The best perk of my job booking the Promontory is hearing brilliant DJs mix house, hip-hop, and Afrobeat while I do spreadsheets. The pandemic put that on hold, but the loss was tempered when DJs took to Instagram, Twitch, and Facebook. When I got a notice that Jay Illa, Dee Money, or Vince Adams was starting a livestream, it meant my next quarantined hour would have a world-class soundtrack. My favorite streamer was the Promontory’s favorite DJ, Matt “Kwest_On” Cannon. We hosted Prince nights, Dilla Day events (Matt brought doughnuts), and day parties with 3xDope (his old-school crew). When I heard Prince had died, I called Matt to say that if it were true (we had doubts), then Friday was his. Matt’s life-affirming four-hour mix spiritually uplifted 500 sweaty, joyous dancers.
Like many livestreams, Matt’s were intimate. We saw his home, we interacted . . . for one late-May stream, he even took requests. I stumped him with a deep cut, so I pulled an extra copy to gift him. Two mornings later, I got a jolting call: Matt was gone, the most robust, alive person I knew taken by heart failure. I was a friend (he tutored my kids), but more than that, I was a fan of the integrity, knowledge, and soul Matt sent through speakers. One of our top parties has been a pre-New Year’s blowout with WeLoveSoul, Matt’s Avengers-esque supergroup with Duane Powell, Sean Alvarez, and Joe Kollege. In 2020 they streamed from an empty venue and included an archival Kwest_On set. When Matt’s prerecorded banter commented on his partners’ performances, it was more than eerie. Like Prince, he seemed too vital to be gone. Also like Prince, he continues to bring life with his music.