THE HUSTLE IS REAL is a story about creating your own lane to make money doing what you love and the hustle and grind that goes along with it.
"If you have to work, you might as well do what you love."
DJ Prestige makes a living as a DJ spinning 7-inch 45 RMP vinyl records. He's, also, a freelance writer, graphic designer, and champion of all things vinyl. "I'm really a working-class DJ."
His lane is music that has soul, music that moves you. Funk, Jazz, Soul, Hip-Hop, Latin, Disco, and more are what he delivers at his DJ night. Whether it's in the lobby of the ACE Hotel in NYC, The SHAKE Party in Brooklyn, behind the decks at various venues on the beach in Asbury Park, NJ, or as a guest DJ at Boston's SOULELUJAH, Prestige is known for his impeccable selection that controls the vibe and moves the dance floor.
"90% of what I play, people don't know, but, they get down and dance anyway because it's good music. It's the beat, the sound, the vibe, all from vinyl records collected over many years. A lot goes into getting these records."
His site, Flea Market Funk, has been keeping people up-to-date on recent releases, re-issues, and DJ culture, via daily reviews and interviews with other DJ's from around the world for over 12 years. Featuring his on-point, honest, writing and visually-pleasing graphic design, each feature represents the passion and love of the culture.
"I want to be in control—that's what's going to make me stand out. I want to control the name, I want to control the vibe, I want to control the visuals."
It's a full-time job getting the gigs and promoting them, let alone, doing the gigs. The hours are crazy and there's very little downtime. Jamison [Harvey] is swimming against the current every day in a job that's off the beaten path. But, he's doing what he loves...
"I just wanna evolve as a person and a DJ. And I'm gonna do whatever it takes... and "whatever it takes" means working harder than the next guy."
"... The Hustle Is Real all the time."
Producer, Director, Film-maker
"I like making films about people with passion, people who work with their hands and people who work with vintage technology in the modern world."
Thomas has been making short films on musicians and dancers and artists all his film career... "because I love when people do things better than me... it makes me want to get inside and find out what drives them to be so good at what they do."
"Normally, I don't choose subjects that I know a lot about or have a strong connection with because I am forced to examine the subject without bias and approach it with a healthy dose of naivety. In this case, knowing a lot about the subject was crucial because the subtleties of DJ culture can be easily misrepresented or easily batted-foul. As a vinyl record collector, bedroom DJ, and lover of many styles of music, my conversation with this subject was informed in a way that allowed the film to be legit with several audiences, including DJ culture."
An EMMY Award-winning producer and three-time EMMY-nominated director, Thomas brings a deep toolbox to every project he's involved in. "I've been at this for a long time and the joy of pulling all the opposing forces together to make a coherent film is extremely gratifying. This film is a tribute to everyone who pursues their passion no matter how high the odds are stacked up against them."
"Watching The Hustle Is Real's engrossingly stylish profile of the life and times of a "working-class DJ," it's natural to describe both the film—and the endeavors of its subject—as a labor of love. But more than that, the film is about the love of labor: the hours of trawling through dusty crates of vinyl plates in search of the perfect beat. Leaving the wife and kids at home and driving through miles of snow to get to a gig. This is not a story about the glamour of DJ'ing, it's about the work that goes into it and the kind of people for whom the work is almost as rewarding as the sight of a roomful of ecstatic dancers grooving to the tunes that come out of their crates. But even beyond that, it's about finding a purpose and a passion that makes life worth living."
- Uchenna Ikonne
Watch Thomas Draudt's THE HUSTLE IS REAL documentary here!