As a DJ, I can tell you first hand that playing on the 1s and 2s can be very addictive just like any drug out there. The addiction starts with sheer pleasure of just been able to feel the vinyl on the moving platter of your SL1200 or whatever equipment you are most comfortable in and can very easily morphed into been able to make your turntable talk, literally.
Thanks to the new age of software technology that has made it so easy for everyone to claim the title because of how easy it is to mix records these days, just push the button and the computer will do the rest.
There are different types of DJs that range from radio, club to computer DJ but on this article we will be focusing on battle DJing which to me is the ultimate essence of what a true DJ is.
Besides knowing your records, and your audience, been able to interact with your turntables which also includes knowing how to count bars and phrases is one of the most beautiful thing about this art.
Someone once asked me, what is the big deal about Djing? How hard could it be to change from one record to the other?
The technical skill set and finesse involved is not something you learn for a couple of years, it is true that you can enrol for a two week course and graduate on how to blend two records alright but to be a real DJ takes years of constant practice with lots of money spent on styli and cross faders.
What is funny about been a DJ is your skills is not often times not rewarded financially as one would expect, your name is what brings home the bacon. You can be the most gifted DJ in the world but don’t earn half of Paris Hilton’s pay.
So without further ado, I will list below my top 5 of all time.
# 5 Grand Wizard Theodore (G-WiZ)
Truth be told, this position is shared between G-Wiz (The man who invented the art of scratching) and Grandmaster Flash (he invented the art of staying on a break beat using two of the same records).
Although their ways of turntablism have long evolved but these are the two fundamental requirements invented (scratching and timing) if you want to be anywhere near a true DJ like the top 4.
# 4 DJ Kentaro
Kentaro Okamoto is a Japanese turntablist. The say the proof of the pudding is in the eating. Just watch below and see what he can do with a pair of turntable.
# 3 DJ Craze
Mess with this man at your peril. I have not seen any DJ so good that he uses every part of his body literally to interact with his turntables. He would have been number 2 had I not seen a rare battle between both men in which he was eviscerated with just one turntable by Q-Bert.
#2 DJ Q-Bert
Dubbed the Jimi Hendrix of Turntablism, Richard Quitevis is a Filipino-American turntablist that has arguably the fastest hands in the scratch business. When you pay to go see Q-Bert scratch, you know you are not going to dance. You are going to witness a work of art.
#1- DJ Jazzy Jeff
Turntablism does not get bigger than 52 year old Jeffrey Allen Townes a.k.a The Magnificent DJ Jazzy Jeff.
He has been DJing for over 32 years still young DJs can’t compare to his dexterity of accurate timing and impeccable scratching. I regard him as the greatest party DJ of all time, without him there will be a Will Smith.
What’s your top 5?
Exciting blog, great mixed music content!