Throughout July, we have been celebrating the elements as, Unity Radio’s Hip Hop Digi Factory, showcases interviews and works, for Unity’s Hip Hop month, in or Rap Week, Graffiti City, Rock On BBoys + BGirls and finally, this week, we bring you ‘Cut ‘N’ Scratch’ Week.
Join Unity Radio’s very own, Scratch Master, Mark XTC, with friends, and watch online as, our scratch DJ guests, showcase their incredible skills, live videoed streamed from the turntables, each weekday Drivetime, from 6pm.
Today catch DJ Gideon. live on the ones and twos from 6.00pm tonight, as we wrap up our final episode of ‘Cut N Scratch’ Week.
Turntablism is the art of manipulating sounds and creating music using turntables and a mixer. The artform was brought to the world by DJ Kool Herc, and Grandmaster Flash.
DJ Kool Herc, is generally regarded in Hip Hop history, as pioneering Turntablism, which is the fundemental element which gave rise to all other elements of the genre.
Kool Herc, would select a brief fragment of a record, referred to as the ‘break’, and with two identical records, would spin back each record and, flick between the two, to provide a continuous beat which Bboys, and Rappers, could then use as the sound track, breakbeat, to their performance.
For example as, record A plays, the DJ quickly backtracks to the same break on record B, which will again take the place of A at a specific moment where the audience will not notice that the DJ has switched records. Using that idea, Grandmaster Flash elaborated on Kool Herc’s invention of break-beat DJing and came up with the quick-mix theory, in which Flash sectioned off a part of the record like a clock.
Kool Herc’s revolutionary techniques set the course for the development of turntablism as an art form in significant ways. Most important, however, he developed a new form of DJing that did not consist of playing and mixing records one after the other. The type of DJ that specializes in mixing is well respected for his own set of unique skills, but playlist mixing is still DJing in the traditional sense. Kool Herc instead originated the idea of creating a sequence for his own purposes, introducing the idea of the DJ as the “feature” of parties, whose performance on any given night would be examined critically by the crowd on both a technical and entertainment level.
However, it was actually Grand Wizzard Theodore, an apprentice of Flash, who accidentally isolated the most recognizable technique of turntablism: scratching. He put his hand on a record one day, to silence the music on the turntable while his mother was calling out to him and thus accidentally discovered the sound of scratching by moving the record back and forth under the record needle. Though Theodore discovered scratching, it was Grandmaster Flash who helped push the early concept and showcase it to the public, in his live shows and on recordings.
Watch DJ Kool Herc in action below, explaining how he used two breaks, to make a continuous beat which unknowingly laid the foundations for the art of DJ mixing, giving birth to the DJ industry, which changed the course of dance floor history, for ever.