Many people claim to be ahead of their time, but how many actually are? Adam Goldstein, better known as DJ AM, was one of the few. The early bird to both genre bending mashups and collecting kicks with a baller budget, AM helped usher in each wave years before they hit the primetime, doing so with a sense of passion, fearlessness and fun that still inspire today.
While those in the know in both DJ and kick culture are familiar with the legacy of AM’s career and collection, it’s often lost on the many that never met him on just how generous and down to earth he was. The new documentary As I Am: The Life and Time$ of DJ AM aims to tell the story of AM the artist, man and humanitarian who did much for music, much for recovering addicts and much for his friends.
As the documentary looks to pick up funding (yes, you can support by purchasing kicks from his world-renowned collection), we caught up with his good friend and collaborator DJ Kevin Scott to learn more about the man, the musician and the kick collector that will forever be DJ AM.
Nice Kicks: How did your friendship with DJ AM begin?
DJ Kevin Scott: I was producing vinyl records for DJ’s and he wanted to get some free stuff. DJ Vice put me in contact with him and we hit it off instantly. We had a ton of the same interests: DJ’ing, 80s music, playing poker, cats, early 90s rave music, just a bunch of common interests. We would chat on AOL Instant Messenger all night and battle each other over music until the sun came up. We became pretty inseparable very quickly.
Nice Kicks: For those that never got to meet DJ AM, what was he like?
DJ Kevin Scott: Completely down to earth. A guy’s guy. He loved to make his friends happy, he was very generous but also very competitive. He had a great sense of humor and an incredibly broad knowledge of music history. He also was amazing at connecting people together that could help each other. He helped so many people in business, recovery, and so many other areas. He loved to see his homies do well.
Nice Kicks: His sneaker collection was well documented. What are some of your memories regarding DJ AM involving kicks?
DJ Kevin Scott: That he REALLY loved having kicks that no one else had or could get. He was a wearer of kicks so he rocked them out for the world to be envious of. He pretty much never kept anything deadstock. If you wore something fresh, he would say, “Man, I already got those, but do you have these?!” and pull out something he knew you didn’t have. It was all in fun though, he was just competitive and wanted to one-up you at all times. His favorite day-to-day kicks were definitely the Black/Cement Air Jordan 3s and the Air Jordan 1 “Chicago” colorway (Editor’s Note: This was over a decade ago, so we’re talking Nike Air on the heel AJ3s and ’94 AJ1s).
Nice Kicks: What made his interest in sneakers so organic?
DJ Kevin Scott: He always referred to kicks as “works of art,” he loved the shapes, the colors, everything about them. He felt his whole attitude changed when he wore a fresh pair of kicks. I think shoes really reminded him of his childhood growing up Philly, where sports and music and kicks were the thing. DJ Clark Kent says in the AM doc, “When you walk in the club, you want to look right” — it was part of the uniform for AM. He wanted to look fresh and have style at all times.
Nice Kicks: What would you consider AM’s biggest contributions both to modern music and the sneaker culture?
DJ Kevin Scott: For music, he was a born tastemaker. He set trends and did things before they were cool. No genre of music was off limits, he was never afraid to play any song at any time and he brought different groups of people together, people that wouldn’t normally be together grooving to the same music.
For sneakers, it was appearing in Nike commercials alongside Kobe Bryant, having a cameo in the HBO show “Entourage” as a sneakerhead instead of a DJ. That was a really big deal to him that they cast him for one of his personal interests and not just for what he did as a career. These types of things helped push the DJ and shoe culture further into the mainstream.
Nice Kicks: How do you think DJ AM’s star would have risen in regards to mixing and sneakers in the modern era of music streaming and social media?
DJ Kevin Scott: Pretty obvious with music but not as much with sneakers. With music, he was already starting to do festivals like Coachella and EDC so he’d be on the main stages of the biggest festivals and clubs on earth spreading good music to all. He would also be heavily involved in production by now as he was already starting to dabble right before he passed. In regards to kicks, I’m sure his ever growing fame would have increased the hype on many sneakers and retros as he was photographed often out in the wild rocking the rarest of kicks with the hottest of girls.
Nice Kicks: What would you say is the biggest takeaway from this documentary?
DJ Kevin Scott: That it is an appreciation of his skills and his willingness to go above and beyond to help others. The by-product of that is that it may lead those in need down the path to recovery. It may also inspire DJs musically to take more chances and not always play it safe. It’s definitely a cautionary tale but at the same time it’s an inspirational story that you can overcome a dark past and do great things.
Nice Kicks: Aside from supporting the documentary, how can kick collectors best remember and support DJ AM and his legacy?
DJ Kevin Scott: It’s about highlighting his passion for the sneaker world, wearing your kicks and carrying on that passion to the new generation. He was very much an old soul who loved the classics like Nike Dunks, Jordan 1s, 3s and 4s — the OG stuff that started the phenomenon. Be open to the kicks that came before you.
To learn more about the DJ AM documentary and to maybe even help fund it, click here.