Thursday, November 12, 2009

The breakdown (that old familiar feeling...)

I love vinyl. That reason amongst all is the reason why I began deejaying. I love performing in front of people. That reason amongst all is why I continued deejaying. I'd always collected things and bought records from the earliest age I can remember. I remember that one Christmas. As I was right in the grip of the first wave of Hip Hop hysteria to hit New Iberia, Louisiana, I got a fingerless glove, the Chaka Khan "I feel for you" Lp single, some studded bracelets, and the Breakin' and Beat Street cassettes, and a shiny new Magnavox dual tape cassette "Jambox". I think it's fair to say Christmas 1984 treated me well.

Christmas 1985 was all about GI Joe. Christmas 1986 was my the Nintendo Christmas. And who could forget Christmas 1987 when I got my first skateboard. As my pre-occupation for "breakdancing", rapping, and graffiti faded out as my adolescent mind grew to discover new subcultures and technology. It wouldn't be long before puberty and High School would make it so that every decision I made had something to do with girls.

The one thing that remained constant was Hip Hop music. I loved it. Run DMC, Eric B and Rakim, Kool Moe Dee, Grandmaster Melle Mel, the Sugarhill Gang, the Beastie Boys, the Fat Boys, L.L. Cool J and the other artists of the time spoke to me in a way that Pop music or bands like AC/DC, Motley Crue, and Van Halen never could.

Once in Sixth grade Mr. Collins, our hip math/science/phys. ed teacher, singled out a Run DMC lyric in a lecture about the evils of this new rap music.

"I met this little girly/ Her hair was kind of curly/ Went to her house to bust her out/ I had to leave real early." he dryly recited the verse as if he were reading it from the Bible.

He then began to launch into a tirade about the adult themes contained in this music and why we should go to Church every Sunday. These were the days before the "Parental Advisory" stickers. While I'll admit the lyrics were adult themed, I didn't truly understand them. I didn't find this anymore objectionable than the slasher flicks or Ninja movies I was allowed to watch. It was fun music for the most fun time in my life, a time I would try the entire rest of my life to re-capture.

Fast forward to Junior Year. My sister threw a party, and with my swollen tape collection and hand full of CDs I deejayed the party. We had one of those all-in-one jobs with the turntable on the top. At that time I didn't have any records. I tricked one of my sister's classmates into thinking that I was scratching the tape, by slickly tapping or pressing pause while he watched my hand touch the empty turntable platter. Yeah, he totally believed it.

Then came my voyage of self exploration. I started discovering punk rock via skate videos. I finally got my own car and would expand my small world out into Lafayette, Baton Rouge, and New Orleans. It seems that my love for hip hop had begun to grow up, as I started to discover groups like Public Enemy, A Tribe Called Quest, de la Soul, 3rd Bass, Digital Underground, and Del the Funkee Homosapien. Hip Hop had found a new companion in punk, but it was still there and always stuck with me.

I began going to these warehouse parties in New Orleans. I remember being pretty mystified by the deejay up there on stage and how he would have hundreds of kids completely absorbed in his music. I was already absorbed in the burgeoning psychedelic drug craze that had reached into my rural Louisiana town. So this was a new and fascinating aspect of this culture that would combine things that I'd already become acquainted. I was also conflicted by the fact that none of these deejays scratched. Growing up listening to Jam Master Jay, Grandmaster Flash, and Grandmixer DST I thought that scratching would have been Lesson One. I felt like these cats were getting over on me.

It was a party in New Orleans, and a trip to Tower Records that changed my life. On these frequent trips to the city while everyone would go to some "afterparty", I would hang out at Cafe du Monde. I would buy a magazine, drink coffee and eat beignets as I waited for Tower to open up. At this point, I stumbled upon a graffiti magazine called Subculture and inside there was an article with Rob Swift. It intrigued me, but I was more interested in the styles of the AWR/MSK expose' on Krush and Tyke.

As I went back to my apartment in Baton Rouge, I got back to my life. It was all about school, my part time job, and yes, GIRLS. I would buy records at the record store by Chimes and at Music Treasure Chest on Acadian Thruway. I was just a record collector then, just as I had been a comic book collector. Records were art. It wasn't until one Saturday morning when I had an early call at work and I had stayed up particularly late partying that it all came together. I accidentally left my 100+ CD book on top of my car as I drove away. Almost ten years of music collecting went down the drain in one thoughtless moment. This was the moment I went from record collector to deejay. Something inside me snapped, and I began to exclusively buy vinyl. I would go to thrift stores, flea markets, out of the way spots, garage sales basically anywhere I could dig. I bought a record bag and I would carry records out to every afterhours spot I would hit. My reasoning being that maybe one day one of the deejays would let me play if he were sick or someone didn't show up. Surprisingly it happened, and I did eventually get to play records in front of people occasionally.

