The Lost Art Of Dj’ing by @1djtnt
REAL DJ’s were bred to be solid
“..for big face hunnids-dis bitch gits punished..”[email protected]
The preservation of the ART FORM of deejaying is my purpose with these blogs. The days of lugging milkcrates full of wax may be gone, but reader, the traditions that were passed down back then are sorely missed today. To me, EARNING that title is what made being a DJ special, what made it authoritative, it’s where all the accolades came from. I believe when you earn something, you cherish it more than if it was just handed to you. Being known as a DJ was no exception.
For example, I’ve seen comments by some old school DJs about the carrying of the milk crates full of records & have read other’s comments who’re dismissive of this act..you ignorant fools. In hindsight, the act of hauling these crates to gigs was a rite of passage. Now from a practical point of view, it was how we got our music to the venue & also to have a selection of records to chose from: When a DJ showed up with his wax, you knew who he was & if he had people carrying those crates also, you knew how much RANK he had. [His boys carry the crates, they got in for free. “..yeah you down & all but since you are riding on my coat tails, you gotta work”]. Everyone would know who’s with the DJ immediately. For the crew of friends, they would get some of the same perks as the DJ, for the DJ, he gets free help. Not to mention, continually lifting & moving vinyl in milk crates would strengthen up your forearms haha.
I’ve seen comments people made about equipment. What type makes a REAL DJ, hating on the new generation with all this technology available, ect. In my opinion-it’s not what you use, it’s how you use it. REAL DJs knew how to use & rocked with any & everything. ANY sound sources & a mixer. I was slow to embrace the new technologies [which in itself will be another post] but yes, this is a new era & all types of things are made available for DJs to use. But Hip Hop Dj’s, Club DJ’s, House, Disco ect. used turntables. Regardless what a DJ uses now to play, Real DJ’s know how to rock with turntables, period. NOTHING BUT [at least] 2 TURNTABLES, A MIXER & WAX. [Note: this may ruffles some feathers but, in my opinion if you only use 1 deck, you aren’t really DJing. The whole point of it is to work 2 or more tables!]. Even if they aren’t being used now, you still know how to work them cuz just like riding a bike, once you learn, you’ll never forget. I believe a large portion of the younger generation take what they have for granted. Back in the day we didn’t mix by looking at waveforms. We didn’t have a set playlist of songs [that became predictable cuz we did it at every gig night in & night out]. There was no need to buy a beatmatcher or hide transitions with air horns & screaming on the mic..REAL DJs DEEJAYED.
Another rite of passage was the steps a DJ took to first OBTAIN his own equipment, then to UPGRADE it. Those acts had meaning; You put your money BACK into your craft. Yes, you get a job to have extra cash to put in, yes, you get gifts & money from other sources, but primarily, with the money you made deejaying, you REINVESTED in yourself. Technic 1200s were & are the standard bearer for deejaying & when you graduated to a pair, it was almost viewed as one would view a medal of honor on a soldier. [Even if the tables were used, they still command respect]. Your equipment, your needles, your crates spoke volumes.. before you could even utter a sound. Do you remember your 1st set of tables & mixer? & What you had to go thru to get them? I KNOW you do, as do I.
The reputation a REAL DJ made for himself, by the way he played, was shaped like bricks in a building, from the ground up. Solid, and it lasted even when that DJ wasn’t playing. [Promoters back in the day respected the culture & knew not to let a sucka “dj” jam at their event..they wanted the best & when they couldn’t get the best, they still COMPed those who had status, for future reference]. When a REAL DJ stepped in a building, the energy shifted in the air so much you could feel it. Whomever was playing would either simply ignore that DJ & try to go harder or quickly acknowledged that REAL DJ’s presence. If the respect was reciprocated, you would see them talking to each other, giving dap, ect.. and if they were REALLY cool..that DJ that just walked in might get on the decks & give you a little taste of magic. Because after all reader, the heart of all of this is the music..and how it’s put together. To me, It is ALL about the music. A REAL DJ knows he works in unison with the MUSIC. He is the vessel in which the music is delivered. The magic comes when the music is what the listener likes, along with the DJ’s delivery of it, thru the transitions he uses [with skill].
You as a DJ have a chance to lead, to educate, to shape & influence.. All by the records you choose to play & not to play.
We all have access to the same music. The same equipment. So it isn’t what you do, it’s HOW you do it. And from an old school DJ’s perspective.. it’s how HARD you do it. Every time. Nobody is perfect, least of all me. However, I strive for the perfect transitions, the perfect song selection, the perfect mixtape, the perfect one of a kind set EVERY TIME I AM HEARD. I compete..with the memories of DJs in the past & present. I try to out do whomever is considered the best in the area & most of all, I try to out do MYSELF. I know what I am capable of. I practice my craft consistently, so I am prepared to not only show up, but ROCK a party, at a moment’s notice. Do you have allotted time for practicing your craft? Or do you spend more time spamming people online about how you’re “the hottest dj in [insert city or town name here]” & “got the stupid dope moves”?
So, earning the name. Practicing the skills. And when it is time to perform, leaving it all in the venue. And when you’re done, and you are sweating. and the free drinks are still sitting there, cuz you didn’t get a chance to drink them. And people are coming up to you saying you did that. and the promoter pays you promptly and gives you your props. and means it. and it is time to turn everything off & break your equipment down..in that moment, it hits you that you crushed your set. REAL DJs are built on night after night of that specific exhaustion; Their reputation’s cemented. Their expectation’s heightened. And they, in their mind, are already in preparation for their NEXT gig. THAT to me is a REAL DJ.
DJing is an art. DJing ain’t no hustle.
Be clear: It ain’t that I hate you so called “djs”, it’s that I LOVE the artform. I RESPECT the culture. I APPRECIATE & know the history. My posts aren’t being conceived out of hate. Nor in this community’s comments or our discussions, are they meant to encourage hate. They are being conceived out of LOVE. We as REAL DJs merely offer our perspective & our respective histories to the younger set & it’s up to them to choose. To choose what, who & how they represent. How I personally feel about not only the art form & the culture, but the preservation of both, far outweighs any ill will directed at individual’s & attempts at coming up..so much so that if it reads like I’m
bashing, oh well. You might just be reading out of context or missing the point all together. Could I stand in a room with DJ Scratch or Jazzy Jeff or Kid Capri.. much less a Kool Herc, a Grandmaster Flash, an Afrika Bambaataa, and sign off on the push button mumble mouth copy cat coon fests?! Could YOU? Those DJs may too big to say anything about it, in public..but I’m not. Until next time, stay REAL my friends.