Six weeks after being shot in the stomach during an attempted robbery, AraabMuzik returned to the stage Thursday at Bonnaroo for his first set since the shooting. While his gait getting to the MPC—the drum machine that serves as his weapon of choice—may have been slower than normal, his dexterous, nimble hands remained, shuttling through a 45-minute set that inspired crowd surfing and stage diving.
The taciturn producer/DJ didn't speak on the incident (or anything else) during his set, but told Fuse afterwards that the shooting hasn't affected his overall outlook. "I'm keeping my composure," said the Rhode Island-raised producer. "I felt that it was only right to be able to come out and show the world that I'm back. Bonnaroo is such a big festival, I couldn't miss it. I'm sitting in the hospital like, 'Yo, I'm not missing Bonnaroo.'"
AraabMuzik is that rare DJ who doesn't need to do anything to be engaging. There are no admonitions to throw hands in air. There are two hype man who, while amping up the crowd, aren't necessary. To watch him work the MPC in a frenzy—like a pro boxer instinctively and methodically working a speed bag—is enough. He rarely drops vocal tracks—Wiz Khalifa's "Work Hard, Play Hard" and a stuttering, punishing remix of Flux Pavilion's "I Can't Stop" are the notable exceptions—but he doesn't have to.
If anything, the shooting appears to have emboldened AraabMuzik. "I'm just killing them with success," he told Fuse after the set. "I'm still here and nothing was taken at the end of the day. I didn't have nothing on me. I'm good."