In many major cities there’s usually at least one DJ who is well connected nationally and knows the inner workings of the music business. In Columbus, that’s DJ F.A.T.E.
Born Ryan Washington, F.A.T.E. is originally from Cleveland and moved to Columbus to attend Ohio State. His first major gig was deejaying for an Ohio State Icebreaker his sophomore year in college. After that, he was hooked.
“It was at the Newport and there were like 2,500 people there,” F.A.T.E. said. “I was like, ‘Wow, if I can make 2,500 people have a good time, I can make 20,000 people have a good time.’”
It didn’t take long for F.A.T.E. to start rubbing elbows with major players. Professionally, a lot of F.A.T.E.’s fame can be attributed to his early work as a mixtape DJ and his non-stop hustle mentality. Before even landing some of the city’s largest perennial club gigs, F.A.T.E. had already dropped mixtapes with two eventual Grammy award-winners and was traveling the country meeting some of the industry’s top tastemakers.
His release of I Be Like… Yuuup! with Trey Songz in 2009 and Heir Waves with Chase N. Cashe a few years later gave him national recognition, but it would be meeting and subsequently signing on with a world famous DJ that would really spark his career.
In 2008, F.A.T.E. met Atlanta’s DJ Holliday and became the first signee of The Commission, a nationally recognized core of artists and DJs from across the country.
Recently releasing his latest mixtape Welcome To The Midwest 3 with Holliday, F.A.T.E. represented a lot of the move-makers in the region.
“It’s really our time to have a run. The West Coast had a run, the South had a run forever, the East Coast had a crazy run,” F.A.T.E. said. “The Midwest never really had it, but we have people doing crazy things.”
F.A.T.E.’s latest effort is a compilation mixtape featuring songs from artists across the Midwest, including Columbus artists King Vada and Hodgie Street.
Even with his connections and possible opportunities elsewhere, F.A.T.E. has no interest in moving to a larger city. He hopes others follow his example while he continues to build to something bigger.
“I want to bring a future to Columbus more so than leave,” he said. “(DJ Holliday) told me I could move to Atlanta but it’s like, Ohio needs that light, we need the light on us so when I go out of town, I come back and bring it back here.”
Photo by Meghan Ralston
Welcome To The Midwest 3 is out now on LiveMixtapes