Richard “TREATS” Dryden was born and raised in Brooklyn, New York. Music is in his genes. His father was a DJ; his cousin (DJ Dreamer) was by his side in the late 1990s as they built their turntable skills; while other relatives were his resources for their knowledge on the history of roots reggae, dancehall, and soul music.
Treats purchased turntables during his junior year of high school; a time when he was strictly a hip-hop fan. With his weekly purchases from records stores like Fat Beats, and Beat Street Records, Treats padded his existing collection of hand-me-down disco, funk, and reggae vinyl—inherited from family members—and started building a library of music that would span genre, especially his own generation.
College radio became Treats’ next focus in the early aughts. He arrived at SUNY College at Oneonta with his DJ equipment, and a trunk-load of vinyl to establish his name on and off campus. Oneonta’s radio station (WONY) became a home away from his dorm, where his weekly broadcast broke new ground for independent hip-hop, and still delivered the mainstream flavor of party records played on NYC’s premier hip-hop radio stations. Away from the airwaves, nightlife was Treats’ calling, like his father who was a fixture of the bashment-style party scene in Brooklyn. Treats’ other inspiration was Hot 97’s DJ Funkmaster Flex, WKCR’s Stretch Armstrong and Bobbito Garcia, and DMC turntable competition champions, A-Trak and DJ Craze.
His post-college DJ career was a stepping stone into Manhattan’s bars and nightclubs. Treats’ weekly and monthly bookings came during a time when New York’s music scene was developing a new identity that was reflective of its new reputation of genre blending, and the continued influence of fashion, art, and design. Having a supply of new hip-hop as well as ’80s pop music, dancehall, or electronic dance music met the demand of any client who wanted DJ Treats’ open format. He is one the few versatile DJs of his era, who could seamlessly play at a wedding in the mountains of St. Moritz, or at the company holiday party for footwear company Havianas, or at the City Museum of New York for a graffiti exhibit. Some of the other clients who’ve contracted DJ Treats for private events are Asics America, Red Bull, Complex Magazine, The FADER, WiRED. Another milestone in his decade-long DJ career is touring the music festival circuit: SxSW, Applesap, Afropunk, Rock the Bells and the CMJ Music Marathon. Being employed by artists as their tour DJ helped bring DJ Treats to main stages around the world in New York, London, and Japan.
Other credits include guest deejaying for KanYe West, KiD CuDi, The White Mandingos, J. Cole, Mr. MFN eXquire, 10ille, Supreeme, Killer Mike, Raekwon, Mickey Factz, Theophilus London and many other superstars in the making getting their start in NYC’s independent music scene.