Culture

Profile: DJ Godfather

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When walking through the home of Cornell Corley, better known as DJ Godfather, you may think that you have been transported back in time. With a basement lined with 45’s and 12’s, it is clear that The Godfather has been doing his “thang” for a really long time.

As an avid purveyor of all music, Corley began playing the trumpet in elementary school. He soon upgraded to the piano, and then began taking guitar lessons. The turning point for him was a high school dance. Captivated by the turn tables, he immediately became interested in becoming a deejay. That Christmas, he received his first set of turntables and his lifelong career began. Cornell has a knack for turning a negative into a positive and seeing situations in their best light. As a child, his grandmother would buy him clothes and suits from the local Goodwill. In wearing them to school, the girls would tease him and compare him to the head of the mafia in the movie “The Untouchables.” He said they would say,
“What, you think you’re The Godfather with those suits on,” in a laughing manner. Not only did Corley adopt the moniker, but it has become the basis for which he has built a 35-year entertainment business.

There is much more to DJ Godfather than great suits and good music. He is a modern-day renaissance man. In addition to his deejaying business, Corley is a self-taught diesel mechanic, nearly the only person of color in his company, and more recently he has opened a tire and automotive center. In speaking with him about his entrepreneurial spirit, he said growing up he watched his father and his uncles sell everything as street vendors on Philadelphia’s Broad Street. He always knew that he wanted to have his own business.

In creating a legacy in the world of deejaying that has spanned well over 35 years, DJ Godfather says at the end of the day, all the music is the same. It is the notes, and the altering of them that gives you the different tonalities that we see in hip hop, country and r&b. He loves that he can inspire people and feels good if people can have a good time while listening to the music he is playing. He is currently working on bringing a live instrument portion to his entertainment and was in the middle of practicing his trumpet as we spoke.

When asked what advice he has for the community and younger people who may want to get into entertainment and music, he had this to say:

“Stop worrying about what other people are doing that is the key to success. Be yourself. Create your own identity and the rest will come. The first thing is study your craft, and your craft will make way for you.”

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