DJ Franzen has a strong connection to the ’90s, not simply because the Drai’s resident lived through the decade but because he was an integral part of it.
In 1990, at just 14, the San Francisco native landed a gig with the hottest radio station in the Bay Area. Soon, he was dropping mixtapes and hosting his own music video TV show (of which this writer still has VHS recordings). He’s credited for breaking records like Notorious B.I.G.’s “Juicy” and 2Pac’s “I Get Around” on the radio.
A stalwart of Las Vegas’ club and radio scene since 2001, Franzen will play those and other throwback jams during his ’90s- and 2000s- themed House Party this weekend at Drai’s. Inspired by the 1990 cult comedy House Party, the venue will get a makeover complete with neon accents, a couch and a TV—“like a real house party,” Franzen says. Guests are encouraged to dress the part, too. Last time, Franzen dressed as Bilal, Martin Lawrence’s DJ character in the original film.
The most important element, of course, is the music. “The content of the music back then—it was a lot of love. It was just special,” he says. “You could hear an instrumental from the ’90s and catch a vibe from it.”
Need a refresher? Here’s a crash course.
What you’ll hear: “Juicy” is an absolute guarantee. Franzen incorporates it in all of his sets. “‘You never thought hip-hop would take it this far’—that song is still relevant today. And everyone knows that song. If you say you’re a hip-hop fan and you don’t know ‘Juicy,’ you better start studying right now,” he says. A good DJ is also a good wingman, so expect Franzen to drop Tevin Campbell’s “Can We Talk” to help you initiate that move. And for the ladies, TLC’s “No Scrubs” is a must. “They’ve all been with a scrub before, and they love singing it,” he says.
What to wear: Dust off your JNCO and beyond-baggy Anchor Blue jeans. Oversized clothing is a staple, Franzen says, as are brands like Tommy Hilfiger and Nautica. The Aaliyah look—bandana, sunglasses, crop top and baggy jeans—is popular, too. Dressing up helps partygoers break out of their shells. “People socialize more because they’re not themselves,” Franzen says. “They catch that energy from others and dance and sing, too.”
How to act: The cardinal rule is to live in the moment. “Don’t be on the phone all night. If I’m DJing and I see that, I’ll call you out,” Franny says. “You come to the club to party, not to look at Instagram.”
DJ Franzen’s House Party November 25, 10:30 p.m., $20-$30. Drai’s, 702-777-3800.