As a youth he found fame as a professional break-dancer performing on stage with some of Hip Hop’s biggest stars such as T-Pain and Tech N9ne.
Today, Corporal Michael Hamilton ‘busts-a-move’ as a police officer for the Odessa Police Department. But his passion for music and dancing hasn’t diminished. On evenings and weekends, he transforms into his alter ego, “DJ Hambone,” one of the most in-demand DJs in West Texas.
“Serving on the Odessa Police Department is my first love,” Hamilton said. “But I have the opportunity to enjoy the best of both worlds. I love music and how people respond to it.
“I just get a release. You play the right song and you can take people back to some great memories, or give them something for the present and future.”
Hamilton made this discovery a couple years ago while he was DJing an event.
“My mother-in-law uses a walker to get around,” Hamilton explains. “Due to her condition she has to walk on the sides of her feet.
“I was playing some LTD (an American R&B/Funk band popular during the 1970s). I watched her; she got up and pushed away the walker. It was difficult but she hobbled over to the dance area and she started to get down to the old-school grooves.”
Hamilton added: “She was having the time of her life. It was just great. It’s those type of moments that makes me feel good about what I’m doing.”
Hamilton’s journey hasn’t been an easy one. The 35-year-old was born in Dallas and was quickly attracted to the exciting dance moves and funky grooves of Hip Hop and breakdancing.
He quickly began trying to imitate the moves of Michael Jackson and James Brown and even tap-dancer extraordinaire Gregory Hines – merging their styles with breakdancing moves and creating his own style.
By the time he was in middle school he was already competing in dance contests and racking up wins.
But Hamilton wasn’t satisfied. He found himself grumbling about the quality of music being produced by DJs at events he would attend. One day, a friend challenged him, “if you think you can do better, why don’t you try it,” Hamilton recalls his friend saying.
Hamilton took to DJing quickly, and his prowess caught the eyes and ears of more established DJs who became his mentors.
Life was going great, until a failed relationship broke his heart. Hamilton made the decision to sell all his DJing equipment and gave the money to his mother so she could pay bills in his absence because he had decided to join the U.S. Army.
It was in the Army where Hamilton was trained and became a military police officer. After his discharge in 2013, Hamilton took a poor-paying job working in the oil fields.
“I didn’t know what I was doing and got taken advantage of,” Hamilton said, referring to the oil gig. “I was making so little money, I was homeless. I was couch-surfing for about a year.”
His luck changed when he noticed the Odessa Police Department was hiring and he got the job in 2014. Today, he serves as the department’s Community Relations Officer.
The job is tailor-made for the outgoing Hamilton, whose duties require him to set up events to promote the police department and its relationship with the community. When an event calls for a disc jockey, DJ Hambone is already in the house.
“It’s kind of funny because sometimes I’ll show up for an event in my uniform and people see my badge and immediately doubt my abilities,” Hamilton said. “Once they realize that I know what I’m doing, their attitude changes.”
DJ Hambone doesn’t just perform at city functions. A couple years ago he formed his own company, which he named Hami Entertainment. It allows him to take his DJ scratching skills to clubs throughout Texas, wedding receptions, birthdays, and even church functions to name just a few.
“We don’t just play Christian music at church events, we mix in songs that are secular but also uplifting,” Hamilton said. “The Bible doesn’t say “just play Christian music.” It says, “they rejoiced and danced, so let’s dance.”