DJ 4 The Win has a unique combination of mixing, emceeing, and producing skills in his wheelhouse that have propelled him into one of the most in-demand DJs in Wichita. Now that he’s entering his eighteenth year in the music industry, the Wichita native is ready to spread his knowledge and help the city’s next generation of musical talent.
Although he is a novice to disk jockeying, Win has years of experience as a grammy-nominated producer, who traveled the globe creating countless hit singles with some of hip-hop’s biggest names, like Gucci Mane, 50 Cent, and R.Kelly.
Since he was a child, music has been a huge part of Win Crabtree’s life. He credits Marian Latimer, his Buckner elementary school music teacher, with teaching him the basics of music and how to play instruments like the piano and drums.
As a broke college student bagging groceries, he gave serious thought to what he wanted to do for the rest of his life. He knew he wanted it to be centered around music. In 2005, Win took a leap of faith and uploaded his music online in hopes of getting his beats to the top of the beats online charts.
“ I started getting emails from artists who were willing to PayPal me $500 for a beat, and I was shocked,” said Win. “ I’m making $80 a week bagging groceries, and now somebody wants to pay for a beat, so after that, I started taking producing seriously.”
Following this realization, Win dropped out of school and embarked on his journey of becoming an industry music producer. In 2008, he secured his first record deal with Shawty Redd, a producer based in Atlanta. This allowed Win to work with Jezzy, an Atlanta rap legend, and he began cementing himself as one the better young producers in a fast-growing online music community.
In hip-hop, a producer plays an integral part in how a song is made behind the scenes. Win, now 34, says he spent hours in the studio playing around with different sounds that he hoped would catch the ear of the artists he was working with.
This level of craftsmanship paid off and led him to travel across the country producing in Los Angeles, Denver, Detroit, and more. He produced several songs that appeared on top 200 billboard album charts and in nationally televised commercials, which allowed him to brush shoulders with some of his idols in music.
While he was ascending in his career, Win felt he was spending so much time working that he missed valuable time as a husband, father, and son. So in 2019, Win moved back to Wichita to take care of his sick father and continue producing; the only problem was the lack of a real hip-hop scene in the city.
“ When I moved back to Wichita, I felt like I started from square one as an entrepreneur, but I met DJ Barefoot who helped me realize, just because you’re not producing, you can still be involved in music,” said DJ Win “I already had the production background; I knew how to count bars and bass beats. Now that I was playing music in front of a crowd, it felt like a natural transition.”
In 2020 Win received his first DJ gig with DJ Barefoot at Chicken and Pickle, where he took the opportunity to develop his own spin on the art form.
As a DJ, he feels he can read a crowd and produce the kind of high energy that makes people want to dance. Well-versed across many musical genres, he wants his sets to include a little something for everyone at the party.
“We have worked with DJ 4 the Win as our house DJ along with DJ Bearfoot for over a year. His music knowledge and skill have been proven time and again the right choice for all of our needs at Chicken N Pickle,” said Sasha Berg, event coordinator for Chicken N Pickle.
Working at Chicken and Pickle opened several more doors for Win. He’s being booked to DJ weddings, parties, and Riverfront Stadium for the Windsurge games, in addition to Wichita State basketball games.
His New Mission
After discovering newfound success in 2020, the new year would prove to be one of the toughest of Win’s life. He was nursing his father through a long health battle in addition to his own health challenges, which resulted in a lot of stress and mental exhaustion that Win said bled into his professional life.
“ When my father passed, it gave me the clarity I needed in life, and to take a step back and have that “Ahh” moment,” said Win. He shifted his focus to the next phase of his life, paying his blessings forward and helping the Wichita music community.
“ I made the decision to dedicate more time to helping the next wave of producers in Wichita,” Win said. “I want to help upcoming producers with beats that are industry quality, help them understand contracts, and just open up my network to upcoming people, so they can learn from my mistakes and hopefully go on to do bigger and better things.”
Win recently created a website that will allow people to book him for events and reserve one-on-one training with Win in remixing and audio production.
In the end, Win wants to provide some hope to his hometown.
“You know, ultimately, I just really want to be someone that aspiring music talent in my community can reach out to,” Win says.