Living Legends: Spinning, Mixing His Way to the Top DJ Vince Adams

Steve Jobs did it; Savion Glover did it; and so did Vince Adams.

These men successfully turned their hobbies into businesses.

Not only did they excel, but also they were, and are, the leaders of their professions.

Adams graduated from Florida A&M with a degree in business administration in 1993. Nineteen years later, he is a renowned disc jockey who turned a pastime into a brand. Adams has established himself as the modern-day Jam Master J.

Adams is the DJ that event planners rely on for urban, upscale, corporate, charitable and athletic events, according to his website He was recognized as one of Chicago’s top DJs in Hip Hop Weekly magazine’s “Hottest Hip Hop Cities,” and was the featured DJ for Tom Joyner’s Fantastic Voyage Caribbean Cruise in 2010.

He was born and raised in Chicago, and attended Whitney Young High School, the same school as first lady Michelle Obama. Adams said FAMU recruited many students from his high school because it was the top public school in Chicago.

“There were many Whitney Young graduates who were also Famuans,” said Adams. “There was a fair amount of us who came down there, most specifically, the School of Business and Industry.”

He continued, “I got a letter in the mail that said ‘Dear Superstar’ from SBI that said they had a recruiting breakfast at the Weston Hotel in downtown Chicago. I met and talked to students who went to FAM. They loved it and I loved it. I wound up going down and FAMU was my first choice.”

Adams said his interest in music began shortly after birth since he was always surrounded by it.

“My interest into becoming a DJ started towards eighth-grade,” Adams said. “I got my first DJ equipment as an eighth-grade graduation gift and I guess it kind of moved from there.”

His DJ career began when he was a freshman when he was asked to DJ for the annual “Meet the Greeks” showcase, an event held at the beginning of every fall semester. Following the event, some students heard he owned equipment and wanted him to DJ for a house party.

Adams didn’t have aspirations on being a public DJ. But, since he was in a high demand, he began to play events for FAMU and FSU’s Student Government Association.

“It became a business for me more so after graduation,” said Adams.

He used the business sense he acquired from SBI, internships and corporate jobs to start his own company.

Adams is also a member of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc. His friend and fraternity brother David Jackson, the chair for the department of history and political science at FAMU, said his fondest memory of Adams was helping him to become an Alpha.

“He’s a person who is a visionary and focused on things he wanted to do,” Jackson said.

Jackson added, “I think that even back in college he did his work, but he was still DJing back then. He was always looking at ways to elevate his game. In terms of that, he was cognizant that he wanted to finish school; he wasn’t down here messing around.”

Joel Johnson, the president of Chicago alumni of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc., was the best man at Adams’s wedding and said he has known Adams since their freshman year of high school, and they experienced FAMU together.

“Vince is a genuine person and a good friend,” said Johnson. “He builds honest relationships with people, not just professional. He is very caring about people who are close to him and those who he has built those friendships with.”

Adams’ career has given him the opportunity to meet many celebrities and even the president.

“A landmark event [for me] would certainly be being chosen to DJ at President Obama’s first Chicago fundraiser of this year,” Adams said. “Having the opportunity to meet the president, and just being a part of this re-election for 2012, is an honor. When you are a freshman, first time on the yard, you don’t expect a hobby […] would ever get you to meet the president.”