These were the days before I owned turntables. These were the days when I became acquainted with my something completely new... depression. What I'm sure was a side effect of all of the random drugs I was ingesting at the time, I began to have severe battles with depression. This was when I first got on Paxil. Paxil worked for me. It returned my brain to a state of manageability. It stabilized my moods and allowed me to think clearly again. In these early days of anti-depressant medication there were no real rules. No one ever told me not to abruptly quit taking my medication. The weeks after I stopped taking my Paxil began a rollercoaster ride that lasted for the next five years. I reached some of the darkest places in my young life. It made it impossible for me to keep a steady job, concentrate on school, or make any personal spiritual progress.

I did eventually cure myself, to a greater or lesser degree. Completely off of meds, I began watching what I ate and started exercising. Things started looking up and I began to get completely absorbed in Turntablism. Scratching, beat juggling and eventually battling became my new passion. At this point I wasn't concerned about making a career as a deejay. I refused to play Top 40 music, and I most certainly wasn't going to pander to club owners for gigs. I just wanted to get better, smarter, and win battles. The gigs would come.

Since then, my integrity has remained intact. Deejaying well, had never been more than just a side gig for a little pocket money until I moved to New Orleans. Once in New Orleans, I met Ed Maximillion and Melissa Weber and I started to think that I might have a chance in this larger market, to really make it as a deejay. With myspace allowing me to really get my name out globally and develop a following, I had a new mission.

I started a business. Consequently, it was deejaying that allowed the business to remain open for the first 6-8 months before it got it on it's feet. I got a manager/booking agent. He not only was my biggest fan and supporter, but he handled the parts of the business that, frankly, I hated. He was getting me good solid paying gigs, and I was seemingly picking up steam. My music knowledge began blossoming in this music Mecca, and I began to further expand my record collection.

Then he died.

I was saddened, but like Jamie always said "keep it moving"...

Keep it moving I must. The show must go on.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

The Nightmarish Saga of my ISP (AT&T)

It is over... I got my internet back and I'm calling tomorrow to get some money credited back to my account. Sorry folks if it seems I've been slipping, but I haven't I have some things on paper that need transferring and some interviews that need unearthing once I can clean the trash out of my Facebook inbox.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Grandmaster Roc Raida RIP! (1972-2009)

This summer has been tough for me losing idols. First it was Michael Jackson, a man I emulated from adolescence throughout my teenage years. Then we lost DJ AM, an incredibly dope dj I had just seen five weeks earlier with another of my idols Dj Jazzy Jeff. Next Raida, WTF God?

I've taken a lot of time to mull over this, and actually wrote unpublished blog entries on this very subject. The one I wrote for Raida on my phone at a bar, got completely deleted... Sweeeeetttt! So I'll begin again, and maybe republish the one about AM tomorrow.

Raida e-mailed me days before his accident about possibly bringing Roc Raida's Gong Battle for Supremacy to New Orleans. I never returned the e-mail fearing that he wouldn't want to be bothered with business while he was recuperating. The next few weeks were shrouded in mystery as to exactly what happened. There was report that he had to have surgery, and was in recovery; but no specific details on Geo's board. Then out of the blue, I get the news.

Official Statement from family

Roc Raida was particularly significant because if not for the X-Men. I would have never become a dj in the first place. Who knows where I would be or what I would be doing. I remember the first time I heard X-Men Style Beats from the Return of the Dj Compilation. I couldn't begin to understand exactly what he was doing. All I knew was he did it using turntables and records and nothing else. This began my infatuation for beat juggling. I spent months and months trying to do "that thing that Raida did". I had never seen a video, I just kept listening to it over and over and over trying to make sense of this new and seemingly impossible concept. Soooo much money spent on double copies of records. That became my crack. "Yo man you got two copies of that??" All trying to duplicate, unsuccessfully I might add, what the X-Men were doing.

Then I bought X-Men in Xercise... It finally began to make sense. Wow! I was still waaaaaaaaaaaaayyyyyy far away from their skill levels, but at least I had the first set of stepping stones. Watching them candidly break down each particular routine, the level of showmanship they displayed while doing these routines, the body tricks, and the overall musical composition was just mind-blowing.

"So this was the footage that led up to the Raida's 95 World Championship??"

Over the years, I would get more and more videos, Xecutioners 97 European Tour was another mind-fuck... This was some next-level musical instrumentation. It all really seemed impossible as if these guys were from another more advanced musical planet. These guys really fueled my obsession for what had been deemed "Turntablism", and I as a young man I was looking for something to fill a void in my life that had been occupying itself with recreational drug use (yeah I said it). So I delved deeper and deeper into this world and deeper and deeper into hip hop culture.

I was never in this for fame, or girls, or money. I was becoming a musician for music's sake. I was tired of being just a casual listener, a consumer, a wall-flower. I wanted to contribute. In my little sugarcane hometown, there wasn't much for me in the realm of dj inspiration. I had to move to Lafayette before I would even meet someone else that was a dj, much less a scratch dj. So I continued to create in a bubble, that's when met the first members of the crew Beauregard Breaux and T-Mike Girouard, these guys shared my love for all things hip hop and were down to help me figure this turntablism thing out. So for the longest time it was us in a room with three turntables and two mixers, just figuring it all out. I would learn scratch-drumming, Mike would learn a simple juggle breakdown, Beau would learn a scratch. We fed off of each other, and learned. It began to snowball until we all felt confident enough that WE could actually battle and win.

