DJ Name Drops In 2012: Cheese Or Choice?

In the past we’ve covered how to make DJ name drops and IDs, and at the request of a number of emails we’re revisiting the topic to discuss why it’s important to have a drop, on what formats to use them properly , and what new resources exist to make your own quality drops. We sparked a lot of controversy the last time we wrote on this topic – with a lot of DJs claiming that drops are always tacky and uncalled for – so we’ve made some clear guidelines for when throwing your name in the mix works in your favor.


A traditional DJ drop is a simple name drop of the DJ playing, usually thrown into the mix during a transition or break in the music. Stereotypcially, name drops are heard in three styles:

  • a deep pitched radio announcer/movie trailer narrator male voice
  • a coy, flirtatious, phone-sex-operator-sounding female voice
  • a computerized voice (often the default text-to-speech voices found in Apple computers).

It’s likely a direct result of the overuse of these three styles that so many DJs abhore namedrops and find them as tacky as an airhorn sample. All three  are quite commonly found on radio stations – mainly because those are the resources that radio show producers already have around them (often sending quite a bit of promotional work to professional male and female announcers similar to those described above).


Many drop-seeking DJs see the above styles as models for producing their own drops, and I personally experienced this while working for a mobile DJ company. It’s understandable in that community of DJs because there’s such a strong emphasis placed on selling a sense of professionalism and authenticity to customers. Looking back on it, the recording below now sounds incredibly cheesy – but at the time I was ecstatic that our boss had these made for all of the DJs working for the company.

Beyond simply identifying the DJ, successful drops also lend credence to the importance of the DJ in the mix. For this article, we actually reached out to DJTT friend J. Espinosa (who you might remember from his cameo in this tutorial about switching out DJs) who’s been DJing major radio mixshows since 2001. He holds down three hour long mixshows every single day – two on 94.9FM San Francisco and one on KISS in Phoenix, so he’s an excellent example of a DJ who knows how to use name drops to success. His favorite drops showcase his connections as a DJ:

Name drops that I use are usually just artist drops, working for radio has its perks, we have a lot of artists roll through. I’ll usually use the ones that sound catchy, or if they have a cool accent. Name drops are great for branding. People remember cool name drops, I think every DJ should have at least one!

So let’s take the core lessons here: branding and authenticity. When a name drop works to remind the listener what the DJ is they’re listening to and does so in a way that makes the DJ important in/appropriate for the situation, and it does that without being overbearing, it’s a winner.


It’s always important to start the process of making something new by finding examples of those things that are really well done. We’ve selected a few favorites in this section – but we’re also interested to hear your own examples in the comments below of artists who use successful self-labeling samples.

Also consider that a name drop doesn’t have to be the name of the DJ that’s in the mix – perhaps it’s the name of your label – as A-Trak is known to drop overtop of his mixes and radio show the drawn out “Fooooool’s Gold!” sample. Listen to it in the below teaser track at around 2:15.

Here’s another great tip: instead of a name at all, why not choose a signature sound or sample to associate your mixes and productions with? Crookers’ remixes often have their signature “Wow” sample, and producers in the recent popular Trapstyle/Future Trill genre has taken on their own favorite sample to simply identify their mixes with – “Damn, Son, where’d you find this?” 


As many responses from us posing the question on Twitter last week indicated, there are clearly times, mediums, and genres where it is and isn’t appropriate to use a name drop. We’ve put together a brief set of guidelines as to what works below.

In mixtapes, it’s appropriate to pepper your mix with a variety of call-out samples that remind the listener who’s the curator and mixer behind the mix,- this is especially appropriate in longer, radio friendly mixtapes. Additionally it’s handy to make sure another DJ doesn’t slap his/her name on your downloadable mix and claim it as their own.

In original tracks, remixes, and mashups, it’s generally acceptable to put a drop in the introduction or outro, but when you’re producing a track that you want other DJs to play out, don’t break the feeling of the song just because you want to be recognized. J. Espinosa takes this point a bit further:

I personally hate when producers/remixers slap their name drops into songs. If it’s in the beginning of the track, and its subtle, that’s ok. If I download a track thats “Produced by ____” I think that’s great, but I don’t really think its necessary to hear who produced the track while its being played.

On broadcast and web radio, DJs and radio programs use drops fairly regularly to remind people what they’re listening to and who’s in the mix  – as well to protect any exclusives and world premieres that are being broadcasted as a part of the show. Radio One has exclusive tracks all the time and has to prevent bootleggers from ripping the track for nefarious purposes, so Pete Tong and friends throw protective drops into these particular songs:

Live DJ sets and club gigs is where the drop seems the least appropriate. Most of the time, the DJs who are playing have their names all over the event already, and pull out a significant crowd. Perhaps a very rare drop might be alright, but they often feel absurdly commercial and out of place at house parties, warehouse ragers, and so on. If you’re going to use a drop, either save it for the beginning or end of your set, or it has to fit with the music.

