DJ Zack the Ripper Can’t Wait to Blaze a Trail

The local DJ shares his dreams of a 420-friendly nightlife scene.

Zack the Ripper. Photo: Zach McKeeZach McKee

Zack the Ripper. Photo: Zach McKee

Now that the postelection dust has begun to settle, Las Vegas can start to consider the fact that recreational marijuana use will soon be legal in Nevada, and there’s one guy who can’t wait to jump into the game with both feet.

As Zack the Ripper behind the decks, local DJ Zack Hexamer lives a double life. By night, he spins at Can I Kick It Wednesdays at Vanguard Lounge with guest DJs of his choosing. But by day, he is the director of hydrocarbons at Terps Concentrates, developing and cultivating innovative marijuana products 10 hours a day, six days a week. The self-proclaimed “extraction artist” recently won Best Indica and Sativa concentrates at the Jack Herer Cup, a popular cannabis competition. But how does he personally maintain balance? “I have so much natural energy, it’s insane,” he says.

At Vanguard, Hexamer is always open to different styles, and finds two common threads in the people he books. First, he’s looking for selectors, meaning those who excel at choosing the right tracks; in this case hip-hop and bass. Second, he’s seeking a positive demeanor. “[They have] a willingness to learn and are super supportive,” Hexamer says. “They have to know they’re good DJs, but they don’t have an attitude.”

Hexamer’s weed work is an entirely different story, and includes such projects as creating new concentrates like Khalifa Kush (a hybrid homage to Wiz) and interesting strains of budder, a wax that is created through butane extraction. “Being in the lab making wax, learning and critically thinking, and leaving that job to go to a packed room of people who want to hear dope music, is like constantly having to problem solve,” he says. “I’m never sitting around bored.”

Fantasizing about Las Vegas’ soon-to-be-legal recreational marijuana industry, Hexamer has a few great ideas for how bud could translate in clubs and bars. His dreams include the cannabis answer to bottle service, which would include a choice of strains, pairing alcohol or food with the appropriate flower or concentrate, and a $4,000 half-pound blunt.

Hexamer’s interest in combining his two worlds goes deeper than just wanting to be able to get high at bars and in clubs. He wishes to undo the harm that films such as Reefer Madness did to what he sees as a natural substance. “I’m excited,” he says, “not only for people to enjoy themselves, but to be comfortable and not look over their shoulders enjoying something that grows out of the ground.” 

Zack the Ripper smokes the turntables at Culture & Cannabis with DJs Shaun Saville Jr., Byra Tanks and Gables on December 28 at Commonwealth.

Zack the Ripper @zack_the_ripper