The Atlanta Hawks were recently ranked #1 in NBA game experience.
If you’ve recently been to a game, you know the music plays a big part. To kick off International Women’s Month, we reached out to the person spinning the records, Chika Takai, who is an official DJ for the Hawks. Chika moved from her native Japan to Atlanta in 2014. She was a Hawks dancer and team captain before moving into a DJ position. She’s also a sought after DJ for corporate and community events in the U.S. and Japan.
When Chika isn’t entertaining the crowds, she supports The Study Abroad Foundation of the Arts (SAFA) nonprofit to create professionally, academically, and culturally enriching study-abroad experiences for those in various industries, including the arts.
Here are her Top 5 Favorite Songs by Atlanta artists.
1. “Welcome to Atlanta” (Jermaine Dupri) This is literally the first song that came to mind to start my list, and I’m sure it’s the same for a lot of others, too! How do you learn about Atlanta’s hip-hop scene from 6,856 miles away? In Japan, this song gave me the Atlanta hip-hop royalty version of the who, what, when, and where in Atlanta. Jermaine Dupri’s original version started a trend that other cities tried to emulate, but none quite accomplished the global reach of this classic.
2. “Good Time” (Niko Moon) Atlanta is a swirl of so many different musical vibes. It’s one of the reasons I love it here! These different vibes all represent a distinct aspect of Atlanta, and have their own special musical take. This song is so Atlanta too… Maybe more of a broader Georgia music scene than Atlanta, but nonetheless, this song represents an experience that every true Atlantan knows is right around the corner.
3. “Caught up” (Usher) When I think about dance in Atlanta, I think about Usher. His lyrics flowed from my bedroom window in Japan as I pressed play, then pause so many times trying to emulate dance moves from this video. I took bits and pieces of his dance style and tried to incorporate them into my own. The pop lockin, slides, and footwork that I try to inject into my DJ performances all come to mind every time I hear this song.
4. “Hey Ya!” (Outkast) The Outkast duo are global musical, fashion, and artistic icons, but most of all they are Atlanta. What they are, is also what Atlanta is… musical trendsetters, birthers of fashion styles, and masters of merging various styles together to create something new and fresh. This song represents musical genius that appeals across race and genre. This is, and always will be, my goal as an entertainer.
5. “Swag Surfin’” (Fast Life Yungstaz) If you have been to an Atlanta Hawks basketball game in the past few years, nothing has become more synonymous with Hawks basketball and crowd participation than “Swag Surfin’.” One of the highlights of being an official DJ with the Atlanta Hawks is “Swag Surfin’” with our fans. I love this so much that I have incorporated it into my performances from Buckhead to Tokyo!