Here’s a video I made that combines a little of the street performing I do and some of my dj scratching.
The secret sauce is a sort of joke I made that was inspired from a kung fu teacher I had in Taiwan who used to break bricks with his hands.
It was tricky matching the video to the sound. It has quite a few layers to it with the music, the scratching and the video and getting it all to sink together was a challenge.
Hip Hop music was invented by DJ’s. DJ’s that changed DJ’ing forever. These DJ’s did not use the turntable like it was supposed to be used. They pushed the limits and invented a new form of music and a new way of using the turntable.
Hip Hop music was invented by DJ’s such as Kool Herc and Grandmaster Flash. These DJ’s would take breaks – drum and other parts of a record and play them back. They would get double copies of a record and “juggle” the break. They would take that small bit of the record rewind it and play it forming a continuous repetitive beat. This repetitive beat evolved into Hip Hop music. They transformed the music and made a new one.
They used records and turntables just like your grandparents told you not to. Many years later Hip Hop DJ’s are still doing this, but on a whole new level. See Mix Master Mike here scratching, juggling and using the turntable like an instrument.
Here’s a bedroom mix of me scratching to Pete Rock. That song is from “The Surviving Elements” by Pete Rock. Pete Rock is one of my favorite Hip Hop producers. I saw him DJ live in Shanghai, China. Anyways it’s about 3 minutes of DJ scratching.
What would the MC do without a DJ? I guess he could still MC, but he’d really need a beat. And what if there was no drum? It’s not always convenient to have a set of drums or turntables on hand. This is where beatboxing comes in.
Where would Hip Hop be without a DJ? Nowhere, as Hip Hop music was founded on a pair of turntables. The music evolved from turntables. In the beginning it was with two records which weren’t even Hip Hop. This was before it existed. DJ Kool Herc used two of the same funk records and juggled the break over and over again. Later Hip Hop evolved into a mixture of samples, drum machines and sometimes live instruments. But it all started with a DJ.
Here is a DJ who took it to a whole new level. DJ Q-Bert. In this video you will see him scratching with one turntable and no mixer. Usually the DJ uses the mixer to cut the sound on and off, but here Q-bert uses one hand and no mixer to make music.
There have been MC’s who had a nice flow, style or sound and there have been emcee’s who wrote interesting lyrics. Few MC’s can do both. Here’s one that’s been around since ’86. He is still performing and rocking as raw as ever. His name is KRS-ONE.
He’s a mentor of mine. Someone who left home in his early teens and lived on the streets for years while honing his craft. He never graduated high school, but now aside from MC’ing he is an associate professor and lectures at Berkley, Yale, Stanford, Princeton, you name it. If anybody can be defined as Hip Hop it is him. And according to him we are not doing Hip Hop we are Hip Hop.