Amoeblog

Hip-Hop DJ Heaven In Hollywood Today with RockWalk DJ Inductions +Hollywood GC DJ Concert

Posted by Billyjam, March 6, 2014 08:53am | Post a Comment
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.

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Brooklyn DJ Esquire Took US Title In Heated, High Caliber 2013 US DMC Finals DJ Battle

Posted by Billyjam, August 5, 2013 11:06pm | Post a Comment

DJ Esquire took the 2013 US DMC Finals title over the weekend in New York at a packed Stage 48  nightclub with DJs Spare Change and Ease taking second and third places respectively in an entertaining evening that featured inspired six minute sets by each of the 13 US contestants, event host Kool DJ Red Alert providing funny banter, great sets by the special guest performer DJs Rockin Rob, Johnny Juice, and DJ Izoh, plus a surprise moment of true turntablist romance when New Mexico contestant OHM proposed to his girlfriend.

New York City DJ Esquire became a hometown hero Saturday night at the Hells Kitchen district club when garnered the most votes to take the new title at the 2013 US DMC Finals following a heated, high caliber DJ battle featuring 13 turntable talents from all across the country,. This achievement, that he earned despite his needle breaking toward the end of his intense six minute routine, means that the Brooklyn DJ will travel to London, England to represent the US in the DMC World DJ Championship 2013 finals on October 5th. Saturday night's talent-packed battle presented somewhat of a dilemma for all the judges, myself included, since the talent was so great that it was incredibly tough in making that final decision of narrowing it down to just three DJs. Truth is that each of the other ten DJ contestants also delivered incredibly impressive sets and, it could be argued, that any one of them deserved to have ranked in the final three. I was not alone in this summation since, after the battle, talking to such fellow judges as Roli Rho, DJ Cheese, DJ Shiftee, and Snayk Eyez - all of whom had chosen different top threes - the consensus was that it was too challenging task to narrow it down to a top three. Snayk Eyez summed the battle and the content of the competitors up best when he noted how each competitor was 100% on their game with their skills down to perfection meaning that then, "It all came down to delivery, presentation, showmanship," said the visiting Bay Area DJ/judge. 

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Shing02 + DJ $HIN's New Icon Series Dedicated to the Technics SL-1200 Turntable

Posted by Billyjam, May 21, 2013 08:21am | Post a Comment
"I think it's beautiful that we all contributed to this cultural movement of hip-hop, though some unwillingly, from the engineers to the marketing guys to the DJs, that's how instruments change history when they're taken out of the original context.. Just like how the Hammond organ was designed for church music and Leslie speakers came along to jazz things up, or when distortion was introduced to the electric guitar, and so on. The invention of mixing breaks and scratching transformed the idea of music as we know it, and it owed a great deal to Technics SL-1200s, which was only meant to be a high-end record player for audiophiles." - That's DJ/producer/musician and occasional contributor to the Amoeblog Shing02 talking to me recently on his clearly passionate feelings towards the Technics SL-1200 turntable and its importance to DJ and hip-hop culture. His admiration for the Technics turntable is so great that, along with fellow  SL-1200 fanatic DJ $HIN, Shing02 recently unveiled the webpage Wheels of Steel: Technics SL-1200 series folder icons dedicated exclusively to that  beloved DJ instrument that a few years ago, to the shock of many DJs, ceased being manufactured.

As both a fan and practitioner of hip-hop Shing02 says that he cannot but hold deep respect and love for the Technics SL-1200. It was this feeling of awe for the turntable as to why he and DJ $HIN decided to set up the the icon series dedicated to "one of the most impressive runs in modern design achievements." The icons in the image above were each assembled from dozens of pictures found online, and reflect every model upgrade including function, buttons, lights, and finish. The website also outlines the history of the model which began back in 1970 when Japan's Matsushita Electric (later to become Panasonic Corp.) introduced direct-drive turntables (SP-10), updating and upgrading the model throughout that decade. It was in 1972 when they introduced the SL-1200 MK1. The website notes how the 1210 series was the European counterpart to the 1200s as well as how the company continued to manufacture many direct drive models before the MK2 in 1979 which would go on to become "the de facto industry standard." The following three decades of models resulted in only minor alterations in design. The very last model would be the MK6 Technics SL-1200 model in 2008. Two years later, in October 2010, the company ceased all production of the beloved turntable. Below is my conversation with Shing02 about the turntable and the new icon series whose future updates will include interviews with some retired Technics engineers.

