DJ Petey Rock: Big fish in a small pond

By Brandy Cochran

Special to The Press

Wedding receptions, birthday parties, and night clubs — what do these three have in common? They just aren’t as fun without music. Weakley County has had a professional DJ at their fingertips for well over a decade in Petey Rock, who has been bringing the party everywhere he goes since childhood.

Originally from Chicago, Rock’s family came to Martin when he was six years old and favors small-town living to the city life. That being said, the influence Chicago had on Rock allowed him to bring in something new and fresh to add to Weakley County’s culture back in the 90s: hip hop and dance.

Even at a young age, when most kids were playing with toy cars and dolls, Rock was beat-boxing and poring over the latest hip-hop trends on MTV. By the time he was a teenager, he was already getting recognized by local DJs, such as Eddie Boyd, for his knowledge and talent.

“The main reason I do djing is that everything is sound; the Big Bang was a sound, communication is sound; everything in our world has a sound,” Rock shared with The Press. Soon, he was taking club and private-party gigs, his first being at the old local club, The Hut Nut, back in 1991, where he and his boombox set-up would bring the jam until the final couple would be left on the dance floor.

Rock considers Darwin Windham to be the one DJ who took him under his wing and showed him how to build upon his talent, work crowds, and make smooth musical transitions to create the perfect mood to match the occasion.

After graduating high school, Rock knew exactly the direction he wanted his life to go —“up and in” instead of “up and out.” He enrolled at UTM as a Communications and Broadcasting major, which furthered his knowledge of mechanics, of radio, and connecting with his audience. By the time he graduated, he already had a local reputation for not only being a talented DJ, but also for his dedication to the growth of Martin’s culture. Soon, he was being asked to work several events locally, such as fundraisers, proms, weddings, and his own alma mater’s 30-year class reunion for Westview. If there is a party happening in Weakley County, Rock can easily be found bringing the beats.

Now Rock dedicates much of his time to teaching the local youth at the Martin Enrichment Academy under the guidance of Robert Nunley, another locally-known community enhancer.

“I’ve always wanted to work with kids and try and make a difference in their lives. That’s why I chose to work here and have stayed for three years so far.” Rock says his next big project is to own his own radio station where he can provide the party across the airwaves. Rock shared with The Press that he has been asked several times to move out to Memphis, Nashville, or even back to Chicago, to further his work and fame, but he tells everyone the same thing as he declines, “I’d rather be a big fish in a small pond than a small fish in a big pond.”

Rock says he, “doesn’t feel finished just yet,” but sees his dream of running a local radio station as his ending goal, which will only create even more opportunities for live events and sets. Rock expressed his gratitude for everyone who ever gave him a gig, a chance, and influence. “I want to be a local influencer now, and the best way I see I can do that is by teaching others what I already know about djing,” Rock added.

For those planning a local event or who just want to have the perfect party, contact Petey Rock for all your music, lights, and sound needs. The only thing you’ll end up regretting is skipping your stretches before slipping on your dancing shoes because when Petey Rock brings the party, the party don’t stop.

Editor’s note: Brandy Cochran is an entertainment writer for the Weakley County Press. She may be contacted by email at peace.love.brandy@gmail.com.

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