Around six years ago, a Montclair State student sat in the newly created “Sam’s Place,” an on campus-dining hall. Little did most know this is where Farid Oyelaja, more commonly known as DJ Ridd, created the name for his highly successful company, BaseLine Productions.
“I think they were talking about the base of the ceiling,” Oyelaja recalls, when coming up with a name for his new production company. “I said to my friend, ‘Why don’t we call it BaseLine?’” Oyelaja explained how his company was spelled “Base” as opposed to the commonly known musical term “Bass” because of the wide variety of services they provide.
BaseLine Productions, started by DJ Ridd, has been in existence for three years, but the idea began years before, when Oyelaja first got his start as a disc jockey, hired by the Montclair State Student Recreation Center. The company is highly recommended and has worked with “WEtv, David Tutera’s CELEBration, the Michael J. Fox Organization and many more,” according to the BaseLine website.
Before the idea to start a production company had even occurred to Oyelaja, he didn’t always want to be a DJ. When he first started exploring his love for the music industry, he initially wanted to be a producer. “A producer is the one who mixes the songs and the DJ is the one who plays them,” Oyelaja said.
Oyelaja has worked DJing events for celebrities such as Lil Kim and Big Ang (from Mob Wives). He has also performed alongside fellow DJs and artists who have recently become quite popular, such as Afrojack, Zedd and “Trap Queen” artist Fetty Wap (noting that this performance with Wap was before the mainstreaming of his hit single).
Oyelaja recalled, “The coolest night of my life was when I DJed with Quintino, he made a song called ‘Epic.’ I even have a picture with him.” However, Oyelaja would never have been able to DJ for such huge stars if he hadn’t had his start as a DJ at Montclair State.
“When I first picked up DJing, [Assistant Director of the Student Recreation Center] Keith Fonseca offered me a job when I was in one of the lowest points of my life,” Oyelaja said. “He gave me a laptop and told me to play music and I just thought it was for fun.”
Earlier at the age of 12, Oyelaja bought his first Windows computer. “I started doing more research and found out about turntables. Even though I saw [a turntable] the year before (at my sister’s house), I had never figured out to put two and two together,” Oyelaja said.
After continuously DJing for the Rec Center at Montclair State, Oyelaja saved his earnings to keep purchasing new equipment and finally bought a turntable, expanding his collection of DJing tools to master this new trade he fell in love with.
“A curious mind turned into a hungry mind and I wanted to do it more and more,” Oyelaja said. He then started offering his services to other events at Montclair State, where he currently DJs at numerous on-campus events such as Greek Life outings, SGA events and many more.
“It’s not a name one person gave me [nor] a name I gave myself. It’s something that multiple people said to me on multiple occasions. I started being known for [the] trade for working at Montclair for so long,” Oyelaja said in response to his title on campus as “Mr. Montclair.”
Oyelaja is extremely humble, discussing how he doesn’t feel he has earned the title so many on campus have given to him. He doesn’t count DJing as work, he said, because he loves it so much and he always has room to improve and master his craft.
“I swear to God if it wasn’t for Montclair State University,” Oyelaja started to explain, he never would be where he is today as a DJ. “I would be in the corner pushing buttons at some job in an office somewhere.” Oyelaja said he owes most of his success and start as a DJ to Montclair State.
As far as for the future, Oyelaja hopes to own a large corporation on a global scale. Oyelaja is currently at Montclair State earning his MBA. As an ultimate thank-you, he hopes to one day give back to the school that gave so much to him.
“I will always love Montclair,” Oyelaja said, “and I hope to give a huge donation back to this school someday. That’s my goal with BaseLine.”
“My hope for the future is to make this company successful and exceed all expectations. I’m not looking to just change the world, I’m just looking to influence someone’s life,” Oyelaja said.
As far as advice for aspiring DJs, Oyelaja said, “Rome wasn’t built in one day. Find your art. Find what you’re good at. Whether it’s a genre [or] a trend, find what you’re good at and what comes easy to you.”