“Chris Really Did It For The Love”: Remembering Christopher “DJ B*Money” Behm-Meyer
As a mainstay of the Colorado hip-hop scene and one of the first-ever Next Level artists, he was a treasured member of the NL family. In many ways, he represented the best of what we all aspire to. He consciously used his art to build bridges and serve the greater good. He used hip-hop to make connections between people from different cultures in order to bring the world together in difficult times.
“What I mostly recall about him is his warmth, his smile, his eagerness to share his knowledge, and his love of hip hop culture,” says Shirlette Ammons, one of his teammates from the Serbia residency. “I couldn't have asked for a more beautiful unit to share that experience with, and B helped make it unforgettable. The hip-hop community lost a gem.”
Legendary producer Diamond D, who was also part of Team Serbia, agrees. “B Money was one of the coolest and most genuine folks I’ve ever met,” he says. “Yes, we were both a part of the Serbia team, but even at the DC official meet & greet we hit it off. He was always in good spirits and his skills as a DJ were top notch. We stayed in touch after our time in Serbia, and whenever I had a show in Denver he would always connect with me and we always wound up at his house listening to and discussing hiphop. Sleep in paradise, Dj B Money.”
When we spoke with him for this blog earlier this year, one of the things that really stood out was that, after almost five years, he still maintained friendships with the people he met in Serbia: “Since the program, I have been in pretty constant contact with [Serbian b-boy] Andjelko Angelo Pavlovicand [Serbian deejay] Marko Milic’ Enzzy,” he explained. “To me, they’re close personal friends. So the impact of the Next Level program truly amazed me. I never thought it would have such a long lasting and deep impact on everyone involved, and create lifelong friendships…In fact, this past winter I was able to link both the DMC US Supremacy DJ Champion, DJ Toltech, and the DMC US National Champ, DJ Throwdown, with Marko and Angelo. They went over and performed a show in Serbia. It’s crazy, because everybody over there was like, “How did you guys find out about Serbia? And they were like, ‘Oh, it’s through my boy B*Money, from Next Level!’”
As part of his overall commitment to mentoring younger artists, Chris also encouraged others to become involved with Next Level, including one of this year’s participants, Team Mongolia’s DJ A-L.
“For a man with ‘Money’ in his name, Chris really did it for the love,” DJ A-L remembers. “Chris not only hosted and deejayed on Basementalismradio for free hundreds - maybe thousands - of times, but his open door policy at Basementalismmeant that nearly any person with a demo and a rap dream could stop by the station and get their track played on air. That was huge and truly helped everyone in the community’s (including my own) rap dreams stay alive.”
“Beyond the radio show,” he continues, “Chris would lend himself to many other positive activities in the hip hop community. Chris was highly involved with the cultural aspects of hip-hop and would DJ at B-Boy jams for 8 hours straight without hesitation. In addition, Chris was the first person that I had personally ever seen teach what he knew about deejaying to other people. When other deejays were still being secretive about the craft and when hip hop education wasn’t the cash cow that it is today, B*Money was going into teen recovery centers and teaching teenagers struggling with addiction and toxic family environments how to deejay for next to nothing. During those times Chris would invite me into the classroom to help out and I would witness first hand just how much the students loved him and looked forward to spending time learning from him.”
“It doesn’t get any realer than that.”
Battle organizer Christie Z, of DMC USA, remembers his commitment to the community as well.“Just this year, we were at a gig here in Denver, where a DJ (who was getting back on his feet after a robbery) showed up without needles. B-Money, who wasn't on the line up but wanted to be, pulled his own needles out for the DJ, who he never met. Then someone else needed a laptop for something. Here comes B-Money again, pulling his own laptop out of his bag. This is so rare to see, especially for a DJ who is not on the lineup. He was so genuine, kind and generous. May God grant him Paradise.”
Paul Rockower, the site manager for the Serbia residency, was in a position to really appreciate Chris’s impact. “DJ B*Money embodied and exemplified the very best of the Next Level program,” Paul reflects. “He threw himself full on into the cultural exchange, and loved his NL experience to the fullest.”
“DJ B*Money was always curious and open, and always had a big smile and an adventurous spirit. He made deep and enduring connections with his students, and all those he encountered during the residency. He truly loved Serbia, and his time in Belgrade and Novi Sad had a profound impact on him. “
“B*Money was an incredibly talented DJ, teacher and he was a true ambassador of hip hop. The world of hip-hop lost a real talent and true friend.”
For more information and memories of B*Money, search for the hashtag #bmoneyforever on Twitter (not affiliated with Next Level).