The Lost Art Of The Dj Pt. 3 – Real Dj’s Speak With Their Hands, Not Their Mouths By @1DjTnt
“..you’ve made the same mistake politician’s have-talkin’ all that jazz..”-daddy o,stestasonic
Before Hip Hop, I remember hearing the old school DJs on the radio and occasionally on cassette & they were more like radio personalities than disc jockeys; They talked slick shit in between the songs they played. They never stepped outside of the cool demeanors that alot of times denoted their DJ names. Even the DJs at the skating rinks ran their mouthes so smooth & so cool, as you grabbed a girl’s ass on the slow skate. Hip Hop changed all that.
Hip Hop back in the day had defined roles. The elements of Hip Hop are DJs, MCs, Breakdancing & Graffiti. Each was considered a position of authority. The DJs in my opinion, were the cornerstone of this shit. They laid the sound down. All the pioneering DJs of Hip Hop [Kool Herc, Afrika Bambaataa & Grand Master Flash] had MCs. The MC was responsible for mic controlling. Most of the popular MCs ran their mouthes at the right time, adding their own original catch phrases and the popular slang to punctuate what the DJ was doing, which later evolved into the MCs making records. Club DJs were required to make announcements like “No drinks on the dance floor”, announcing if someone of prominence was “in the house” or “security to the vip section” after witnessing a fight break out. Other than that, you never heard the DJ on the mic..besides, he was too busy showcasing skills to have time to MC.
In “The New Reality”, most of these so call DJs feel the need to not only MC while “djing” [along with the MC mind you] but they are talking entirely too much! The talking, singing along to the lyrics, growling, screaming, yelling & lame commands [“let’s go”, “turn up”, or whatever the new phrase of the month is, ect] are being done, [in alot of cases], along with stopping the music & pushing effects buttons, to hide the lack of skills. I can’t think of any of my favorite DJs spending the same amount of time or more on the mic, than on the wheels. Now maybe a lot of this comes from the strip club “dj’s” emergence playing a pivotal [& most of the time, overhyped] role in “breaking music” & the way they do that. There is a big difference tho between deejaying in a strip club & deejaying a club or venue.
Knowing how to sing along to a rapper’s lyrics, or chanting along with the hook, in my opinion, makes you a karaoke bar hostess mane, not a DJ.
More than anything, the DJ that’s active (showing he has the ability to transition seamlessly by mixing & blending, with cutting & scratching as the only effects), can make the crowd sing along & react as that DJ sees fit. If the DJ is holding it down, he won’t want or need a mic and if he really gets down, an MC who doesn’t know how & when to speak, could be a hindrance to a REAL DJ. I believe the artist’s work being played is what the people want to hear, and the way the sound is laid is why the DJ is getting paid right? Now don’t think I am totally against speaking on the mic..but as a REAL DJ, you should be speaking with YOUR HANDS. I don’t have a problem with drops with the DJ’s name being blasted out, but not every damn song. I am a firm believer if you are rocking, those who feel you will let it be known. Crowds now a days are starved for REAL DJs so much so they will come to you and ask for a card, ask if you have mix cds for sale, ask if you do private parties, buy you drinks..In fact, some of the coolest acknowledgements I have received were dudes coming to give me dap as I blended or mixed a couple songs up they liked or at the end of the night, just making me know, to them, I did that. And I promise you reader, it certainly wasn’t cuz I was dancing around yelling in the mic, cuz I DON’T do that. I’m fond of saying I get people who feel me as a DJ the old fashioned way-I earn it. One person at a time. I don’t think a mic is needed for that type of respect. I know some of you new jack swingers will rebut that you are showcasing your personalities but don’t you think your song selections & skills in transitioning will showcase those same personality traits even more?
Also a REAL DJ to me, if he needs/wants an MC, should use the same one or two for all his gigs. In this new reality, the promoter just gives you an MC & expects magic. It makes things so much smoother when there’s chemistry between the DJ & the MC. Continuity can’t just be slapped together. The DJ is laying the sound right? The MC has to get in where he fits in, NOT the other way around. The MC should NEVER be talking during a transition & he should know the areas of a song where he can get in some talking without disrupting the artists vocals or if the DJ cuts up a section, how to accentuate what he is doing. A REAL DJ doesn’t have to speak..he will for lack of a better term “educate” his MC to do all the speaking necessary. That is the responsibility of the DJ & the MC’s responsibility is to ask if he doesn’t know when the time is right, so the DJ doesn’t have to cut his mic off.
Do you think a DJ should also be an MC/hypeman on the mic too? Do you think it adds value or takes away from the job of deejaying? What are some of the things a DJ in your opinion can teach an MC to be effective during that DJ’s set?
I appreciate all the responses on twitter & those who commented on the previous blogs. We definitely want you to leave responses cuz the discussions don’t have to end. Check back & reread other members of the DJServicePack.com community’s comments. Each one teach one.
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