Sunday, October 31, 2010

For the Love of Hip-Hop

Wack has reached epidemic proportions and has seemingly seeped into the very fabric of my greatest love; Hip-Hop. Oh, this pestilence is widespread and is slowly wiping out the talents that built Hip-Hop. Once upon a time not long ago…Slick Rick may have unknowingly coined the perfect phrase for Hip-Hop. Maybe I should pour a little out on my turntables and play Pete Rock and CL Smooth’s “T.R.O.Y.” or Common’s “I Used to Love H.E.R.”. I wonder if Jam Master Jay and Scott La Rock look down upon us with tears streaming down their cheeks at what has been done to our craft as DJs?

There have been huge advancements in technology that make it so much easier for DJs today, but it might have backfired and allowed the wackness to invade our craft. For those of us who have bounced the suspension out of our cars thanks to all the crates of wax in the back, thankfully that is no longer necessary. Serato has been by far the greatest advancement for DJs; eliminating the days of powerlifting 6 crates around to gigs. Here’s what is ironic about Serato; it maps out BPMs for the DJ, but apparently DJs are no longer held to a minimum standard of at least – wait – AT LEAST mixing and blending from one song to the next. Turntablism has never been a ‘requirement’ for our craft, although I respect a DJ that can actually lay his hands on wax and play any record like a true musical instrument (see DJ Ykcor). Once upon a time not long ago…

I would bet most DJ’s don’t know how to calculate BPMs with their ears and a stopwatch, but I’m not mad at that. Serato maps BPMs out for the DJ. Even the DJs who are not using Serato can download a free BPM Analyzer. Technology has made the art of mixing so simple, but unfortunately even a simple on-beat mix from one song to the next is no longer standard. Now “DJs” use sound effects, drops, or simply scream over transitions to mask the fact that they are either incapable or simply too damn lazy to master the most basic of all DJ skills, mixing. For DJs on radio, I’m not especially mad at the lack of mixing, or at least I don’t expect it (unless your show is supposed to be a mixshow). For Club DJs I still hold the faith that mixing is a requirement for the simple fact that you have to keep the music rolling to keep the crowd on the floor. But the ultimate slap in the face to our craft is the oxymoron that mixtapes have become.

I love that technology has allowed the conversion of ‘tapes’ into CDs and numerous sites provide online widgets and a platform for mixtapes. This is not just acceptable to me, I embrace it 100%. What I cannot accept is the lack of an actual MIX in so many MIXtapes. Who is to blame though? I think there is a lot of blame to spread around, but obviously the blame has to start with the wack “DJs”. Some of you know who you are and are and hide with shame accordingly. I know of one “DJ” who acknowledged the fact that he did not mix and under the boot of several real DJs he made changes to his title and the title of his compilations. Him doing that gained my respect although I still hate to see his compilations pop up on the same sites my mixtapes can be found. That brings us to the next perpetrators of Hip-Hop and our craft, the sites that endorse these so called ‘mixtapes’.

I understand the need for web traffic and hits so from a business standpoint I can acknowledge the value of the wackness from that standpoint. What I cannot accept is that wackness somehow gaining the site’s endorsement as a featured mixtape. Continue to allow the wackness to run traffic to your site by all means, but hold featured placement to only those MIXtapes that are actually mixed. You have the power to credit our craft and acknowledge and more importantly, endorse the talents of the REAL DJs who drop REAL MIXtapes. You can set a standard and force the wack “DJs” to step it up if they want featured placement and promotion. You can add value to your featured placement with a standard you uphold on behalf of REAL DJs and REAL MIXtapes. For the millions of blogs and e-zines and other Hip-Hop sites, I would challenge you to have the courage to divide the wackness from the REAL. Establish categories or even more impressive, have the courage to add one line to the beginning of the post: This is an actual mixtape with an actual mix -or- This is a compilation. Mixtape or compilation – it’s that simple to divide the wackness from the craft of real DJs.

As much as I complain about the wack “DJs” and the sites that endorse them, I hold an equal amount of disdain for the artists that cosign the wackness and the listeners that accept it without even a word of chagrin*. Chagrin is the perfect word to describe my feelings in reference to the wackness that has crept in to disease the craft of being a DJ.

*cha•grin (sha-grin’)
n. A keen feeling of mental unease, as of annoyance or embarrassment, caused by failure, disappointment, or a disconcerting event

In the words of Rakim…I can go on for days and days….


  1. Preach! The "WACKNESSS MONSTER" is thriving and it's a damn shame.
    Only time will reveal the true dj's from the fly by night ones. True dj's will keep pushing the envelope and break quality artists til their dying day. Real always recognize real... period point blank.

  2. Good to know I'm not the only one feeling the angst of real DJs. Peep DJ TOmmy Blak's post on the same topic at

  3. Technology has made it easier for us djs, to not have to lug around crates, etc. but it still dont make you a dj via serato or cdjs, you still have to have skill and understand the craft to rock that title... I wanna say that we must also put blame on the newer generation of consumers, buying into all the fake-ness in the industry. It seems now a days, the faker/wacker you are the more they love you which would never hold up when the greats ran this shit... Bottom line is, this shit will never stop and we will always have to deal with frauds in this business so we as real djs need to just unite more n stand up for what we do, its your job as a product to stand out from the rest and it may be harder now a days but it can still be done... Maybe we are a dying breed or maybe not but I will rep to the day I die cus I have earned my title and I know that, these frauds know there fake n dont care and the average person dont care either cus they dont even know what a dj is anymore, they think what there hearing is, but dont expect them to last long doin what there doin, there career will live short and then there on to the next... Just like a wack rapper or a shitty car saleman, they wont last long in there profession, there is no longevity for frauds and wackness...


  5. Well said. I'm in full agreement. Can't wait till I drop my MIXtape in a few weeks.

    Big up all the real DJs and people who preserve the realness in their crafts.