DJ MICK WANTS TO CHANGE THE WORLD
Aligning with the Foot Locker x adidas Asterisk Collective, the Brooklyn-based DJ speaks on his passion for giving back to his community and future generations.
Five years ago, Mick Batyske—known professionally as DJ MICK—had an “A-ha” moment. “I made a conscious decision to treat my life as a full-on business,” he recalls. “It changed my whole life.” Since the mid-2000s, the Youngstown, Ohio native made his presence known in hip-hop culture thanks to a slew of sought-after mixtapes. That led to rocking home games for the Cleveland Cavaliers as their official DJ, and globetrotting to spin private parties for a who’s who in music and Hollywood—from Jay and Bey to Will and Jada. It still wasn’t enough. “I treat my career as an entrepreneurial endeavor,” the 30-something says. “If I just treated my life as that of a DJ, my career would never be like what it is.”
Unofficially dubbed “The Most Entrepreneurial DJ” by his peers, Mick is wrist-deep in angel investments, multiple startups, collaborations with companies such as Beats by Dre, Airbnb, Cadillac, and, most notably, charities both in his community and abroad. “For me, when I think about things that mean something to me and my bandwidth to be able to help people, I think the most utility I can offer is to the youth,” says Mick, who works with non-profits such as Pencils of Promise, Many Hopes, and the Children’s Health Fund. “Because if I can only help X-amount of people, I want to help the people that have the most to offer future generations, and they're going to be here for the longest.”
It’s the New York-based jock’s tireless charitable work that makes him a true “icon for change,” which is the mantra of adidas’ Asterisk Collective. The platform is designed to empower creatives to use their talents to make a positive difference in the world. Working in partnership with Foot Locker, the Asterisk Collective also includes a series of exclusive sneaker releases, including the new adidas Ultraboost in a royal/white/solar red colorway. Modeling the latest sneaker alongside his four-year-old son Myles, Mick let Complex into his Brooklyn brownstone to talk about the art of giving back and the life-changing joys of fatherhood.
MICK ON THE ASTERISK COLLECTIVE
“My brand really aligns [with the Asterisk Collective] because I definitely have a lot of creative endeavors and attributes to my business. But at the same time, I try to keep a socially conscious aspect to it as a father and as a community-minded person. I just thought it was really fascinating to see a brand that does such high-level stuff also reach back to the community in a holistic and real way. I think the way to actually make a community embrace service and kindness and empathy is to do it in a way that makes it cool to them.”
MICK ON GIVING BACK
“I think it’s very central to combine your heart and your brain, right? So, this is a way where you can celebrate the fact that you run a successful business and do creative things and have a really blessed life in this Instagram world that we live in, but at the same time, try to affect a positive change for others. Because it’s great to have all these sneakers, clothes, and all these opportunities, but if you're not helping other people that don't have that same access, then what's the point? We live in troubled times right now; where the people who are supposed to be taking care of people are not taking care of people. So, I think it’s important for us, who do have influence, to use our power for good.”
MICK ON FATHERHOOD
“The birth of my son Myles is literally the [basis] of every single decision I’ve made since the minute he was born. It’s like, ‘Oh, my God, I’m a dad now.’ I'm a parent. I have a responsibility now unlike anything I've ever known. There's not a day when I wake up and have breakfast with my kid that I’m not the most grateful person in the world. He’s the light of my whole life.
One of my favorite charities that I work with is called All Star Code. They are about teaching young Black kids to code, specifically kids that don’t have access to computers. They do a huge benefit in the Hamptons every year, and I remember a couple of days after my kid was born I was doing their event, looking at 100 young Black kids on stage that this program’s affecting. In that moment I realized that to the world, my son was no different, and that just really touched my heart.”