All of this wouldn't have happened if not for Roc Raida. I only met him once, to ask he, Rob Swift, Mista Sinista, and Total Eclipse to sign the jacket of X-Pressions at the State Palace Theater in 1998. So I never really knew him besides the correspondence I had with him through emails. But the emails meant a lot to me and he helped me on the path into what I am today.

So Raida, you meant a lot to me. If it wasn't for you, there truly would be no me.

Rest in Peace Brother Roc Raida, you were the personification of a Grandmaster.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Hey, It's a brand new day...

So what's up everyone... I hope you guys have read the DMC NOLA blog. Well, it seemed inappropriate to continue with the DMC theme for any longer. Since that fateful day the world has lost two important figures in djing DJ AM and Roc Raida RIP, but that's another post. It is my mission to give my readers not ONLY information on deejaying, music, or whatever, but a real portal into my day to day life, my opinions, things I like, my hopes and dreams, setbacks, failure, success, joy, madness.

I am a lover of all things done well. I am a soul searcher, and this blog is just as much for me as it is for whoever reads it. This is therapy... a sort of live public journal, which is what I believe the original purpose of the "blog" was meant to be. There are so many different types of blogs and all have a certain amount of entertainment value. Mine will be no different. I will offer you something more valuable than entertainment. I will offer you a portal into my mind and thoughts, a real piece of me for you to take, digest, and regurgitate however you like. If you keep reading, I'll hold up my end of the bargain and continue to crank out intelligent, legible things.

If you were a fan of the DMC NOLA blog, I've imported the posts from so you can go back and reflect. I was very proud of that blog, and I will be returning to it when the time comes to do DMC NOLA II. Now it's time to get to work on the new baby.



Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Reflections of the love you took from me...

So, I've just taken some time out to reflect on things. Basically things are good, but you know life is really what you make of it. I'm struggling and striving to do more every day. Maintaining focus and clarity are probably the two hardest things for me to do besides, quitting smoking and quitting procrastination. I'm glad to be alive to be going through it with all of you. I don't really have anything profound or even interesting to say today, except:

RIP Aaliyah!!! I wish I could have known you...XOXOX!!!!!!!!


A Fan

Monday, August 24, 2009

The Skateboarding Analogy

So I've been having a lot of discourse with my non-deejay friends, about my open letter to deejays blog. I don't want to be jaded, so I felt the need to better understand exactly what has happened. Was I really over-reacting?? Was I right on the money?

The feedback I got was overwhelming from my deejay friends. They all applauded it. But it was my non-deejay friends that still didn't get it. After a lot thought, I've come up with what I think is the most appropriate analogy. So ladies and gentlemen, I give you my skateboarding analogy...

The following was pulled from my post on the the turntablist network's message board...

Read original thread

My problem with the current paradigm is that somewhere along the way someone came along and altered the rules... Your "look" or "image" became more important than your skill set or your talent as a producer/composer. DVS systems have only stood to reinforce this trend, because no longer did your average dj have to start at the bottom, spending lots of money buying records and countless hours learning how to mix. He could simply jump ahead in the line over the djs with superior music knowledge and the collections to match. It made it easy for them to learn to mix records. It's also allowed promoters to start calling the shots instead of the djs themselves. Even worse is the promoter/dj who thinks he's a better dj than anyone he could possibly book. Somehow, someway the integrity has been stolen from us.

I believe it happened so fast we didn't even have time to react. Or we possibly just blamed it on a "new trend" as we all scrambled to get Serato, Final Scratch or whatever else was commercially available at the time. While most of us were spending our time arguing about traditionalism or purism on message boards such as this one, these people were re-writing the rules to include themselves.

This has been a sore subject with me lately and I've done plenty of arguing about it.

The best way to understand what has happened is by using a skateboard analogy.

A skateboarder starts out at the bottom of the sport. Then by practice, dedication, and lots of studying, he begins to progress. As he is progressing, the sport is also progressing along with him. Therefore, it becomes a lot harder with each passing day for the skateboarder to become recognized and a whole helluva lot harder for him to become famous. Eventually once he has matured or developed his own style, he begins to seek out the approval of his skateboarding peers. Either he starts going to contests or he makes his own "sponsor me" video to send out to companies. That becomes his first foray into marketing. Not until YEARS into his career does he ever become concerned with trying to market himself. And he surely wouldn't have anything to market if he hadn't spend a good chunk of his life dedicated to the sport. If he couldn't do any tricks or he didn't have any style do you think he would ever win a contest or get sponsored or gain any sort of acceptance from the "Old guard" skateboarders????

Why is skateboarding like this? SKATEBOARDING is run and policed by other SKATEBOARDERS or former SKATEBOARDERS. There is a system in place to prevent outsiders from changing the rules.

