Music is a vital element in the lives of many people. Some people seemingly are listening to music for nearly all of their waking hours; in the morning, in the car and while they work. Others go a step further and make their own music.
Packers linebacker Nick Barnett is no stranger to that notion. He started making mix tapes back in middle school, recording what was popular then and playing them for neighborhood parties in California. But that was only how his interest in music began. It kept growing and growing to the point where he now has his own recording studio in the basement of his house and is working on mixing beats while producing his own rap album. He got really serious about making beats when he was in college.
"I always wanted some turntables, but I never had the money to afford it," said Barnett. "When I got to college I got a little side job and I had my scholarship checks so I saved up a little money. Then I got the equipment and started doing it."
A person from his college had a studio at his house and Barnett mentioned that he somehow got in contact with him. The two became good friends and Barnett would record at his house.
Barnett even hosted an off-season hip hop show in Corvallis while a college student-athlete at Oregon State University, eventually becoming the director of the show during his senior year.
"I knew this guy that was a deejay, and he was the hip-hop director at the time," added Barnett. "I had a show for at least three years and I ended up taking over for him as the hip-hop director when he left." Barnett estimated that the show he hosted and later directed had an audience of around 3, 000 people.
He wasn't alone in his interests in being a deejay and making hip-hop songs. Shamon Jamerson, a teammate of his on the football team shared a similar interest. Barnett worked as a DJ at dance clubs and dances throughout his college years. The events were organized and produced by himself and Jamerson. Through his DJ work, Barnett started to amass his massive vinyl record collection, which now stands at more than 1,000 records. He refused to give into the more technological advances that many DJs utilize.
"As far as DJ-ing goes, I prefer vinyl and turntables. It's only authentic when you have it on a record."
While Barnett has not performed as a DJ since his move from the Pacific Northwest to Green Bay, he has been anything but passive with his music interests. Instead, Barnett is working on something of a much bigger scale: Establishing his own record company, called Defiant Records. He is currently working on getting some artists to sign onto his label. In fact, he doesn't even work as a DJ anymore, in lieu of making beats. So it's easy to understand his nickname of "Nick Beats." He is now well on his way to having his own rap CD.
"I've made a couple songs, but I'm not fully done with the album yet," said Barnett. "They're all (the songs) written about different stuff." Barnett is both rapping and producing his CD at his studio in his house. "I was recording beats in college, but I never had the studio to do it myself, and all the equipment that I wanted, so now I went out and got all that equipment."
Besides from being a linebacker fresh off of an impressive rookie season in the NFL, which saw him lead the Packers in tackles, Green Bay fans might soon be able to not only watch Barnett chase down the oppositions running back every Sunday during fall and winter, but also listen to him every day of the week, 365 days a year.