THE CORNERSTONE: Salute The DJ
OK. So you aren’t trying to make it big in the music business. You’re no artsy-fartsy type, and could care less about new jack new jack artists with slightly unpolished stage shows. Maybe you enjoy the acrobatic styling of record player wizardry displayed by turntable technicians. Maybe you’re old school, preferring less Lil’ B, more Brucie Bee.
If you had attended the Salute the DJ show on the fourth night of the Festival’s run, you would have been right where you wanted to be.
The DJ was the focus, and as the cornerstone of hip hop, the importance of the disk jockey cannot be underemphasized.
The DJ is a crowd-motivating sonic orator, as demonstrated by Twilite Tone and Chairmain Mao, cutting, blending and stringing together songs from different eras into a smart tapestry of music, while B-Girls rocked the breakdance cipher at the front of the stage.
The DJ is a instrumentalist, deftly demonstrated by the “inventor of the scratch,” Grand Wizzard Theodore, as his dexterous displays of dueling turntables elicited several eruptions from the appreciative audience, followed by an awe-inspiring performance from the X-Ecutioners’ Mista Sinista, both men incorporating expert scratching, cutting, beat-juggling and interaction with the audience into their exhibitions.
The DJ is a showman. Or in the case of Roli Rho and DJ Getlive, showmen, as their display of coordinated turntablism became a sight to behold, from coordinated efforts over quadruple Technics 1200s, to both men simultaneously manipulating a single turntable.
The DJ is a professional. It is worth noting that Roli Rho was seemingly suffering from equipment troubles, yet persevered throughout, staying cool under pressure and pulling it out a strong performance when needed the most.
And the DJ is a conductor. As both DJ and producer, hip hop veteran Marley Marl help lay the groundwork for the music’s ascention from New York phenomenon to worldwide movement.
[Click for pictures from Brooklyn Hip-Hop Festival: Salute The DJ] [Click to see our pictures from the Brooklyn Hip-Hop Festival Main Day]
If you had been at the Salute the DJ show, you would have seen Marley Marl orchestrate a tribute to the late Mr. Magic, of WBLS’ “Rap Attack” radio show fame, with performances from several artists from that exciting and influential era.
You would have seen the pioneering Cold Crush Brothers breaking out their signature routines.
You would have seen the woman who “gave birth to most of them MCs” Roxanne Shante, hit the stage in a rare, spirited appearance.
You would have heard O.G. punchline master Craig G. recite his verse from “The Symphony,” one of the best posse cuts in rap music history.
Young or old, familiar with them or not, you would have been thoroughly entertained at the synchronized stage show and smooth crooning of the Force MDs.
I mean, come on. “Tender Love?” Live!?
You would have witnessed a Tasmanian Devil-like performance by Keith Murray, who furiously ran through his more celebrated guest appearance verses and singles with whirlwind energy.
All in all, throughout a night filled with music, singers, dancers, rappers, turntablists, radio personalities and producers, the DJ remained the focus, just as the DJ sits at the centerpiece of the hip hop family tree.
[Click to see our pictures from the Brooklyn Hip-Hop Festival Main Day]