It's gonna be hip-hop DJ heaven in Hollywood today over by the Guitar Center on Sunset Blvd. (not too far from Amoeba Hollywood) where both the big RockWalk induction ceremony at 3pm will take place followed at 5pm by the Hollywood GC DJ event with a list of great DJs appearing and performing. The free two-part event begins at 3pm (but get there earlier to both get parking a secure a good spot) with an induction ceremony of the first ever hip-hop DJ artists to the RockWalk: Grand Wizzard Theodore, GrandMixer DXT and Grandmaster Flash. Then at 5pm another turntablism legend DJ Jazzy Jeff will both perform and host a killer DJ concert featuring sets by such other greats as D-Styles, DJ Nu-Mark, DJ Rhettmatic, Mr Choc, P-Trix, Shortee, The Gaslamp Killer, Mike Relm, and Dynamix. The event ends at 11pm.Unveiled in 1985, the RockWalk, which is located in front of the Sunset Blvd Guitar Center in Hollywood, is a musical alternative to the nearby movie themed Hollywood Walk of Fame and the Chinese Theater. With its mission statement, that is literally written in stone (see pic right), of being for "individuals who have made significant contributions to The Music Business" the RockWalk celebrate rock, jazz, blues, and (few) hip-hop artists are all honored in handprints and autographs in cement. Additionally in the window of Guitar Center they've guitars and other memorabilia once owned by musicians honored on the RockWalk. The long list of those honored to date includes Jimi Hendrix, Eric Clapton, Les Paul, Miles Davis, Herbie Hancock, B.B. King, and Stevie Ray Vaughan. Todays three inductees Flash, DXT, and Theodore, who will be introduced by DJ Qbert, have each long believed in and envisioned the turntable as an instrument. Even back four decades ago when no one in the mainstream took hip-hop DJ'ing (long before the word turntablism had been coined to define the sub genre - by DJ Babu in 1995), or even hip-hop itself, seriously these three artists had the foresight to project ahead and imagine what the turntable as instrument would become what it is today and that the practitioner of that instrument be given the same respect as any musician would.
The three hip-hop DJ artists chosen to be inducted were each excellent choices. Grand Mixer DXT exposed mainstream audiences to scratching plus influenced a generation of future DJs with his contribution to the 1983 Herbie Hancock hit single "Rockit" - back when he was known as "DST." Grand Wizzard Theodore (originally spelled "Wizard" with one "Z") famously created the scratch when, as a very young hip-hop DJ practicing in his bedroom way back in 1975, his mother told him to turn down the sound. He then proceeded to create the skratch. He is also credited with discovering the needle drop. Meanwhile the third inductee today, as a member of influential Grandmaster Flash & The Furious Five, is perhaps most widely influential in spreading the gospel of hip-hop music and culture on a global level through his group and solo work. Flash, whose landmark 1981 single "Grandmaster Flash Adventures on the Wheels of Steel" that was the first DJ produced record with scratching, has won many other prestigious awards to date including being inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
Jazzy Jeff, Rhettmatic, D-Styles and many of the other DJs at today's performance event -that follows the RockWalk induction - are all also worthy of being inducted onto the RockWalk for their individual contributions to DJing, hip-hop, and music in general. But am sure that in future years/induction ceremonies that they will all be given their moment to shine. Both of today's events take place at Guitar Center Hollywood: the induction ceremony at 3pm and the Hollywood GC DJ Experience at 5pm (until 11pm). Guitar Center 7425 Sunset Blvd. Hollywood CA 90046. More info here.