Lately I have been watching some documentaries about the evolution of Hip-Hop and was thinking about how the pioneers of DJing that created the techniques we as DJs use everyday.
Most DJs talk about Jazzy Jeff as the DJ that they look up to the most. I myself started back in ’88 as a result of hearing Jeff on the first Jazzy Jeff and Fresh Prince album “Rock The House”. But I rarely hear people say that they look up to the DJs that literally created the basic techniques that enable us all to take DJing to a whole new level.
Kool Herc and Grandmaster Flash in particular deserve all the credit for the idea of taking two of the same records and going back and forth from each turntable to extend a break. I personally have used the doubles technique my entire career. Grandmaster flash in my mind deserves all the credit for creating all the technics that are used in turntablizm today. It absolutely blows my mind that he figured out that if you touch the record with your hand you could manipulate it in a way never thought of before. This was the birth of scratching.
He also discovered if you mark the records with a crayon you can know where the break starts at all times. By simply counting how many times you need to rewind the record, you always end back up at the beginning of the break. He also figured out that if you put a felt piece of material under the record it it will slide much better, thus came the birth of the slip mat.
Everyone has talked about how AM for example would take rock records and mix them with hip hop. Well in the 70s, Africa Bambatta was doing this. He would play at punk clubs in Manhattan and learn about records that had never been played in the jams in the parks back in the Bronx and the other boroughs. These were records that were mostly only known by the white people in the city only. I think it’s dope that he had the balls to do this. The inspiration for one of (it not the most) iconic records to ever be created, “Planet Rock” came from records like Kraftwork’s “Trans-Europe Express and of course the legendary “Apache” record.
I could go on and on what these men did for not only hip hop but the entire DJ community. We owe them all I great deal of gratitude.