Why not take this opportunity to make some kind of performance out of it? Scratch DJs are the model here – if you can cut up your own drop in a mix, it’ll show off your skills without breaking the groove. Genre/context of the event can be a factor as well – in a more Top 40-focused club, DJs are more able to get away with throwing in their name into the mix than at a deep house party.


Just like any kind of sample playback, timing is everything. Remember that no matter how cool your drop is, people will get sick of it if you use it during every transition in a mix or all over a song.  You also don’t want to kill the vibe of the song you’re playing or drown out the vocals- here’s J. Espinosa’s thoughts on when and how to throw in your IDs:

Preferably DJs shouldn’t hit drops over parts of songs that have words. For radio, I’ll use ’em either before the climax of a song, during a build-up, or over an instrumental. Or get creative and insert your name drop in where another word of a song is, like live wordplay.

I love to use effects on my name drops. I’ll add some echo and tweak it over beats. I don’t really think there are many rules to hitting name drops. If it sounds good, then do it – but too much of anything is never good, so also keep that in mind!


Hiring a professional to record your drop will sometimes be the right choice – especially if their voice matches the sound you’re going for – but don’t doubt your own ability to record a decent quality drop.  We covered the basics of making your own drop in a previous article, including how to record a clean drop into Ableton and using your computer’s built-in speech-generation programs, but we wanted to add a few other ideas into the mix:

  1. FL Studio has a vocal synthesizer that’s dynamic and more interesting to play with than your standard computer-speech voices
  2. For different-sounding text-to-speech voices, try AT&T’s Natural Voices
  3. If you’ve got any vocal presence, consider doing a drop live on the mic and manipulating it on the fly with your mixer’s effects or through your DJ software (anyone interested in a tutorial on using a mic live effectively?)
  4. Don’t be afraid to friendsource. Think about friends and family you know whose voices might work in your drop
  5. Try using Fiverr, a great resource for getting semi-pro/pro drops recorded for $5!


To give you all a tool to get started with, we’re giving away 15 copies of a “DIY DJ Drops Construction Kit” Ableton package from the folks over at Mixaloop who make loops and samples for DJs and producers. In addition to hundreds of FX and Vocal samples, the package provides an Ableton template as a starting context in which to place a “dry” version of your drop and gives it the traditional radio-style context complete with vocal and mastering chains, compression, etc.

We’re giving away the 15 copies to 15 lucky readers who press the “Share” button on the announcement of this article on Facebook – click here to see it and share!

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Comments (71)
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  • GarthBock

    I am looking for 2 drops from the past. I heard them played on WLS in Chicago when I was …ahem….younger…..One was “Get out of bed, You sleepy head, Time to be up and away”. Sounded like a JAM production but I can’t find it anywhere. The other is a parody of a Doris Day song….”Gooood Morning, Good Morning….Hope Yer Feeling Well….Good Morning Good Morning…You LOOK LIKE HELL !” If you can help or have these clips, drop me an email at . thanks !


    if you want the best dj drops in the game professionally recorded by our British female voiceover artist and mixed down by me aka Amnediel check out our website dj drops from only $10

  • DjPure

    I just got my dj drops from Hot stuff man! I love the voice and the effects were on point.

  • Robert

    Hip hop producers are great at the drop for their sounds, Lex Luger in particular has that rising sound that everyone recognizes. Another producer is Rotterdam’s Munchi, he puts a small melody at the beginning of each track that signals his sound.

  • DjDonWan

    Ok I use Traktor scratch is there any Kontrol or program i can get to cue my dj drops

  • Heather

    If you want professional dj drops that are inexpensive and creative go with

  • Mikey D

    good article – well informed
    i love this girls voice probly coz shes british cant get sexier than that

  • Guest

    Seriously, I just had a discussion about this. I can’t stand DJ’s that drop their names 20+ x’s in a mix. That seems to be a self inflated ego thing to me. If your good, your beats are tight, you keep the crowd screaming. Chances are likely they will remember your name. I almost never talk when I’m spinning. I feel the music should do the talking. Play killer tracks and keep it pumping hard, Throw in some crazy vocal clips from film, sample records etc… (not too much), and your dance floor will stay packed. I prove this 5 times a week. They often come up and ask me my DJ name, and there is your opportunity to give them a card or demo CD. I promise, the girl or guy that comes up dripping with sweat from dancing his *** off will remember you.

  • calkutta

    great article fella’s…very well informed.

  • ManDingo

    Next thing thing, you guys will be plugging in commercials in your dj sets from sponsors. “This is DJ Train Wreck brought to you by your local Mickie Deezzz!!” This whole movement is turning into a big corporate sell-out! There’s nothing organic about it. People don’t think for themselves anymore, and If they do have something interesting they share it with the whole planet; Originality out the window. (((((((That’s my rant))))))!

