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A DJ To The Stars On Building The Perfect Playlist For Your Kid

Family Albums, produced with our partners at Spotify, features influential musicians revealing the songs that they rely on to get their own kids dancing, sleeping, and as fired up about music as they are.

Mick Batyske, who goes by the DJ name MICK, has turned an encyclopedic knowledge of hip hop and an innate gift for party rocking into a career overseeing dance floors from elite night clubs to massive festivals. A few of the people and brands who have him on speed dial when they need someone to keep things live include Jay Z, LeBron James, Usher, Nike, and Cadillac. He’s only a month-and-a-half into his current gig as a father, but he’s been thinking about introducing his son to new music pretty much since the minute he learned the kid was on the way. And, for a mixtape master who thinks in terms of playlists, it’s kind of the role he was born to play.

On The First Song He Played His Son, Myles
The first song my wife and I played for him was actually when he was still in the womb. As a DJ, I thought it would be practical to get those belly headphones that allow the baby to hear music really well. It was a classical song: Philip Glass, “Tirol Concerto Movement Two.” He started his first kicking inside of her when he heard the song. Since then, it’s been our go-to song to calm him down and it nearly always works.

On The Songs That Get Him To Sleep
The aforementioned Philip Glass stuff is great. I have some cheesy compilation I found years ago at a Starbucks called A Day At The Beach. It’s piano mixed with really bad beach sounds — that also works well. Calm Radiohead songs seem to do the trick.

DJ MICK Batyske

On When To Introduce NWA
We do that annoying thing all parents do, where they kinda move the kid around manually and make them dance. He seems to enjoy that. We did it with some NWA, nothing better than your baby peeing on himself to “Fuck Tha Police.”

On Key Kid-Music Gear
One thing that’s been essential for us is a bouncer called the Mamaroo by 4Moms. It has a line-in to give the baby his own music to chill to. I can plug in my phone or laptop and he bounces around and listens to all of the above stuff in his own little world. He loves it. We have a Sonos in his nursery, so I think there is music playing in there 90 percent of the time. Our nursery is done in all variations of blue, so Sonos hooked Myles up with the really limited Blue Note Play 1 — I’m jealous. The kid is spoiled.

On The First “Must Hear” Playlist
So much … classic 90s hip hop, jazz — Coltrane, specifically “A Love Supreme.” Or classic 90s grunge like Pearl Jam “Alive” or Temple Of The Dog “Hunger Strike.” Stuff that I grew up loving because I played drums and piano before I was a deejay. Hopefully, he’ll gravitate toward playing some instruments.

On The One Song He’ll Be Crushed If The Kid Doesn’t Love
Probably anything from A Tribe Called Quest, like “Electric Relaxation” or De La Soul, maybe “Breakadawn.” I’m a big Native Tongue-era hip hop fan. I will be the dad who walks around rapping to his kids. I imagine this is what it’s like for the kids of the Beastie Boys, except those 2 can actually rap.

On How To Build Your Kid A Great Playlist
My entire life has been play listed, before I even knew what a playlist was. It’s just how my mind works. In high school Brand Nubian had a song called “The Travel Jam,” which I only listened to when I packed for a family trip. I plan on making him some fantastic playlists, finding ways to connect what he likes into what I like, and vice versa, so we can have that connection together. If he likes A$AP Rocky, I would make a playlist with some Rocky songs and maybe a Rocky song featuring Raekwon. Then, throw in some Wu-Tang songs, so he can see the influence. And then, maybe some original samples of both artists, so he can gain an appreciation for all types of music and inspiration.

On Why He Doesn’t Play Kids’ Music For His Kid
My biggest mixtape project was a Jay Z + Coldplay mashup called Viva La Hova. It went exceedingly viral — Coldplay had it on their blog (remember when artists had blogs?) and Jay told me he “kinda liked it.” So, anyway, I found this lullaby version of Jay songs and Coldplay songs. I put them on our baby registry, my wife will tell you I was way too excited about this. I’m thinking about lullaby mashups to the extreme. Then, I finally checked the previews on iTunes of them … worst thing I ever heard in my entire life. Those registry items were instantly deleted. Let’s give Myles the real stuff!

On Deejaying For Kids’ Parties
I’ll keep that to the nursery. It’s hard enough deejaying for entitled adults who also throw little tantrums because their champagne spilled.

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