As a jack of all trades, Ben Baller is infamous in every sector of the entertainment industry; he’s been a DJ for the stars, been an executive at major music labels, been a world renowned sneaker collector, consulted for Nike, co-produced and acted in a film, and is currently on fire as the new jewelry man in town.
“People are usually great at just one thing,” Ben said. “But, I’m one of those guys who is great at a lot of different things. I can make anything famous and valuable; just let me take a picture with it.”
But don’t let the name fool you. He didn’t get it because of his bank account, but rather because he was the first Asian to ball it up in both basketball and football at San Francisco State University, where he got a degree in fine arts. “I’m known in my ’hood as ‘K-Town,’ but as ‘Ben Baller’ in the corporate world,” he said.
Growing up as a regular kid in Los Angeles (Koreatown to be exact), Ben knew his gift of gab and outgoing personality would eventually land him a gig in the entertainment industry. “I’ve always had one of those personalities that people were attracted to,” he described. “I was good with my mouth, and was able to talk to people and blend into any circle of people or cultures. I like to think of myself as a chameleon.”
Taking his vibrant personality to the next level, Ben decided to become a professional DJ after college to make some extra cash. “I got my first gig playing at the Roxbury in Hollywood, and that was only the beginning,” he said. “I DJ’ed since I was 10, and never thought it would turn into a career.”
It was the combination of his great people skills and DJ talent that opened the door to his career when he just happened to stop Denzel Washington while on Melrose Avenue in Hollywood back in 1994. “I just went up to him and gave him a mixtape of mine,” Ben said. “At the time, Denzel had a bar/restaurant [Georgia] that was hot on the celebrity map, and was the place to be seen for anybody who’s anybody in Hollywood. I was able to meet a lot of people there; it was the seed that planted my career because later, I met Dr. Dre there, and Dre got me a job at Priority Records. Later, he gave me a job at Aftermath when he was just starting it. I rose up the ranks, and now I can say I’m a degree of separation from anyone in the music business still to this day.”