  • ManDingo

    lol, name drops! Whatta joke this industry has become. Unless, the point is to sound like a radio station…commercial CHEESE all over the place.

  • Spin

    Dj reflex has great drops. He had a series where Wil Farel, Wiz, Atrak, etc would pretend to leave voice mail messages asking why he hasn’t called them back. Pretty funny how he doesn’t take himself too seriously.

    I’m an amateur dj and I was thinking about creating my own name drops by saying “this is Barrack Obama, and your listening to ………”. I would do this for a cast of absurd celebrities but not disguise my voice at all. The problem is nobody listens to my mixes so what’s the point!

    • ManDingo

      ha ha ha lol!! That was funny.

  • Mem Rx

    omg YES ean PLEASE do a tutorial on how to use a mic properly during a dj set! as well as a rundown of how the mic strip works on the most common couple of types of mixer (djm, xone, and rane would cover it)

  • DJ Sloope

    “(anyone interested in a tutorial on using a mic live effectively?)”

  • Will Hart


  • Shuriken Tenshii

    I got mine

    *dj drop packages for crews, djs, labels, radio stations, and more.

  • Jamie Hain

    Hudson Mohawke has drops in most of his songs. A whispery female voice saying “HUD Mo…” Works very well and is identifiable as being his drop.

  • Mofli

    At least with a lot of rappers instead of a name drop they have their own adlibs that they use, so that you know it is them without them actually saying their name. Good examples are Jadakiss and Pusha T

  • Skibble


  • DJPhantom

    anyone interested in a tutorial on using a mic live effectively? DERP yeah

  • 1000 Cutts

    I use a couple on my radio show – a wee sequence to start the show and then very sporadic use of “Your listening to 1000 Cutts exclusive and live on” and a highly edited sample of my 3 year old “1000 Cutts – Love it” using loads of tape delay, vocoder and reverb. I have done a few for other DJ’s as well..check it:


    LEX LUGER: (hip hop producer) drop is one of the most creative/ well known in recent times..i found myself asking “whats that sound i keep hearing in all these tunes” and then it lead me to read up more info on him…

  • Anonymous

    you are in the mix with wicka wicka DJ cheesy cheese. bring on the cheese
    lol i need to work on a decent dj drop for my shows, seeing as my radio show is taking off

  • Chris

    aarabmuzik has the best drop ever. I love that girls voice

  • archies'bald

    I was living in a world of make believe
    When my best friend wrote and told me
    That there may be a job in the city
    And you never told me

    • archies'bald

      97-99% of the people on here won’t have a clue about what I’m on about.

      • kevinmcdonough

        LMAO the wet’s! (was sound engineering for them a couple of months ago! 🙂 However don’t see what thats got to do with this? k

        • Page Won

          Look at the picture up top.

  • Max Yankov

    I really like DZA and Slick Shoota use their name drops in the tracks — like other vocal samples bearing their distinct style.

    BTW, I’m right now working on a new project named after one of the most used phrases in the english language. So, I automatically can get A LOT of samples with people saying the name; do you think it would be a good idea to use them as name drops?

  • tobamai

    I haven’t listened to a lot of crooker’s mixes lately… but the “wow” in that one is from the song they’re remixing: the salmon dance.

    • Spacecamp

      It actually makes an appearance in a number of their other remixes around that time – usually at the end of a build.

  • Emery

    I would be interested in an article about mic use. I think its key to be able to use the mic properly. I’d like to see what kind of stuff you guys come up with

    • yme

      the mic should be used if the building is burning down, and you need to tell people where the exits are. otherwise leave it alone

      • DJ Radical Rob

        LOL… agreed. Most DJ’s typically have cheesy sounding voices anyway that’s why you have an emcee or hype man working with you.

        • DJ Wutwut? (not really tho)

          I have to terribly agree… I like to do some shout outs/crowd callouts but in the end I feel my voice sounds wimpy and nerdy lmfao… Ill have my friend yell that shit for me if hes at the gig

      • Sirch

        you’re so wrong.. don’t be afraid. step those mic skills up dude.

      • Mr. E Hz

        Thank you. That, or to tell people that the cops are here and to STFU.

