You might think of LittleRatchetSoul as the premiere, go-to, female DJ in Columbus, but she has revealed herself to be so much more than that. A fashion connoisseur, personal stylist, creative director and master of the turn up, LR$ is an experience provider. I sat down with her last week to get a glimpse into her world and see what makes her tick.
I’d known LR$ only as a DJ, so when she agreed to sit down with FlyPaper, I thought we’d be somewhere that centered around music. However, when she shot me her location, I ended up at a home photography studio. She was working with a model on a shoot that she’d curated. Not understanding the role a DJ would have in such a project, I asked what exactly she did.
When You See Me, Know I Styled Me
“Everything,” she plainly stated. “Me and Chyna curated the entire concept. I styled her and provided the aesthetic.” That’s when I knew that there was much more than meets the eye for LR$.
Fashion was LR$’s first love. She’s worked for years in the industry. In 2015, she was a sales associate for the urban shoe boutique Sole Classics where she worked hand-in-hand with JD to design the layout of the store. She’s also served as a personal shopper at the Clothes Mentor, where she’d help dress customers in their own unique styles.
“I got into doing that because I like to dress,” LR$ said. “I don’t do much of it anymore because I’m focused on DJing, but you know, it’s still near to my heart because I style myself. Whenever you see me out, that’s all me.”
LR$ told me she’s also been responsible for planning events during Gallery Hop and does creative direction here and there. That all of this was a surprise to me is intentional. LR$ purposely set aside styling because she wanted to take her music more seriously.
“I’m really locked in and focused right now.”
Focus is one of those buzz words that many people use to give the image that they are hard at work, but for LR$, she really means it. She rarely goes out anymore unless she’s DJing because to her, “focus” means putting your all into what you want to do. That means she’s always learning, practicing, studying and shadowing other DJs so she can pick up the tools of the trade. You might not think of practice when talking about the DJ trade, but LR$ details how she spends many hours YouTubing, trying new mixes and mastering transitions and drops.
“I want everybody to know me,” LR$ says when I ask her why she DJs. “I want to be the best and I want to create a platform for people to have fun.”
In that is the crux of LR$’s identity. When I first saw the name LittleRatchetSoul, I didn’t know what to think. Ratchet calls to mind so many different connotations. For some it may mean overtly sexual vibes and for others it means raging, wildly and out of control. There are many who use “ratchet” as a substitute for the virtually taboo word “ghetto.” I pressed LR$ on what it meant to be ratchet, or to have a ratchet soul.
“It’s all of that,” she explained. “Ratchet is a feeling. It’s twerking, dancing, partying, getting lit, just fucking turn up.”
Ultimately, LR$ wants to be responsible for people having a good time and is aptly named so. Her name was created several summers ago when she was hanging out with her friends Sean D and Jam. They were all at the kick it spot. LR$ was loud and dancing and somebody exclaimed, “We gonna call you lil ratchet. You ratchet!” Nothing was the same. When asked if she was concerned that being labeled as ratchet was a turnoff, she respectfully responded that she doesn’t give a fuck.
“I sometimes use LR$,” she explained. “But my ratchet is a fun ratchet. We’re just having fun. We ain’t out here being dirty or unclean. If you not trying to turn up, then you wouldn’t understand. I’m here to create and make others have fun creating an escape from the shit they’re going through.”
Like her name, LR$ came by DJing honestly. She was always on the scene, whether it be at parties, clubs or kickbacks. Whenever it was appropriate, she’d be in charge of the music. She makes it clear, this was by request and not because she asked for it. Her friends would ask her to get the vibe right and LR$ would always deliver. It was after attending functions with DJs Tron Music and ChrisMarsB that she really began to respect the art of DJing. Impressed with their transitions and the way they controlled the vibe of a room, she worked hard to elevate her own craft and be a respectable DJ as well.
Versatility is a Lifestyle
Adopting her inner-ratchet does not mean that LR$ is one-dimensional. “I have sets of playing the most raunchy stuff,” she said. “I can do reggae, dance hall, R&B, soul. I’m not into EDM but that’s where the money is so I’ma figure that out too.”
LR$ likens herself to Sango, a producer who does trap, soul, reggae and R&B. LR$ recommends you go check out their music to get an idea of what her vibe is like. To exemplify how diverse her services are, she refers to an event thrown by Hmadi called Black Ice. Black Ice’s target audience is the LGBT community, which LR$ says means you have to cater to a wide variety of sounds. The fact that she was able to rock that party, shows her flexibility and range. She’s now working to further expand her tool bag by venturing into the world of production.
Though LR$ prides herself on putting underground artists in her sets, she doesn’t feel an extra obligation to play local artists. She holds other creatives to the same standard of work ethic she holds for herself. “You have to work hard,” she says. “Put out quality music, the proper way. It’s that dedication thing. You focus and put time into your craft and then you make it easy for DJs like me to play your music.”
That said, LR$ is big fans of artist like Fabby Rotten, TrigNO and OG Vern. She also has a lot of love for Chelsea Pastel from Cleveland.
LR$ may be the most well known female DJ in the city right now, but she still feels like she has a chip on her shoulder. Though she is generally beloved, and gets extra love because she’s a woman, there is a heavy skepticism that she faces just because of her gender.
There are people who come up to her and ask, incredulously, “You DJ?” She feels like people sometimes don’t think that she has the ability to rock a party, as if she’s not supposed to be there. LR$ feels a personality responsibility in helping to change that line of thinking.