Brooklyn’s Cosmo Baker is set to spin at the Wexner Center’s Off the Grid Party Saturday, March 8th. Local support will be provided by George Brazil and Nick Tolford & Company.
Cosmo Baker is a heavily revered deejay. In his bio, he claims to be the best DJ in New York.
Cosmo has been spinning for 23 years, so unless you want me to include a 2000 page resume as a PDF let’s just say he helped found the World Famous dance party at the Rub in Brooklyn, and is a Philly-bred guy who has done mixes for everyone on the planet including the Roots Picnic.
I’ve been peeping Baker’s game since On the Go Magazine in the 90s.
But since we are talking Off the Grid, which is a fundraiser for the Wexner Center’s Art Education programs, we will go that route.
In an email interview Cosmo spoke on the importance of art education,“these days when arts programs are being gutted from schools and for the most part young kids only exposure to art comes in the form of public art and advertising, it’s crucial that we all do our best to continue educating other about the importance of art in all aspects of society.”
Growing up in Philly, Cosmo Baker was raised on what he calls the Holy Trinity of Youth Culture, “Skateboarding, Graffiti, and Rap Music.”
In the “Secret Life of Walter Mitty”, Rodney Mullen was Ben Stiller’s skateboarding stunt double. I asked Cosmo who would film his skateboard scenes. Baker said with perfect certainty , “The Gonz (professional skateboarder Mark Gonzales). Why? Cause there’s nobody like him before or since.”
As far as the soundtrack for the Cosmo Baker bio-epic, “Opening credits is gonna have to be Above The Law, “Untouchable” and that’s easy cause it just feels right. And I dunno maybe De La Soul “I Am I Be” for the ending, cause that just sums it up. Cause I am and I be!”
As you can see Mr. Baker keeps it all the way live and wasn’t afraid of any East-Coast West Coast feuds or problems between conscious rap, and gangsta-rap as he was coming up.
So I needed to know his favorite Ohio funk/soul records.
Initially, he resisted having to limit to 3 records responding, “Dude that is NOT a fair question. I’ve said this so many times - Ohio is the funkiest state in the union! You have Roger Troutman. You have Slave. You have Bootsy Collins. You have Dazz. You have Heatwave! YOU CANNOT ASK ME TO JUST CHOOSE THREE.”
But then living up to his title as least hate-able deejay, Cosmo cooperated, “But, if I must, I’ll say The O’Jay’s “Darling Darling Baby” ‘cause of the Philly connection, I’d probably say Ohio Players “Pride And Vanity” and then you have The Isley Brothers and I mean HOW CAN I CHOOSE ONE ISLEY BROTHERS SONG?!? Okay, The Isley Brother ‘Keep On Doin’ which is what I will pick at this very exact moment.”
But hold up now, when I was listening to one of Mr. Baker’s Roots mixes on his sound-cloud, I heard Madonna’s “Vogue.” He responded, “Yo, word up Madonna has that heat. No, I think that’s a version that my friend Them Jeans did a few years ago and it smacks in the club.”
But before you strike a pose; Cosmo revealed his Wexner game plan to me, “I think I am just going to be really groovy and get the people dancing. Each show is different and each show I approach as its own entity. So you’re probably gonna hear some dance music and some raps and some oldies and a bunch of stuff that will be pretty cool.”
And he might skate, deejay and write graffiti but at the Wexner, Mr. Baker also threatened he might put things on lock like Steady-B with some raps, “I dunno, I like to surprise myself so I may fuck around and get on the mic and do some singing and rapping and dancing!”
Cosmo Baker will spin at Off the Grid at the Wexner Center on Saturday, March 8th. Tickets Are $60 dollars currently. They will be $70 at the day of the event.