    • Shuriken Tenshii

      I agree. Alot of DJs are against it but how can better hype up the crowd than the one controlling the music. When I DJ, MCs can’t keep up. In the true Atlanta style DJs burn through music like it’s kool. Remixes and mashups are a must. So MCs can’t tell what I’m going to play……and I like that. If you can spin and interact with the crowd, that makes you much more like-able and marketable. No one wants to see a guy staring at a screen or being a mystery becuz he/she is hidden in the booth all night. Pumping up the crowd isn’t easy so you have to be creative. Saying “Lets GO!!” every few minutes isn’t going to cut it. Talk to them. Hell, I shout out random names. “Big shout out to Mark (Chris, Jay, Melissa, E)” and chances are there will be someone with that name in the crowd. Point people out and say “They are ROCKIN over here!!” That makes people look and that group/person dance more. It’s a good way to gauge how you are controlling the crowd. Just experiment. Some DJs got it, others just say “don’t do it” because they simply can’t.

      • dj baels

        you dont dj in atlanta quit lying. mcs cant keep up with ur djing in atlanta? its only the hip hop capital of the world right now… yeah mcs cant keep up with you… go play somewhere liar.

        • Shuriken Tenshii

          First, you are obviously a troll. I dj’d atlanta for years. Now I’m in Japan and other countries DJing. I’ll be BACK in Atlanta in 3 weeks. Secondly, I was speaking about the Atlanta style of speed mixing where you play 10-30 secs of a hot track and then switch. It’s hard for MCs to keep up if they don’t know your style especially if you dropping remixes they’ve never heard. I do it all over and MC for myself because I know what I’m going to play. So if you want to call someone a liar know what you are talking about. Grown men don’t act like little bitches. Troll on Troll.

  • Jim

    A lot of huge rap/hip-hop stars have been doing their own version of drops for a few years now. Rick Ross being the biggest example (no pun intended), every track he is on he drops his name and his label “Maybach Music”. Or Akon saying “convict music” which is his label. I would say the trend is going towards LESS subtle branding.

  • DJ Rob Ticho,Club mU

    My podcast intro definitely has drops included in it. I kept the intro fun by using a bunch of samples from voicemails that my friends left. People love it. I also have samples of friends that I’ll drop mid live set. There’s nothing funnier than seeing someone recognize their own voice while on the dancefloor.

  • Luiz Fueggo

    I come from mid 80s House …and it’s funny to me that this article has to explain what was obvious then. I guess the younger generation need coaching. Remember Bad Boy Bill scratching his drops ? If you don’t …then you may have some use for this article. Sorry if I sound rash …but I rarely use drops, and they still know it’s me.

    • DJ Radical Rob

      I feel you. I read above that there are a lot of trolls out there that will download someone elses mixes and drop their own ID’s over them. Wack and sad, but true. Wicked Mix did that to me back in the days.

  • Spencer "Thunderball" Thayer

    My DJ persona is “Spencer For Hire” so the drops are super easy for me. I just bought the bootlegged Spencer For Hire boxed set and picked the best most silly and dramatic mentions of my name. For example in a live set I’ll drop, “This is Spencer – he thinks he’s a badder mother than you,” “Spencer may look dumb but ya see he’s got a mean right hand,” and my favorite, “I’m going to kill you Spencer! If it’s the last thing I do, I’ll see you dead within the week! Spenceeeeeeeer!”

    Admittedly not every DJ can have such a gold mine of samples.

  • Matt L

    DJ Shadow’s intro for his Endtroducing album is still the one to beat for me. Sure, it’s not a mix, but it would still totally work and the mashing up of tracks goes a long way to showing the DJs skill in less than 30 seconds.

    One of the other ways not mentioned above is to buy the MC a few drinks before you go on, if there is one working that night. Drum & Bass DJs are good with this one and will shout the name of the DJ as often as they call for rewinds.

    • Spacecamp

      Guess who’s coming?

  • Mandingo

    Roska is the king of name drops, his work all the time.

  • jasonmd2020

    I got some distorted timestretched shouting mixed with movie quotes for my erratically scheduled podcast. But then I play a lot of industrial where that sort of crap is expected…


    I still think the Pete Tong one is tacky….. I especially like the Girl Talk one.
    It’s like marketing though…. no one likes a shouter: people don’t like advertising – but people like content – so if you can do something (for instance like DJ Real Juicy here says he does) that feels like content: do it.
    If you can’t: don’t!

    In a DJ set I think Shiftee gave good advice when he said that you should try to mention your name at the beginning & at the end of a set – often the crowd does not know there is a DJ change unless you say so (so for instance giving the one before you a thank you or the one after you a warm welcome seems like a great way to sneak in your name in a sympathetic way)

  • DJ Real Juicy

    I use my drops. I love my drops. They are awesome. I hit my ‘white folks get crunk’ drop in sync with some peak hour tunes and people shout along with it.

    • Spacecamp

      Awesome! can you share it here so we can hear it?

    • Spencer "Thunderball" Thayer

      Yeah you’ve certainly got a cultish following. Way to own it. (not being sarcastic or disparaging)

  • djsteve

    this actually gave me ideas as to when I might use a drop in one of my mixes for soundcloud – normally tho i think drops are tacky, but thanks for showing otherwise.