DJ Stack’s spin on things: Ajoyi Stackhouse

Robin Bridges

DJ Stack performing at First Fridays event on NEIU’s Main Campus. You can learn more about DJ Stack on her website at

Regina M. Torres, Writer

NEIU student, DJ Stack, was born unable to breathe. Her full name is Ajoyi Stackhouse is a representation of the joy of overcoming such a traumatic beginning of life. Now in her early thirties, and residing in Waukegan, Stack is finally enjoying the fruits of her labor, running her own DJ service in Chicago and the surrounding suburbs.  

It’s been a long and interesting haul for Stack. One that has involved a love of music since she was just a child.

“Ever since I was little, I’d take my allowance and go to Sam Goody and get CDs,” Stack said.

Some of Stack’s early memories involve playing living room DJ for her brother and the girls he would bring home, or becoming the main  DJ at her friend’s parties, “because I always had a stack of CDs, and people liked the stuff I had.”

This musical fondness continued for Stack even after she joined the Navy upon graduating high school.  There, she spent over a decade aboard ships while making mixed CDs for her friends to listen to. Stack got her start at being an official DJ by providing beats for her military crew members by 2009, “There would be times that we would be land-docked for 40 days, and there would be beer parties. Those were cool times.”

When she finished her stint in the navy, she had accumulated about seven years of DJ experience.

“I was an okay DJ, but wanted to embrace and learn more about the culture of DJ’ing,” she said. This is when she decided to get an education and solidify her skills at Scratch DJ Academy. Not only did this experience provide a positive social network for female DJs, where they would practice together and support each other, but it also led to Stack’s being hired by the academy as a professional DJ.

While spending her time studying at NEIU, she has DJ’d for Latino History Month, a science event, and for about two years she did a show called NEIU’s #1 Podcast. This led to even more DJ gigs. In her words, “The campus has really shown me love.”

Today, Stack DJs for corporate and private events.  Although she prefers the sound quality  of turntables/vinyl records, she operates without them. Instead, she uses a controller unit, laptop and Serato — a popular DJ software program.

In her words, “With controllers you don’t need anything but your laptop and external hard drive. Your music is transferred through that way. I just don’t carry vinyl even though I prefer it. It’s a pain to move turntables.”

Stack said the DJ’ing scene has transformed over the years in certain ways, which is why she finds herself DJing for unique places such as a Trampoline park, as well as more traditional events such as weddings.

“It’s great that stores are getting DJs into their spaces for events,” Stack said.  “It sets a vibe. I wish I could convince them all to do it, because music and DJs — we change the scene so much.”

Stack also finds it interesting and positive that most of her bookings are from women.

“I’m all about chick empowerment and building community amongst female DJs and clientele,” Stack said. “We shouldn’t be in competition with one another. Instead, we each offer something unique. I think we need to stick together because it’s a male dominated field.”

As for the types of music that Stack enjoys playing most? “I like a lot of different genres of music. Hip hop and old school house music like Chicago’s Marshall Jefferson. I’d even throw some disco in there,” she says with a laugh.