Essentially what has happened here, is akin to a gang of skateboarders that become pros and took over modern skateboarding simply because they bought skateboards. Instead of learning tricks, they just learned how to market themselves. Instead of going to contests or making sponsorship videos, they just started acting like they were already pro. We've essentially been gotten over on by a bunch of posers. A whole bunch of people who walk around holding their skateboards that are talented enough to ollie onto a curb have basically taken over and made doing fancy tricks and actually having talent obsolete.

Think about it. Prior to the DVS trend, it was the dj who had the most talent and or records that would get to dj the big parties. Why? They earned their position. What we've got to figure out is HOW DO WE TAKE THE POWER BACK?? How do we change the rules back to the way they used to be?? What do we have to do to restore the natural order in the dj game??

Thus is the crux of my argument... Now let's get to work on fixing things...

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Michel Gondry, your videos are awesome...

I feel the need to big up one of my favorite music video directors... He's the director of The Science Of Sleep and Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind... He's brilliant!

Hope you enjoyed that as much as I did!!! Also check out the Daft Punk's Around the World video. I would've added it, but I couldn't embed it.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Bionik Brown Videos...

R.I.P. Nate "Bionik Brown" Woods : The day all of New Orleans Hip Hop cried...

August 11, 2008

I'll never forget where I was when I heard the news. I was sitting exactly where I'm sitting now, doing exactly what I am doing now, same desk, same job, same laptop, same cup of coffee to my right. I was checking my myspace and I saw Quickie Mart's status that Bionik had passed away.

"This has got to be a joke!" I said to myself...

I messaged Quickie and he got back to me later that day, and I found out that, NO... this was NOT in fact a joke. It was a tragedy. I first met Nate as a fan. When I lived in Lafayette, we would drive out for his shows. He became one of the emcees that I most admired, for his talents and his lifestyle. His talent was evident, but few knew that he was a man of God who never touched drugs nor alcohol nor cigarettes. I remember talking with him at length after a show at Twiropa and being impressed with his no nonsense take on the world. I could speak volumes about his music and the amount of times I'd listened to the Lucky Stiffs Mixtape, or the Darkness and the Light. New Orleans lost an ambassador, a son and a friend that day one year ago to something as senseless as drunk driving.

Nate and I really didn't begin to become friends until after he moved to Denver. The year was 2007, he was about to go on tour and was looking for a tour dj. I eagerly through my hat into the ring. I knew that working with Bionik on a daily basis would be a huge honor. This came at a time when I had given up alcohol (entire calender year 2007). I felt like it would be a good fit for me and possibly some of Nate's spiritual well-being would rub off on me also.

We talked about once a week or so for a while. I don't even know how seriously I was even being considered, but I never did get the occasion to work with Nate. When I heard the news I was crushed. I could only imagine how devastating it was to his family, and his close musical brethren Quickie Mart, Know One, Impulss, Soapbox, Truth Universal, etc...

I always wished I could've thanked him for sharing his gift with the world. It is my hope that today we can plant seeds in his name, remember his art, and make art in his name. Let's make AUGUST 11 of every year, BIONIK BROWN DAY!!!

Thursday, August 6, 2009

DMC US Finals Weekend (THE BATTLE)

So I climb up onto the stage, with my baggage in tow, at Santos Party House. I grab my clipboard with the judging sheet. I exhale, knowing I'd finally really gotten here, with time to spare.


A couple of people came up to greet me one was Dj Revel (aka Max Pounder), the other was Dj Steel. Steel introduced me to the rest of the Brick Bandits including SOLO, who I also knew from Geo's board. All this was completely surreal. After my miserable morning, then frantic traveling, I couldn't believe I was finally here. I'm really doing this. I'm a judge goddammit!!!

Growing up as a battle dj, my greatest ambition was to win a regional and make it to the US Finals. Well, I never thought it would come to fruition with me making it to New York as a judge. Basically the long and short of it all, is that this is one of the biggest honors of my life. There's not much more that could match this outside of my own championship.

As I step on stage, I immediately recognized Marcus Pinn and Donnie Dee. I battled in Austin the year that Donnie Dee won. I remember how shook up he was that he won. It was pretty touching. I felt like I'd already had met Marcus Pinn. I mean he was one of the reasons I started posting on Geo's Board. We were friends on myspace & facebook. I subscribe to his blog. I'd followed him through a kidney transplant, and the horror of the Manhattan based architecture firm of which he's employed. Marcus is one of the people that I most admire.

To my left was Dj Slyce, the 1997/2008 DMC US Champion. He finished 2nd in the world in 2008, and he's another person whom I only know from Geo's board that I greatly admire. WOW!! I saw "Baby Fatfingaz", but where was Fatfingaz?? Where were the rest of the judges? Dj Precision tapped me on my shoulder to shake my hand. This is getting more major by the minute. I looked straight ahead to the turntable setup in the center, there was Lord Finesse. Yes, people THAT Lord Finesse. Then I saw OC coming up on stage to holler at Finesse, "dude it's OC for crissakes!!!" Then there was Kool Dj Red Alert... The man, the voice, the legend had me buggin' out from just his voice. I would look down, to jot something down and I would just be like... "Maaan, Red Alert!!! WTH??!!"

