Born Andrés Hernandez, the Detroit house and hip hop don comes from good stock – his father Humberto ‘Nengue’ Hernandez sang and played percussion with Santana among others, so it’s no surprise that Andrés took a seat behind his first drum kit aged three. Andrés cut his teeth as a DJ in the underage Californian party scene before returning to the Motor City, where he quickly found himself rubbing shoulders with some of the scene’s elite – Kenny Dixon Jr (aka Moodymann), Amp Fiddler and J Dilla, who invited Andrés to join his hip hop crew Slum Village.
Andrés enjoyed his first release on Dixon’s KDJ imprint in 1997, and his DJ Dez hip hop alias also came to life around the same time. The contrasting monikers have existed side-by-side ever since, with Andrés delivering three acclaimed full-length albums for Dixon’s better known Mahogani Music label on the road to launching his own La Vida imprint. DJ Dez steps back into the spotlight in 2014 as he teams up with fellow Detroiter DJ Butter on the A Piece of the Action LP, an album which calls in vocal favours from Kool G Rap, Guilty Simpson, and a host of the pair’s hometown emcee heroes.
This collaborative effort is just the continuation of a career which has seen Andrés work alongside Marcellus Pittman and Rick Wilhite in a Theo Parrish-led collective called The Rotating Assembly, and delivering a DJ Dez album and EP for Underground Resistance’s Hipnotech sub-label in 2003.