Co-Founder | DJ Instructor
Born and raised in Denver, Colorado, Mario Rodriguez came into a world filled with the culture off the streets. Although living under the guidance of his devout Catholic parents, Rodriguez dabbled in everything the streets had to offer from gang life to hip-hop.
Thanks to his older brother Delfino, a graffiti artist and break dancer (b-boy), Rodriguez went route of hip-hop, a culture born on the streets but brought out the creative nature of its participants.
Rodriguez experimented in each of the four elements of hip-hop culture: b-boying, graffiti art, emceeing (rapping) and DJing. While exceling at hip-hop, he needed an appropriate nickname. Delfino was called Fienz on the streets, but Delfino and his friends had a special name for Rodriguez.
“My brother’s friends used to come over to the house when I was in junior high,” says Chonz. “There were no boxers back then really, so I wore whitey tighties, and when they would come over, they’d say, ‘Yo, chones (a Mexican slang word for underwear), go put some clothes on!’ I used to kick it in my chones, take out the trash in my chones, so my name was chones for awhile. Then people just started calling me Chonz.”
Now christened with a nickname, Rodriguez gravitated towards DJing. Inspired by the local Denver DJs, DJ Chonz practiced and honed his skills in his basement for two years before coming out to compete in DJ competition. When he won a local radio DJ competition in 1996 after being undefeated for consecutive weeks, DJ Chonz’s star began to rise on the Denver hip-hop scene.
The win earned him a 30-minute and then a 60-minute segment on the hip-hop radio program “Eclipse: Shedding of a Blacker Light on KGNU” and he was invited to compete in regional and national DJ competitions such as the DMC Mixing Championships, Guitar Center Mixing Championships and the Lowrider-sponsored DJing competitions. The competitions opened the door for Chonz to share the stage with such hip-hop luminaries as Dr. Dre, Eminem, Slick Rick, The Roots, Snoop Dogg as well as tour with De La Soul, Wu-Tang Clan’s Raekwon and Baby Bash.
After making so much noise on the local scene, in 2001 Denver’s largest hip-hop station KS107.5 (KQKS-FM) allowed Chonz and local personalities Francois Baptiste and Kingdom to launch the Radio Bums MixtapeShow, a specialty hip-hop show on Sunday nights. Because of the popularity of the show and Chonz’s skills on the turntable, KS107.5 recruited him to mix live in the studio for the weekend party mix and during the afternoon drive, making him the first DJ to ever mix live on commercial radio in Denver.
Today, with over 20 years of experience, he’s the most recognizable DJ in Colorado and surrounding states. Over the years he’s led the station to No. 1 rankings in various categories including afternoon and night host for the 18-34 demographic from 2009 to 2011 locally and nationally in 2012. He was also responsible for creating the new KS-1075 morning show in 2017.
He’s won numerous awards from Denver’s alt-weekly Westword’s “Best of …” issues including Best Hip-Hop DJ, Best Denver Radio and Best Online Radio show for a daily mix he streamed live on the internet. He was also awarded Best Afternoon Show from the Colorado Broadcast Awards in 2010.
DJ Chonz also continues to dominate the nightclub scene with several weekly events in Denver as well as consistent events in Las Vegas, San Diego, Phoenix and Los Angeles.
When he’s not on the road or in the studio, giving back to the community is important to DJ Chonz. Especially when he can lead young people to find positive life direction from music. This is his fifth year working with CU’s Summer Industry Music Program (June 14-26), where he is involved with providing scholarships for high school students to attend. Thus leading to the creation of the DJ Chonz Foundation 501 (c) (3) Non-Profit in 2018.
Most recently in 2018 DJ Chonz team up with long time friend DJ Staxx to open the Denver DJ School. Which empowers and teaches the youth and adults the art of DJing.
Chonz states “It is a blessing to be able to provide for his family doing what he loves to do”
Co-Founder | DJ Instructor
Juan Rangel was Born and raised in the small town of Brighton Colorado amongst a family rich in music culture.
His Grandfather down to his Uncles all sang or played music as a passion or professionally from the 50’s to the 80’s. “Music was always playing at home...from cleaning, cooking to family parties.” says Rangel. “My mom would be listening to anything from Tex-Mex music, Mariachi music to 50’s & 60’s Oldies. My grandma would be listening to old Mexican music on AM radio stations, and my brothers we’re listening to anything from 80’s Rock, R&B, Funk, Hip-Hop and more”.
Thats when Hip Hop Music caught his attention “It was my 2 older brothers Anthony & Gilbert that introduced me to Run DMC, Beastie Boys, Whodini & more”. It wasn’t until he heard a cassette tape from “DJ Magic Mike & The Royal Posse” that he became obsessed with the cutting & scratching from the DJ on all those 80’s Hip Hop records.
Growing up in a small town there weren’t any resources or enough money for him to pursue his dream of DJ’ing. “My Mom was a single mother of 3 boys just trying to keep food on the table and the lights on”. It wasn’t until 2001 when he was finally able to buy his 1st set of Turntables. He would spend the next 3 yrs in his bedroom working on his craft, and in 2004 he began rocking bars & nightclubs with a local established DJ by the name of DJ Naughty. That is when he was forced to come up with his DJ name. “Naughty told me I had to come up with a DJ name, which I never even thought about. I just wanted to do my thing on the turntables” says Rangel. As he tried to figure out what name to go by, he says “ I was chillin in my DJ room at home, which was messy haha, with stacks of records everywhere!”. Hence the name, DJ Staxx.