I heard someone yelling at me from the wings, it sounded like some girls. It was! Marilyn from Mix Revolution who I talk to on twitter all the time and Sally Mclintock or Sally DMC. I jumped up from my seat to give them a hug. I couldn't believe all of this.

As Lord Finesse warmed up the crowd with the classic tunes, Kool Dj Red Alert warmed the crowd up on the mic. He kept making cracks about Poo Poo juice in his drink. I'm guessing that was some kind of inside joke about brown liquor. I was starting to get anxious about the battle.

The order was:

1. Lodus (L.A.) - Angry Ex's
2. Mista B (S.F.) - 4OneFunk
3. Concept (Fl) - Fader Ballistix
4. Fascinate (NH)
5. Q-Base (TX)
6. Ty Handswell - (Bmore)
7. Ohm One (NM)
8. Steel (NJ) - Brick Bandits
9. Shiftee (NY) - Lo Lives
10. Shmeeze (LA)
11. As One (DMV) - Rockvillians

The time was upon us. When Lodus led off on the right setup, we all noticed that the sound was pretty terrible. I hoped the sound guy, who looked like a cross between Rick Rubin and a bicycle messenger, would fix it... He didn't.

Next up Mista B on the left setup! Mista B came through and straight up rocked it from the beginning with some serious Cali Funk. I had been watching Mista B youtube videos all week, and I was particularly looking forward to seeing him rock it. He delivered in a major way. His sound was so clear an unique. I felt sorry for whatever dj had to follow that...

Concept was up next. I already knew Concept from the New Orleans heat. He chilled at my house before the battle and practiced his routine along with Steel, and Rugged. I knew what to expect, but no one else did. Concept was playing on the right setup (the setup with the percieved sound problems). Once he got up to perform, he immediately noticed the sound problems. He tried get the sound guy to tech it before he performed. They tried, but to avail... The only thing the sound guy managed to do was to eliminate the hum on one of the turntables. Once Concept started I could immediately see the disdain on his face. He had a look on his face that said, "FUCK!!! THIS SOUNDS TERRIBLE!!!!" At one point he stopped his routine altogether looked at us and was like, "The sound sucks on this setup!" He threw his hands up and looked at the sound guy like... "Dude are you going to fix this?? I mean it IS your job." He reluctantly finished, but he was NOT happy.

After some deliberation, we decided that the first two routines on the "bad setup" would have to be re-run. That also meant that the battle would go on with just one set of turntables which would seriously impede the flow of the battle, but Red Alert is a pro and so is Lord Finesse. The crowd wouldn't even notice.

So up next was Fascinate from New Hampshire. He came through with a heavy metal styled routine, complete with a Pantera juggle so y'all know I was feeling it. He kinda lost me with the second half of the routine, but the first half was fresh. I wish he would've continued with metal for the entire routine.

INTERMISSION... During this intermission Lord Finesse rocked the crowd while Rick Rubin's illegitimate son worked on the right setup. No dice... Continue with Plan B.

Lodus' Re-run... FRESH, FRESH, FRESH!!! For a cat who placed 3rd in his region, he certainly looked like a top finisher. Every one of the judges was impressed with him, and we were all glad that the sound issue was cleared up and we could go on with the battle.

Concept's Re-run... Like I said I already knew what was up. I caught some of the judges asking "He came in second???" like they couldn't believe he didn't win. I've got a feeling that Concept will enter Supremacy next year, and do really well. He's got the right look for it, and his cuts are definitely at that level.

Q-Base was up next. He was the second place finisher in San Antonio. He was solid, but not on the level yet of being able to compete for a top slot. It was evident to everyone. I hope he'll be back though. You can only get better from year to year.

Ty Handswell was up. I know Ty from the Geo's board, myspace, and Facebook. I knew pretty much what to expect from him also... Combo juggles. For everyone not in the know, a combo juggle is a beat juggle using two different records as opposed to using two copies of one record. Well, Ty came off... He had a good crowd friendly routine, and he got the most crowd response since Mista B, although Mista B still trumped everyone thus far.

Dj OHM One was next on deck. SOLID. That's as simple as I can put it. He was good in all aspects, his intro, cutting, juggling and transitions were all where they needed to be. For his first US Finals, I think he made a great showing. I look forward to seeing him next year. I think he is really one to watch out for in the future.

STEEL : I'll be brief about Steel, because he is the homie and I don't want it to seem like I'm biased. He did the same routine from New Orleans, and he executed. This time he wore shoes. His juggles were the freshest of the entire competition in my opinion.


