Get Familiar Episode 4: basketQASE Rodriguez

Chicago is a big city with a high concentration of musically inclined people.  And the music scene is diverse. It literally offers SOMEthing for everyone. One small problem with having so much talent in one place is that it can be difficult to decide on exactly what to do. But sometimes a good artist emerges, making the choice relatively easy.

BasketQASE Rodriguez is one such artist. A born and bred Chicagoan, his talent extends from the upright bass to Ableton DJing and beat making.  I had an opportunity to witness this guy perform an Ableton routine, and i was impressed (anyone who knows me can attest to how tough a critic i am of those who CLAIM to be DJs, but don’t quite meet the requirements). His mixes were on point, his song selection exquisite, and he sprinkled in some of his own work just to keep things interesting!

Basket has been honing his skills since his childhood.  In fifth grade, he wrote and recorded his first rhyme, and in 1994 when he got his first DJ setup – a pair of Gemini turntables, a mixer, and some hip hop records.  From there, he picked up a Roland R-70; yet, looking back, he believes that he was a “later bloomer” with regard to music theory and classical training. In high school he began to dabble with the trumpet, then in college he studied the upright bass. From there he delved deep into jazz theory, which helped him think about ways to push his own creative boundaries.

Fast-forward several years, and basketQASE is now an impressive multidimensional musician who is as invested in spreading dope hip hop and jazz sounds as he is in expand his own artistry.  If there is a theme that unites the breadth of his work, it is trying to get “listeners to dig beats outside of 4/4 meter for the sake of expanding hip hop lyricism and urban dance into different types of phrasing and cadence.”  He gains inspiration for his creations from just about everything his senses allow him to experience.  Currently, classical European artists, such as Debussy are his top go-to guys when he needs a quick hit of “nice chords!”

When you need a hit of dope music, i suggest that you check out DJ basketQASE. He hosts basketQASE Soundscapes at LOKAL (1904 W. North Ave) every second and fourth Thursday.  Ben Lamar’s Mountain, percussionist Chris Paquette, and basket promise an exciting evening of Jazz, Beats, and Dance Music.

If you’re not in Chicago (and even if you are), definitely check out basketQASE’s website, and stay up on all of his updates via Facebook. He’s preparing to drop THREE EPs: RE-Runs F. DJ headsHop; Soul of Samuel; and Odd-Metric BOOM.  But first, he’ll put out “The Ableton Beat Tape Sampler,” which will consist of a few tracks from each EP.

If you would like more information about basketQASE, or if you want to collaborate with or book him, you can contact him at  He’s “always looking to collab with creative people, whether it be musically or on the promotion tip or film related stuff.”

– Brotha Onaci


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