Friday, November 24, 2006

A Cut Above The Rest

Kool Herc, Flash, Bambataa, Theodore etc started it, Grand Mixer DST showed it to the world with Herbie Hancock on 'Vibe Alive' and then B Boys and B Girls perfected it. One of the worst things to happen to hip hop over the past 15 years is the slow fade out to a 'real' DJ cutting up samples and breaks. Obviously the copyright infringement laws that forced musicians to clear samples damaged the quality of alot of breaks but is no excuse for DJs not scratching throughout tracks anymore.

The DJ used to be at the forefront of the group and with groups like 'Jazzy Jeff And The Fresh Prince', 'Gregory D & DJ Mannie Fresh' and 'Cash Money & Marvelous' the DJ's name is in the groups title. Somewhere along the line the DJ faded out almost completely and even if a group had a 'DJ' as Joe Cooley said, they have become stage props standing behing turntables looking the part, moving the record back and forth but with no sound coming out the speakers. The emcee that started out as nothing more than a hype man at block parties for the DJ has now become the face to hip hop with breakers and DJ's used as background props for the cameras with a bit of graf behind used to make it look more 'street'. This forced up and coming DJ's sick of the mainstream market, drum machines and record CEO's to go back to basics and create Turntableism.

To me the golden era of hip hop was the late 80's and early 90's where groups like Philly's Tuff Crew had DJ Too Tuff terrorizing the decks, Low Profile had DMC Champion DJ Aladdin, Hijack had DJ Undercover and Surpreme, Cash Money showed off his DMC title on the cover of his album with Marvelous, Schoolley hade Code Money, LL had Cut Creator, UTFO's Mix Master Ice cut up the Flatbush crews tracks, the 2 Live Crew was getting bass'd and scratched out by Mr Mixx and amongst dozens of others, Joe Cooley was putting in for Rodney O and General Jeff.

Back then alot of tracks not only had DJ's scratching up breaks, but some tracks ended with a minute or two of the DJ showing off their skills. Some albums even dedicated an entire track to their DJ. To be fair not all groups ditched their DJ, infact in the Beastie Boys case they replaced an average DJ Hurricane for the incredible Mix Master Mike from the Invisibl Scratch Piklz and the I.C.P., although I'm not much of a fan, have kept it real on the decks. The Mixtape craze that has blown up over recent years has let DJ's use uncleared samples, remix underground artists over commercial beats and bring back the scratch that has almost been nonexistant over recent years. Every now and then I hear a new track that has a real DJ cutting shit up and it lets you know that you can take the DJ's name off the cover, replace him with a computer, stop pressing most new albums on wax, but you can't get rid of bedroom DJ's that are honing their skills waiting to resurface from the underground!!

Respect to Kool Herc, GM Flash, Bambataa and all the legends. To all the golden era DJ's, Joe Cooley, Aladdin, Miz, Cash Money, Surpreme, Undercover, Cut Creator, Mix Master Ice, Code Money, Punish, Poison Ivey, Evil E, Too Tuff, Mr Mixx, Derek B, Swift, Pam the Funkstress, Xtra Large, Icey Hott, Muggs, Mannie Fresh, DJ Slip, Unkown, BattleCat, Mix Master Mike, all the dope DJ's I forgot and all the turntablists world wide. The selected few tracks I put up are DJ cuts from various artists some are just the DJ cutting it up others are propper tracks with verses. There are so many I missed out on like Ice T 'Pimp Behind The Wheels', Jazzy Jeff & The Fresh Prince 'The Magnificent Jazzy Jeff', 'T.D.S. Scratch Reaction' by the T.D.S. Mob, a 'Mega Mixx' by Mr Mixx off of a 2 Live album etc etc. Although these are some of my favourites, I had to put the Soopa Villainz track up from 2005 to show that these tracks still do happen, just not very often. I hope you enjoy them


UTFO - I'm The Master
Soopa Villainz - Mr Club
Tuff Crew - My Part Of Town
LL Cool J - Go Cut Creator Go
Rodney O Joe Cooley - DJ Nightmare
Low Profile - Aladdin's On A Rampage
DJ Cash Money & Marvelous - Ugly People Be Quiet (REMIX)


Anonymous said...

Man, no one shows love to DJs anymore. Something went down when the 90s got here, Joe Cooley said the truth. "Aladdin's On A Rampage" is the shit! I never get sick of it no matter how many times I hear it.

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BULLANT said...


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