This was the go to the bathroom, get a drink, smoke-break, judges break. In this time Shiftee was practicing his routine. Also I must add that Shiftee was wearing a DMC Champions jacket, a 1999 Thailand Champion's jacket. Now Shiftee was probably 13-14 in 1999, so we all just shook our collective heads and laughed. It turns out Shiftee collects champions jackets. He has three more at home. This guy is crazy. Well Red Alert actually calls him out for wearing the jacket and makes a joke to the crowd. I'm wondering why no one has called him out for wearing a bomber jacket in the middle of the summer in New York City... Oh well, the jacket serves it's purpose for sure.

So, next up is Shiftee... He came in to the building to WIN. He did not disappoint. From the very beginning of the routine, he had the crowd eating out of his hand. At one point, he stopped his routine to solicit applause from the crowd. Everyone went nuts. Shiftee had it all together. He used all of the mixer, his entire routine was completely stacked with bangers... There's not much more to say besides SHIFTEE KILLED IT!!!!

Next up... Shmeeze!! Shmeeze brought the Dubstep out to the finals. Super dopeness!!! He along with Mista B had the most distinct sounding routines. His cutting was on some next level isht. He's a strong competitor and I expect him place for sure.

FINALLY, AS ONE!!!! I had been looking forward to this for a good while since I found out in my previous interview that he had a custom set made up that he didn't get to showcase in the Fairfax regional. As One also rocked it. The highlight of his routine was an Inspector Gadget piece that was soooooo funky and completely indicitive of the DMV turntable style. I was impressed.

Now next were showcases by first I-Dee, then Precision. For the sake of brevity, I'll just say that either one of these cats would give any dj in the world problems in a battle. I-Dee has some of the best stage presence and presentation of any deejay I've ever seen. Precision (whom Red Alert kept calling Precise... SMDH) has the best juggle patterns in the US, possibly the world. He is an X-Ecutioner...


AND THAT'S A WRAP... Coming up next... My adventures in New York with Matt and Alex!!

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

This is about where I'm at as far as Saints Season is concerned...

Ladies and gentlemen... I give you Supa Saint, in Supaloose!

DMC US Finals Weekend (the trip that almost never was PART TWO)

Delaney arrives to pick me up from the airport at around 9:30 A.M. and she's apologizing. I'm emotionally shutting down in a confused mix of denial, frustration, and anger. In the back of my mind, I haven't lost hope. Most of you who know me know I'm a pretty optimistic cat that never gives up. I called up Christie Z to tell her that, regrettably, I couldn't make it. She was understanding and wondered if perhaps I could still work something out to make it to the battle. I informed her of my airport nightmare and pretty much closed the door on making it to NYC. I called my mom to let her know that I could help her move this couch. She offered to pay the $800 ticket for US Airways to get me to NYC. I couldn't take her up on the offer. That amount of money for a one way ticket cannot be justified in my mind, no matter what the occasion. So we travel home, and I try to find something to occupy my day. All the anticipation and excitement seemed to have turned into anxiety and depression. I walk through my house trying to find some semblance of a day to salvage so that I might forget about my ill fated trip and my chance to partake in this ONCE IN A LIFETIME opportunity. No chance!

My phone starts ringing. I contemplate not picking it up. It's my mom.

"Hey, where are you at?" she asks.

"I'm at home. When do you wanna go get that couch??" I ask.

"Uhhh, I found you a cheap flight on Continental. It leaves at 11:55 it's a direct flight. You'll be flying into Newark. The plane arrives at 3:55. Happy Birthday!! We're on our way to come get you now!"

OMFG!!!! NO WAY!!!

So apparently my sister had her Continental Airlines rewards card in her wallet (my Mom and my sister fly A LOT), and they called Continental directly and reserved the flight. I'm gonna make it after all. I remembered Christie Z's words. Maybe you were supposed to miss the flight for some reason. Maybe something terrible would have happened on the flight or on your way into the city.

Yeah, maybe I would've gotten mugged and the universe was trying to keep me alive so I could catch this second flight. I don't mind the plane ticket being my birthday present. I just wanted to be in New York.

So my sister comes to get me and I'm off to Louis Armstrong International Airport for the second time that morning. I arrive at the airport and I get my e-ticket at the self-check in terminal. Ok!! Now it's 11:00 by the time I get through security.

"Yeah, on time plane leaves in about an hour! I'm gonna make it!" I thought to myself. I was elated, relieved and grateful that I would be going. This emotional rollercoaster was pulling in to the stop to let me off.

I get an overpriced hamburger from the Kiosk right next to the gate. I eat quickly, still frantic an nervous from the morning's events. I had never flown into Newark, I was not really sure how I could get in to New York. I guessed that a cab would be upwards around $100,000 and I'm not terribly familiar with the transit system at the Newark airport. Whatever, I'll cross that bridge when I come to it. The important thing is that I've got a boarding pass. I'm in time for my flight, and I'll be getting to NYC in time for the battle. I care about nothing else.

I call Christie Z, and update my twitter feed letting all my NYC people know that despite prior reports, I will be arriving God willing. The flight begins boarding, and of course my group is the last to board. I can't find a spot in the overhead bins for one of my carry-ons so I just hold it in my lap. I'm to the no bullshit point where there small stuff really just doesn't matter. My focus now is to land in Newark and find the quickest and cheapest avenue to get me to Santos Party House before the start of the battle.

