Thursday, December 23, 2010

A Look At The Old School DJ...

A long time ago (back in the day)... In a party or Disco... Far, far away...

Back in the day, before sampling machines and computers that let you digitally manipulate a drum sequence on a track, DJ’s used to do have to manually create beats live by using something that is now called “Beat Juggling.”

Beat juggling occurs when a DJ engages in playing a section of a song on one turntable, and at the very moment that the beat ends, cueing it up on a duplicate record, on another turntable. This was often done to extend a part of a song that a DJ particularly liked; perhaps one that really got people dancing. Beat Juggling was also used in order to create unique songs, using multiple turntables and one or more mixers.

What did this mean for prep-work? This meant that DJ's had to carry big bulky records to every event, and quite often, two copies of many of the same albums!

It is said that beat juggling with a small section of a beat is looped using two copies of the same record was first done by Kool DJ Herc at a disco club in 1973. The idea caught on and later was refined by other early hip hop DJs like Grand Wizard Theodore (first DJ to scratch in 1977), Grandmaster Flash, and Afrika Bambaataa.

DJ! Cut it up one time! ...“Scratching” came about by mistake, as the DJ was cueing up the next beat and enjoyed the sound that it made. This eventually became the artform that it is in the hip hop world today.

Afrika Bambaataa. Also known as The Godfather of Hip Hop" - produced one of the first major breakdance tracks called, Planet Rock. He invented turntable techniques that eventually spread throughout the world. The first song with beat juggling and scratching to hit the mainstream charts was by mixed by Grand Mixer DST performing on the turntables in Herbie Hancock's dance track, "Rockit.” As a result, scratching and turntablism was exposed to the masses.

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