The 20 most coveted Colorado music-industry jobs: The complete list with five new profiles
Studio Owner, Internet Radio Host (Xavier Davis, DIA Studios/DIA Radio)
Xavier Davis has worked with top industry artists, had the money and opportunities, lost them all to the street-life, served time in prison and come back again to appreciate his value in the community of hip-hop as a voice of guidance to the next generation.
Xaiver Davis (aka Boozilla) has had a big impact on the underground hip-hop scene in Denver for past twenty years. The driving force behind a lot of the music coming out of Denver during the '90s, Davis has roots that come from the streets. "The raw talent comes from the streets," he says. "If you are there not to catch it let, you're going to become part of a trend instead of setting a trend."
Early on, Davis was always intrigued by the drum and the percussion of music. He started deejaying at the age of fourteen with makeshift turntables, needles weighed down with pocket change, so they wouldn't move when they scratch. Davis, who was fascinated with the East Coast DJs, landed a gig deejaying adult clubs in Mobile, Alabama by the time he was sixteen with the stipulation that he not leave the DJ booth.
At the time, Gregory KT, who would later become Greg Street, was the hottest DJ in the South. Davis formed a lasting relationship with him that gave him special insight to the music industry, but Davis struggled with the street life. As the gang element became more prevalent in the music, it also took hold in Davis's life, prompting a move to Denver. "I came to Denver on a hustle," he remembers, "but the music never leaves you."
In 1992 Davis was producing mixtapes for Russell's Tapes and CDs in Parkhill, mixing, designing and hosting on 45 minute-cassette tapes. Russell's ended up moving to bigger store on Peoria, and Davis followed, though he kept struggling to choose between the dope game or the music game.
That struggle continued until 1995 when Davis brought C-Bo to town and hooked up with Awol records. Davis eventually left with Awol to Atlanta as a production assistant for the label, which he says distracted him for a while, "That really got my mind off the dope game, and I got to be around some of the top people in the industry."
Working around acts like Too Short and EPMD, Davis met and soon became known to the music insiders as a reputable street guy. Around that time, he sent all his studio gear back to Young Doe in Denver to push the music scene here. When the situation with Awol had run its course, Davis soon found himself in Seattle and then L.A. "I was with C-Bo when Master P gave him 100,000 in L.A., like 'Here let's work," he remembers.
Davis kept his connections in Denver and would frequently fly back and forth from where ever he was at. "Anyone in '96 that was doing it, I was working with," said Davis, who worked with everyone in the scene from Nyke Locc to Rich the Factor. "I had two deals on the table," he says, "one with Relativity and one with Universal. They showed me Country Grammar by Nelly, and that was the sound they were looking for back then." Davis backed away from the deal due to the fact he didn't feel that was the type of music Denver made or that he was doing at the time. "I wish I had," he says now.
In 1999, Davis struggle between the street life and music life finally caught up to him. Davis got arrested and ended up getting convicted and serving eleven years in prison. Davis doesn't hide from his past and embraces his street roots saying, "I came back right back to everything we were working on when I left, except without the drugs. Everything is 110 percent legit, and that is the biggest relief."
These days, Boozilla spends most of his time recording, mastering, shooting video or working on the new DIA Studio's radio show, which he says is a community affair, "We have thirty people working on the radio stuff. Right now YouTube is competing with TV, and TV media creation is opportunity to get into a multimillion dollar industry."
DIA Studios has produced or recorded music for Julox, Lil Bad, Innerstate Ike, Scorp Dezel, Young Joc, Lil Scrappy, Scarface and many more over the last two years, and Davis is still in good favor with a number of acts that reach out when they come to Denver. "All those contacts I was making back in the '90s paid off because people had respect for me, and I showed it back," he explains. "Now people call me from all over just based on my street respect. That is something I will always have." -- Antonio Valenzuela