Once I settled in and buckeled my seatbelt, I seemed to relax. The anxiety washed from my body and the calm of exhaustion took over. I fell asleep before the plane took off only to wake up for lunch service and fall back asleep.

When I arrive in Newark, I've to take the AirTram to the train station then take the train directly into Penn Station in Manhattan. I dash, trying to make up for lost time.

"Where's the AirTram??? Where's the AirTram??"

I find it after asking a Homeland Security Airport dood. I jump on the AirTram, turn my phone on and hit up my twitter. I get to the train platform and the next train will be 15 minutes. I go into the bathroom and change into my clothes I wanted to wear to the battle. I splash on a little cologne, wash up and I'm good to go!!!

Next stop, the train into Penn Station. New York City, here I come!!! Seems like I'm making pretty good time on the train. I text message my people letting them know I was coming to town, I update my twitter feed. I check my email (what did I ever do before smartphones?) even play some PacMan on my phone as I await arrival into one of the greatest cities on Earth. I'm peeping all the graffiti along the way and I'm people watching. There are these two Jersey bammas obviously en route to the Mets game. I deduced this from the fact that they were dressed head to toe in Mets attire, I could be wrong, but if the shoe fits...

I arrive at Penn station and begin to make my way to the surface. I get in the line at the cabstand, and the time is about 4:45 PST. The battle was supposed to start at 5:00, and I've absolutely got to be there for 5, when the judging starts. Being there for the battle really was enough for me. It would just be a huge blessing if I could actually take part in the judging. I know that events like this NEVER run on schedule. So I'm not worried. I jump into the cab and I text Christie Z to let her know my status. I'm not expecting her to delay the battle, I just wanted her to know I was en route. I was really looking forward to meeting, As-1, Marcus, Slyce, Fatfingaz, Sally Mclintock, Marilyn Sasha, Dj Revel, Precision, Solo, Doug Coen, Mista B, OHM, Lodus, Cj Sanchez, Baby Fatfingaz, Kool Dj Red Alert, Lord Finesse, and Dj Supreme.

I'm on my way. I'm anxious. I'm relieved. I'm thankful. I'm nervous.

I arrive at the Santos Party House. And thankfully the battle hasn't started. I check in with Christie Z, and with all of my bags in tow I settle into my role as a judge.

DMC US Finals Weekend (the trip that almost never was PART ONE)

So, I was asked on July 10th if I would like to judge the DMC US Finals at Santos Party House in New York City. I graciously accepted the honor. And since that day July 10, 2009 the day when all of our lives were changed by the DMC New Orleans Battle, I'd been looking forward to flying to NYC and being a part of an institution that has had such a profound influence on my life.

So Delaney takes care of making my reservations and accomodations for the weekend. I fly out of MSY on Northwest Airlines Saturday August 1st, 7:00 A.M. CST, I arrive the same day at 11 A.M. into LGA. Bus from the Airport to the 7 Train into Grand Central Station, check. White House Hostel, 340 Bowery, check. It's an late check in, 3 P.M. but the Hostel is a 17 minute walk from the venue according to Google maps. Should'nt sweat it, no big deal... Doors at Santos at 4 P.M. Seems pretty straight forward.

Yeaaaaahhhhh!!! Plans are made!

The days leading up to the battle end up being pretty hectic. I had all intentions of going to bed early on Friday, so I could be fresh for my flight. Weeellll THAT ISHT DIDN'T HAPPEN!!! Me and Delaney decided to go out drinking at THROWBACK so she could check out the crowd for this Friday's Mash-Up Edition of THROWBACK because she's guest djing and she's the kind of girl that likes to be prepared. In retrospect maybe the Jager shots were a bad idea, but we ended up getting home at around 3:30A.M. Now I remind you that my flight leaves at 7:00, so I need to be at the MSY for at least 6:15, best case scenario, 5:30 but I wasn't checking any bags, so it should be a problem. Right???

So Delaney decides to sleep on the couch so she could "get up", because apparently she sleeps really light on the couch. I sleep in the bed, and I plug my phone on the charger by the couch in the living room.

"Should I set an alarm in the room baby??"

"No, I've got an alarm. I'll wake up."

"You sure??"

"Yeah, I'll wake up!!!"


So I went into the bedroom, and I couldn't be bothered to correct the time on the blinking clock that had begun blinking the prior Wednesday after a brief power outage. It takes me about 12 seconds to go to sleep. And when I wake up it appears as if the sun has already risen. I panic, the clock is blinking something completely absurd like 3:38. So I run into the foyer and check the atomic clock. OH SHIT, it's 6:20!!!!!!! I wake Delaney up. It turns out that when her alarm went off, instead of pressing snooze she dismissed the alarm by reflex and went back to sleep. Now we're frantic!

