As a DJ, MC, producer, member of Crown City Rockers and all-around purveyor of arts and music, Santa Fe is lucky to have Raashan Ahmad living among us. Six years ago, Ahmad moved to Santa Fe, and he's been making moves ever since. From live shows and charity events to some super-secret projects in the works, Ahmad is exactly the kind of community-minded artist we need. This is why y'all need to be aware of his DJ residency at Rockin' Rollers, the Roll, Bounce SK8 Jam and Roller-Oke (7 pm Thursday Dec. 6. $5. 2915 Agua Fría St., 473-7755) and his appearance during AudioOmen at Meow Wolf this weekend (8 pm Saturday Dec. 8. $17-$20. 1352 Rufina Circle, 395-6369). We caught up with Ahmad to see what's up.
You could probably be based anywhere. Why Santa Fe?
My short answer is the sky and the dirt, honestly. I came out here one Christmas, and even before I moved here I'd visit the Southwest and Santa Fe and I always loved it. I rented a house near Madrid for Christmas, and there were bunny rabbits and coyotes howling and the snow was falling. … I just need to be close to an airport, but this is my favorite place on the planet. This is the only place where not-hippies talk about it like hippies.
Do you think hip-hop is a viable thing here? Can people make a go of it?
I think it kind of depends on what your idea of 'a go' and 'success' is. I know a bunch of people in different cities who say, 'What I wanna do is my music, work in the community, hang out with my friends,' and that's dope. For me, it would be much harder making an actual living, but I get so much juice from the hip-hop artists here. I go into Trader Joe's and my homegirl Alex is an MC, and she'll start rapping when she sees me. You see the love and the passion for the culture which is super strong here. You'll see Anthonius Monk and a bunch of cats who are super inspiring. They have passion for the cultural aspect of it, wanting to just be better kind of gets lost in it. The bigger artists … sometimes you're doing so many shows, and you can get lost in the routine of it all and you forget how it was when you were 19. I went to the album release for Anthonius Monk at Second Street [Brewery], I think, and watching Anthonius Monk perform and Alex perform—it's really dope. I'm just making my new album, planing for tours; it's so great to see hungry, passionate, humble MCs.
What can you tell us about this series of events at the roller rink?
I used to drive by there and think, 'What is that? Is that really a roller rink?' I grew up next to a roller rink in [Los Angeles], so for me, that culture of roller skating is hugely dope. And yo, I can DJ at a roller rink, who wouldn't want to do that? I can DJ all the stuff I can't really DJ other places. … A lot of places, especially here, I can't go and spin disco and funk and have people appreciate it. Some people come and dance, some people come and roller skate, and it's really an alternative to the bar scene. I didn't really think anybody would come, but there's a whole bunch of people who were like, 'Finally.' It's been a cool vibe and the owners are really nice people, appreciative, and it seems like a great place to be able to organize and throw shows.