Electronic music production and DJ training facility Dubspot has been instrumental educating the public on the history and technique of the DJ and two-time DMC (Disco Music Club) turntable champion and instructor Shiftee’s examination on the craft is an arresting blend of historical lecture and performance art.
This is an excellent primer on one of the pillars of Hip-Hop culture (Break Dancing, Emceeing, DJing, Graffiti Art, and Beatboxing) and for those who wish to explore the subject in detail I recommend the following:
Wild Style (Film), Hip-Hop is exposed to the World in Charlie Ahern’s seminal 1983 film
Scratch (Film), Doug Pray’s fascinating documentary on the history of Turntablism and the cult of the DJ
Can’t Stop, Won’t Stop (Book), Jeff Chang explores the economic, political, and social forces that create and shape what we now know as Hip-Hop Culture
<Writer’s Note: This is an amended post where I have added more information>
I am a Graphic and Web Designer by trade, but for many years I’ve earned money as a professional DJ (for events, companies, organizations—and on occasion—a wedding or party on referral) and there is nothing quite like the rush and excitement of performing music for a crowd. But, before you can move the crowd there is a lot of preparation involved:
Be Prompt—respond to any and all correspondence immediately, be it a contract, question, or request; the sooner you have all the info you need, the sooner you can start your preparation
Be Prepared—ask questions, research your client, request an itinerary, walk through your performance venue, create an equipment checklist, and practice, practice, practice your material; the unexpected will happen at your event so be prepared when it does
Be Professional—respond quickly (see tip 1: Be Prompt) by phone or email; dress appropriately; arrive and set up early on event day, be friendly, flexible, and smile often
Be Productive—before, during, and after the gig engage your guests, clients, and followers in person and online (have your business cards ready); be diligent in producing content and sharing your work (this will lead to new clients and opportunities)
Ahmir “Questlove” Thompson is best known as drummer, writer, and producer for the hip-hop supergroup The Roots, but just as important he is a globe-trotting DJ and avid record collector.
Quest For Cubais a thirteen-minute documentary by Okay Player Films chronicling Questlove’s funky, street-level cultural exchange tour of Cuba: spinning tracks, crate digging for classic vinyl (I spotted a classic Los Zafiros album in the stack!), and visiting the legendary EGREM Studios in Old Havana.
Ten years ago, The Roots played in Cuba and Questlove vows to return again soon. I can’t speak for the American or Cuban governments, but I trust that “Questo” speaks the truth and we will all be the richer for the effort!
Thump’s Trino Trevino hilarious, yet accurate assessment of the state of today’s aspiring DJs has a lesson for us all. Social marketing is an important component in your quest for fame and glory, but don’t overlook doing the work. Also, don’t be like THIS guy!
“Here’s the bad news: fame and glory will never come if you never make music.”
First person accounts by underground music luminaries (such as DJ Marley Marl, Kool DJ Red Alert, Tony Humphries, and Stretch Armstrong) interspersed with vintage audio, photos, and video drops you in the moment when the underground broke above ground via New York radio and germinated throughout the world by cassette tape (I fondly have college recollections of students collecting,trading, and dubbing tapes from New York to Baltimore to Philly to Detroit to Chicago to Oakland to LA).