Father of Dancehall' in America, Super Claude came to New York and began Afrique as a powerful one man show, acquiring some of Dancehall's hottest selectors, including Jagga B,, just to name a few. It was the collective eyes of the Afrique that set their sights on Noriega in the late 90's as their latest acquisition. 'It's funny how it happened really,' Noriega states. 'It started out as 'Wanna pass through this?' or 'Did you bring your record here?' and pretty soon before I knew it, people began associating me with Afrique. I will never forget Spectrum Disco because that is where I came from, but really, it was an honor.'
Fast forwarding to the present time, Noriega has become a man with big shoes to fill. Acquired by DJ Self and the collective set of Club Killaz known as 'Da Union', Noriega has spread his reign to become one of the hottest DJ's not only in Dancehall, but in the mainstream industry as well Not only a player on 2 of the top DJ sets in the country, Noriega has become one of the biggest promoters in Brooklyn and an esteemed Radio personality, known for his motto, 'Anything Goes'. 'To me, my radio show served a lot of purposes. Not only did it allow my fans to get to know me on a personal level, it allowed me to give back to this music game.'
Currently working on his own Internet radio station, Noriega was known for having guest appearances from well-known artists, sounds, and upcoming sounds and struggling artists. 'It takes me back to the days of Sir Coxstone in Jamaica, when it wasn't about the artist making the DJ, or the DJ making the artist, but it was about the music itself.' When asked to explain, Noriega gets excited as he depicts a world of Dancehall different than our own. ' Back then, Dancehall was all about people who loved the music and wanted to share it, and people who loved having a good time and came to listen. Now, Dancehall is overcrowded with egos and stereotypes and politics, which get put over the music. That was a time when each man on a sound had a job, whether he was the 'Mic Man', the engineer, or the 'Selecta'.
Now, one man does the whole job. Little by little, this ever growing trend of each man venturing off by himself and the innovation of technology is slowly but surely making the art form that Dancehall used to be fade away.' Slowly he sighs, and the he goes on. ' I started playing music at the age of 13. My entire life I grew up with the different beats and wicked lyrics of the Dancehall. I'll never forget the first time I heard my favorite song. Nuff respect to the few selectas out there who play for love, but it has changed so much that the majority of them are really just in it for the hype.' When asked to sum up himself in 4 words or less, after some thought, Noriega smiles and says, 'always working'. Equipped with an unending love for music and the determination to match, Noriega states this is what is missing from a lot of the upcoming sounds today. He also says that the people have a lot to do with it. 'To all the fans, it may look extremely easy, but it is really not. It took a lot of hard work to get where I am. Even making it this far, the game is still like crabs in a barrel. Fall off, and you are right back at the bottom. The fans play a major part in this, so support the dancehall and the sound systems the best you can. Just like the election, your vote counts too.