Jarmon’s mixes bring NCCU basketball to life
A soundtrack has been playing in McDougald-McLendon Gymnasium that goes with N.C. Central’s undefeated men’s basketball season in the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference.
Jalen “DJ Double J” Jarmon is the maestro.
Trending at historically black colleges and universities are basketball games featuring live deejays providing walls of sound to go along with pep bands, NCCU athletics director Ingrid Wicker-McCree said.
Some schools pipe music into their gyms using iPods, Wicker-McCree said.
Which brings to mind radio stations that go the route of automated programming instead of warm bodies on microphones interacting with listeners.
Jarmon, 19, never opens his mouth, though. He speaks with his hands. Sign language, you might call it, the way he manipulates his fingers on those turntables to move the crowd.
“For those of us who know good deejaying and those of us who know good music, his skill set is great,” NCCU student-body president Reggie McCrimmon said.
McCrimmon was interpreting Jarmon’s sign language the other day in McDougald-McLendon. There was a break in the basketball action, and a game of musical chairs ensued at half court. Jarmon was starting and stopping the music, and McCrimmon, the last one sitting, walked off the court as the champ.
Attendance is up at NCCU basketball games. That’s what winning does for a team that hit plenty of potholes while on the road to becoming a Division I program, Wicker-McCree said.
“Our student support has just been overwhelming this year,” Wicker-McCree said.
LuAnn Edmonds-Harris had the idea to have Jarmon bring his music to the gym, Wicker-McCree said. Edmonds-Harris is the marketing director for NCCU athletics, and she coaches the cheerleaders, as well.
The fans are showing up with energy, and Jarmon said he is there to elevate what they bring to the gym.
“He does a great job, and he’s been doing it for a very long time, even before he became a student at NCCU,” Wicker-McCree said.
Jarmon is a sophomore majoring in music at NCCU, where he plays the tuba in the Marching Sound Machine band.
George Smith, NCCU’s associate athletics director of external affairs who also is a strength-and-conditioning coach at the school, years ago would invite Jarmon to deejay on campus, Wicker-McCree said.
Jarmon knows his music — Rick Ross, Rick James, it’s all good as far as he’s concerned.
Wicker-McCree said Jarmon is pretty good about mixing jams from back in the day with what’s hot now. That why a cut like Guy’s “I Like” was pumping the other day.
“I was raised on old-school,” Jarmon said.
He has been deejaying since he was 5 years old. His father, Delbert “DJ Kraze” Jarmon, showed him how to do it when he was a student at Fayetteville Street Elementary School, and he kept working on his craft during his days at Shepard Middle School and at Hillside High School.
“I taught it all to him,” Delbert Jarmon said.
If more seasoned citizens are in McDougald-McLendon, then Jalen Jarmon will spin oldies but goodies.
When the mood in the gym is mellow, rhythm-and-blues is the background music.
But if NCCU gets, say, four dunks in a row, then listen for one of the top hip-hop hits on the charts.
“If the intensity is up, then I’m going to go with the intensity,” Jalen said.
That’s when Wicker-McCree might be found leaning against the wall by one of the baselines, looking professional. A closer observation could disprove any notion that doctorate degrees and dancing don’t go together.
“Hey, I love music and sometimes you can’t help it,” said Wicker-McCree, who has a doctorate in education.
“It makes me feel good,” Jalen Jarmon said about his ability to get his music inside folks. “It lets me know that I’m doing my job. A lot of deejays come in here and think they know how to move the crowd, and they don’t. It’s kind of like they’re confused a little bit.”
NCCU’s next home game is Feb. 23 at 4 p.m. against rival N.C. A&T State University. There’s no telling what Jalen Jarmon will have coming out of his speakers.
Among Jalen Jarmon’s goals is deejaying for a major recording artist and showcasing his skills overseas.
“My name around here — it’s getting there,” he said. “The majority of people know who I am. Sometimes they just can’t put the picture with the face.”
The sounds inside NCCU’s gym, though, are undeniable.