DJ Staxx would steadily stay busy rocking bar’s, nightclubs, concert venues, and more for the next 7 yrs. Building a name for himself and earning the respect from more established DJ’s in Colorado. In 2011 his skills on the turntables caught the ear of Colorado’s #1 radio station KS-1075. Where he became a mixer on their Friday & Saturday night street party, and eventually working his way up to an on-air radio personality position where he started hosting his own show on the weekends. Since being at KS-1075 DJ Staxx has shared the stage with artists like Ice Cube, Ludacris, Pitbull, Kendrick Lamar, Lupe Fiasco, J. Cole, Schoolboy Q, G-Eazy, and many more.
In 2011 he took his skill and talent to the local DJ Battle circuit. Where he became the “Building Connections DJ Tribute & Battle” Champion for 2011, 2012 & 2013. In 2013, Denver’s well renowned magazine “The Westword” rated DJ Staxx the #3 Best Hip Hop DJ in Denver.
Nowadays, DJ Staxx feeds his family by still rocking the radio airwaves and utilizing his flawless mixing skills, tasteful record selection & impeccable crowd control to remain as one of the most sought after DJ’s in Colorado.
In January 2018 he teamed up with longtime DJ partner & friend, DJ Chonz to open up Denver DJ School. Which uplifts the youth and adults as they pursue their passion of the DJ culture. “I’m excited to pass this along to the next generation and give them the resources I never had at their age” says DJ Staxx.
For nearly two decades, Aaron "DJ A-L" Ladley has worked towards earning himself the right to be regarded as a highly talented, respected and recommended DJ and Producer in the Denver music scene and beyond. Some of A-L's highlights include being nominated as Denver's "Best DJ", producing the Hip Hop group, the Soul Pros, hosting the longest running hip hop radio show on the planet, the Eclipse as well as organizing multiple ongoing events, including one of the most successful 90's dance parties in the country, SNAP! 90's Dance Party.
Off stage Aaron is a cultural visionary earning that title by regularly teaching music classes as a partner artist with the Denver based organization Youth on Record. With a deep gratitude for his accomplishments and a genuine love for his craft, DJ A-L possesses a passion and a persistent work ethic that will continue to shape his sound and guide his career for years to come.
DJ A-L is a world renown artist and a national touring DJ who has shared the stage with artists such as: Public Enemy, George Clinton, De La Soul, Biz Markie, DJ Q-Bert, Mix Master Mike, Peanut Butter Wolf, Kurtis Blow, The Pharcyde, KRS-ONE and many more!
Music Production / DJ Instructor
Colorado native and Denver resident, Landon R. Gahm (DJLRG) has become a Swiss army knife of Hip-Hop and technology. He got into DJing to avoid following in the same footsteps as some negative influences around him. Getting inspiration from the likes of Dj Qbert, A-Trak, Dj Craze, and worn out DMC videos. As his skills developed, he got his first gig at his high school pep rally and hasn’t looked back since.
In 2008, he Joined the band “Cypher.” The band became a way of crossing music genre boundaries. It was at this time that recording, mixing and mastering became a passion, and he spent as much time in the studio as possible learning everything he could about creating music. Playing the same stages as some of the industries best. Gaining radio and national attention.
Owner of “LIVIN LRG ENT” a company founded in 2012 specializing in events, media, and web services. Running a music studio in Denver with producer “SenS” allowed him to network and work with some of the best talents in the business. Check out their music on all major streaming platforms.
Giving back to the community and the youth is important to him. Showcased by his work with the “Foote Center” to inspire incarcerated youth and volunteering for “Youth on Record.” “It is time to inspire the next generation of Hip-Hop. The Denver Dj School is where that happens.”
Josh Estrada, also known by his performance name DJ RIPM, is an American Open Format DJ / Video DJ / Music Director from Denver, CO. With over 20 years of experience in entertainment, RIPM has grown to become one of the premier requested DJ’s in the country. RIPM specializes in Corporate Events, Weddings, Night Clubs, Professional Sporting Occasions, Bar/Bat Mitzvah’s and a handful of many other exciting events.
Guests enjoy listening to RIPM play the latest tracks, throwbacks and mash-ups as he seamlessly transitions each song while performing as the MC of the event.
He has performed in more than 30 states and 4 countries. He has also had the honor to perform in front of 3 U.S. presidential families.
RIPM has worked with clients such as Google, Microsoft, Visa, Starbucks, The NFL, NHL, The Children's Hospital, American Heart Association, Nike, Puma, Victoria’s Secret, American Airlines, BMW, Ferrari and Bentley to name a few. Booked also as the traveling Special Event DJ for T-Mobile and Comcast/Xfinity events.
He's performed at over 15 professional athletes weddings including John Elway’s Daughter's wedding, Coach Mike Shannon's Daughter's wedding, Eric Decker and country singer Jessie James BIG day, and was featured in their reality t.v. show on the E! channel.
RIPM has been on NBC's Americas Got Talent, Soul Train and interviewed on Fox31 and 9News. He has recently opened up for amazingly talented artist such as Bon Jovi, Big & Rich, Jefferson Starship, Kool & the Gang, Train, The Nitty Gritty Dirt Band, JoJo, Mark McGrath, Salt -N-Pepa and Vanilla Ice to name a few.
Josh also has an app named "DJ RIPM.” It’s a free download on the Apple App Store or Google Play. One of the unique features on his app is you can have your guest send in their song requests to him before or live at your event. It will send him a text instantly with their music selection. You can also stream his mixes or hear the live recording/set list from YOUR event. It’s a fun and quick way to listen to a mixed playlist.