Patren Sabir Altenor is a mouthful, so that’s not the name he goes by; around Norristown, his name is “DJ Sabir,” or as some might call him, the Norristown “OG” because of his knowledge of music.
Music has always been a part of DJ Sabir’s life, and even though he never had dreams of being a hip hop artist, like the young men he mentors, he has helped many who have these dreams.
DJ Sabir has always had a connection to music. When he was a little boy, he played many instruments including saxophone, violin and piano. In college at the University of Maryland Shore, where he got his physical therapy degree, he used his music skills as a DJ to make money at college parties on the weekends. He also used his skills to make playlists on blank CD’s with his favorite hip hop music and slow jams.
“I was out of school and working as a physical therapist when I injured my rotator cuff,” said Sabir. “This put me out of work for a while because there wasn’t anything I could do with a torn rotator cuff as a physical therapist.”
Born in Montgomery County and raised in many locations around the area, including Norristown, Sabir grew up loving music, but had no plans of doing anything professionally connected to music. His goal was to get a degree, and to do what he loved most, and that was helping people — so he chose a job in the healthcare field. When he left Maryland, he moved back to Norristown.
After he experienced the tear to his rotator cuff, he had to decide what he would do to fill his time. DJ Sabir is not a man who likes to sit around, so while he healed and unable to work as a physical therapist, he began to think about his next move.
“I have too much energy,” DJ Sabir said. “I had to think about what I was going to do with my time if I was unable to help others with physical therapy.”
While he recovered from his injury, Sabir decided to do something to keep him from the boredom that ate him up. He slowly started to get back into his DJ-ing and playing at places around Norristown. It was there that he discovered the local hip-hop artists and realized that they really had something special. Soon, he knew what he was going to do with his time.
“I discovered a love and appreciation for the local artists in Norristown. I thought about what I could do to help them and I knew I had the ability to design a radio station. So I researched this and got the input of some others, and I built a radio station in my loft,” he said.
He called it “Consortium Radio” and before he knew it, he had developed a platform and even got listeners from other countries, including Japan, Germany and the UK.
He gives them advice, and they listen…
“I played music on the station, and I was developing a following, but I wanted the station to be more — and that’s when I started the podcast episodes,’’ said Sabir.
He would begin the podcast episodes by giving exposure to some of the local artists in Norristown.
“The loft became an iconic place where a lot of ideas were discussed between me and the local artists. I had set up turntables and speakers, and basically had a studio up there too. Artists loved coming over because it gave them a place to record. Soon, many local artists were coming over to discuss ideas, record music and just hang out with other artists,” DJ Sabir said. “I was happy to do it because wanting to help others, in many capacities, has always been important to me.”
Because of the opportunity DJ Sabir has offered to the young artists of Norristown, they look up to him as a mentor and the manager that they cannot afford yet. He gives them advice, and they listen, because he seems to have an understanding of how to promote yourself and your music. Respectfully, he is called “OG” by these artists because he is years older than they are.
Do a Google search and the definition you get is one that perfectly defines DJ Sabir“: OG — someone who’s incredibly exceptional, authentic or ‘old-school.’ It can be earnestly used for a legend.”
“I tell everybody this. I don’t mind the name. With age comes wisdom. If that makes me an ‘OG,’ then I’ll take it,” he smiles.
Lee Holmes is a fifth-year professional studies major with minors in journalism and business law. BH878969@wcupa.edu