Martinez White Publishes "Think Like a DJ"
Life from a DJ Perspective
Martinez White brought both sides of his life, finance and music,
together in his new book.
By Jonathan Gramling
It was back in 2005 that I met Martinez White when he interned at The Madison Times through
the UW-Madison PEOPLE Program. White is the son of fabled Milwaukee DJ O.C. White and
definitely had the music thing going on. But he was also a heavy dude.
White went on to graduate from UW-Madison as a PEOPLE Scholar and entered the world of
“I started out just as a universal banker working in the banking environment around finance,
money and deposit accounts,” White said. “And then I graduated into an investment advisor
working as a licensed investment advisor. I’ve spent the last seven years committing myself to
finance and the financial industry. I’ve been busy with that.”
But the music has always remained front and center in his life as well. He has practiced DJing, one of the
fundamental elements of hip hop.
“Hip hop is inclusive,” White exclaimed. “It’s attitude. It’s all of the voices in the room. That’s what you have to do as
a DJ. I write about that in the book. It’s one of my subchapters, ‘All the Voices in the Room.’ You have to be selfless.
You have to be humble. But you have to be confident simultaneously as a DJ. You have to believe you can spin
these people into a sock hop frenzy. But you have to prove it to them and work it. It’s a collaborative effort. It’s all
Blackness. It’s Black people all over this book. You make something out of nothing. We create rags to riches
opportunities and stories.”
White has been busy making his own rags become riches.
“You can have abundance,” White said. “You have to struggle. The meek shall inherit the earth and all of this stuff.
But the reality is the Bible talks about abundance too. It talks about it in a way where it says in Ecclesiastes money
answers all things. Money answers things. It doesn’t necessarily buy you happiness. But it can provide safety and a
defense. The Bible says that too. Money is a defense. It says that in Ecclesiastes. Once I started learning this stuff,
then in finance over the past 6-7 years — over the past two years, I’ve been in my own practice and business — I
realized I already knew this. I learned it from momma in the ghetto. But I’m not familiar with the language.”
Well White decided to translate the language using hip hop as the vehicle for educating others.
“I do use the language of hip hop to talk about financial stuff,” White said. “I’m translating the financial advice and
making it relevant to people so that they understand. Everyone knows bass in the music. When I play music, the
more bass the better. There are base, midline and topline. I use that music language and talk about tweaking you
highs and lows and equalizing your lifestyle and getting your life in tune and in alignment with your ultimate goals.
That music language is relevant because hip hop culture is mainstream culture. It’s global culture because of how inclusive it is. Anyone can be a hip hop artist.
That’s why this book is relatable to people no matter what career or industry people are in. That’s why I have been able to talk to so many different people on
Facebook Live and interview folks in different industries like tech, insurance, and healthcare and talk to them about how Think Like a DJ is applicable to their
industry because you have to keep your turntable spinning.”
White not only thinks like a DJ, he also speaks like a DJ, speaking in a stream of consciousness where he may have to stop and ask, ‘Where did that come from?’
And while White’s goal is to make his momma’s life and those of his family secure in a financial way after only one generation, Think Like a DJ is not a get rich, self-
help book like countless others are on the bookstand. It’s about creating a positive state of mind steeped in the culture and positive traits of Black people.
“The book is about being broke in the mindset,” White emphasized. “Racism is a brokenness. Bigotry is a brokenness. It’s about breaking a mental cycle so that you
can graduate to another dimension. You have to elevate and turn up the frequency of bass and ride with me on the wave to success. Emerging communities
deserve wealth and things of this sort. They helped build this country. People don’t necessarily want to hear that language. They want to hear the double speak or the
capitulation where you are like, ‘Yeah, let’s just fall into the gap.’ I’m trying to reach the kids because the reality is I have a four-year-old boy and the kids who are
living right now, I never lived in the environment they lived in. I never thought about shooting up my whole school. I never had a pandemic where I couldn’t go back
to class. I never didn’t graduate by walking across the stage in a celebratory kind of way. The next generation of kids coming into the university is going to need
some level of mental and emotional intelligence. That’s where this book is going. It’s
giving you a blue print and a framework for success where you start on the inside and
then you extract it from where it was on the inside and make it a concrete reality.”
And White reminds people that it all begins within.
“Nothing has ever existed before except for what you believe,” White said. “Everything
is created from an idea, the creative faculty, and the imaginative force. Everything
comes from that centerpiece. Black people have been using that stuff and not even
knowing it for centuries. We’ve been making up stuff. We’ve been raising generations of
people on bad meals and bad food and trying to make things work for ourselves. That’s
what we’ve been doing. We’ve been extracting, so if we learn the language to it as
young people, as people who are emerging who have been stomped on by the system, if
we know that, the power that we have inside is unstoppable. It’s unparalleled. It’s
unprecedented because it’s a springboard to success. The more you push a spring
down, push it, push it, push it down, it’s going to jump up higher. That’s where we are
now. I just want people to believe and know, especially young folks and emerging
communities, women leaders, LGBTQ people, if you think like a DJ and you get your
mindset right, you spin your poverty into prosperity.”
Next issue: The elements of Think Like a DJ