Amoeblog: What made you guys decide to do this icon series dedicated to the 1200's?

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DJ Quest: May 2013 Amoeblog Interview

Posted by Billyjam, May 9, 2013 02:38pm | Post a Comment
Usually DJ Quest goes to Amoeba but last week it was the other way around when the Amoeblog visited the Mission District home studios of the legendary San Francisco turntablist (video below) who has done several performances at Amoeba Music over the years including a record release set for his 2008 album Questulous and another with the DJ youth group the The DJ Project, that featured youth DJs from Horizons Unlimited and the Quest School of DJ Arts, where he mentors at-risk youth to gain arts education as well as the employment and entrepreneurial skills to help get them music-related careers. Throughout his two-decade plus career DJ Quest has always been as much of an inspiration and educator to aspiring DJs as he has been an artist/performer - using the turntable as a tool and sort of text book to educate and inspire. Last summer accompanied by talented young DJs he went down to Monterey County, CA where, as part of the Monterey County Free Libraries' (MCFL) Summer Reading 2012 program at several branches across the county he hosted several well-received scratch/hip-hop DJ turntable performances and Q+A seminars.

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DJ Traps Wins 2013 SF Regional DMC Battle

Posted by Billyjam, April 29, 2013 12:00pm | Post a Comment

DJ Traps working his winning routine @ last night's 2013 San Franciso Regional DMC DJ Battle

Proving that you really can make lemonade out of lemons DJ Traps - last night's winner of the  2013 San Francisco Regional DMC DJ Battle - shared during his acceptance speech that his personal life had not been going so good lately but that, via his craft, he had managed to turn all that negativity into something positive. "I been through a lot of shit recently," admitted the winner of the prestigious DJ battle without going into detail. "But I took it all out here," he said gesturing towards the two turntable and mixer set up on which he had just done his stunning six minute winning routine of the heated, high caliber DJ battle.

The competition - the second annual Bay Area DMC Regional in a row after a noticeable six year gap of any DMC battles in the Bay - was a fun and talent-packed turntable competition that was as much a DJ battle as it was a reunion and gathering of Bay Area hip-hop DJs of the past few decades. In addition to young DJ cats like Santa Rosa competitor DJ Lazy Boy (aka Gregory The Great) there were OG Bay Area DJs like DJ Apollo, Pos Red, DJ Quest, and QBert who all started out in the 80's as well as next generation DJs like Teeko, Snayk Eyez, and Golden Chyld who arrived on the scene in the 90's. The whole event, that ran from mid afternoon into the evening at Neck of The Woods on Clement St. in San Francisco, exuded good vibes and a shared love by all in the house for hip-hop DJ'ing and scratch music. DJ Lazy Boy, who placed third in the competition, said during his acceptance speech onstage with DJ Apollo - the MC of the night - that he had grown up listening to the Triple Threat DJ crew (the Bay Area supergroup featuring Apollo along with Shortkut and Vin Roc - another one of the night's judges) and that he used to practice his DJing to, using routines done by Apollo as his template, noting that "it was an honor" to now be onstage alongside his turntable hero.
 
Following a great warm up set by Mista B, who dug deep in his crates to spin lots of old school and golden era classics (Grandmaster Flash + Furious Five featuring Melle Mel, Run DMC, Audio Two, etc.) plus a bunch of throwbacks from the Bay Area including IMP/Cougnut and Rated X/C-Funk, the SF DMC battle started with the first round of each of eight DJs doing two minute routines.

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