I rush to throw everything in the car and put on my travelling clothes, so I can get there while the plane is boarding. We rush, Delaney is driving... fast!

We both hope against hope that I get there in time to board the plane. I get there at 6:45 so automatic check in is out. I check in at the counter and get my boarding pass and the Northwest Counter girl screams "Hurry!!!" Well I have to wait in the Security Line which isnt very long, so I'm thinking that I'm going to make it. I'm furiously checking my watch in line. Damn! Damn, damn! Hurry up line... So I get through security at like 6:57 and put my shoes on and dash for the gate. I get to the gate at 7:01 and the plane has already backed out of the terminal.

I'm crushed. I rush back to the counter and see if there are any other flights to NYC through the airline. There is a fully booked flight with a layover in Nashville which would put me in NYC at 6:40... NO F*CKING WAY!!! The next flight after that is on Sunday, what good will that to me?? Nothing... I'm going out there to judge, if I can't make it out to judge what's the purpose of me going at all?? I want to go just to be there, but at this point it doesn't even look like I can get on the 11:45 Nashville flight. I am beside myself.

So I begin to run frantically through the airport to the US Airways counter. It seemed that a couple traveling with a young son had missed their flight and possibly could get me on a US Airways flight. Well I go and check, no dice. I could buy a seat but that would be over $800, and I don't have that kind of money to poop out every time I miss a flight. So I rush back to the counter, trying to possibly get on standby, but by the time I get to the counter there are already 5 people in front of me on the waiting list for a booked flight. It's not looking good for the Skratch Man.

All they can do is shake their heads and look at me silly. There's apparently nothing. I explain to the guy at the counter that I have to be in New York for 5:00, and I was under the impression that they would try to help in any way to get me to my destination. So much for assumptions...

So I do a lot of frantic pacing, until I finally make the call to Delaney to come and pick me up. That was one of the hardest calls for me to make because in essence I was giving in. The dream had died.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

EF Cuttin is New Orleans best kept secret...

EF Cuttin' is my favorite dj. He's been deejaying longer than most of you have even been alive. Between making mixtapes for local New Orleans artists and Djing for Truth Universal and now CurrenSy, it's amazing that he still has time to release heat like the TwixShow mixes...

TwixShow #1

TwixShow #2

TwixShow #3

Each one of these mixes is a festival of pop culture and hip hop obscurity sure to make any self respecting music lover laugh, cry, and shake their bodies down to the ground!

You can catch up with EF Cuttin on his myspace @ Facebook @ and twitter @EFCuttin

Holler at him and tell him how fresh the TwixShow mixes are. And also be on the lookout for the multitude of EF Cuttin projects slated for release in the very near future. Show love. I'm out.


Tuesday, July 28, 2009

AS-1 Gets RAW!!!!

In my interview with AS-1 I don't know how I missed this... I'm floored. This is so fresh!!

I have offically been "warned"!!!

So after taking a while to marinate, apparently Ryan now really wishes me and my family some physical harm. Today when I checked my Facebook messages, he now wants to get "gully". Are you fucking kidding me??? This isn't 1996 and this isn't Brooklyn brah, ya heard me?? So once again for the sake of public record, I'm going to post the threats. So please everyone out there, be on the look out for this Ryan Hodges person. He's obviously very emotionally unstable, probably a danger to himself and others, and most definitely in need of some mood stabilizing medication.

Subject : Gully

Ryan: you say we got problems the next time you see me? I know where your mom lives, where you live, and your girl lives. You want real beef? I have no problem airing you out in my city or yours.

So apparently I'm going to be "aired out". I think my friend Don Libido put it best this morning, and I quote, "Plus... 'I have no problem airing you out in my city or yours.' Umm, where is HIS city, again? And what would he have to air out? That you're a deejay? That you play more than just underground Hip Hop? That you hosted the first DMC in NOLA? That you (and a handfull of others) are the only ones doing Hip Hop still in the Crescent? Him trying to call you out is like me calling Mannie Fresh out as a bitch who doesn't know shit about production..."

As Jermaine Quiz said, "Its just hilarious, its not even beef... its tofu!"

So there you have it, another man's opinion. I'm not going to release the myriad of personal messages, but I will tell you some of the message titles: "Douchebag", "What an ass clown!!", etc...

So my best advice to this guy, is to check your ego, get a job, get a home and lastly get a life. Please seek some professional psychiatric help. I'm sure you have some deep seeded emotional problems. So good luck with your mental health issues. I sincerely hope you get some help.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Shiftee's Salsa School of Scratch!!!

After about a week of being totally exhausted, it's time to pick up where I left off. New Orleans DMC is a thing of the past so, now I'm gonna focus on some of the US Finals competitors. Shiftee is a brilliant dancer, sandwich maker, and mixologist. Let Shiftee, take you through his mild scratching lesson. SALSA!!!!

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Weekend Wrap Up (Fashionably Late) PART ONE

I have been waiting my entire life for a weekend like this. I'd been hoping against hope that one day my fair city would be able to support events of this magnitude.

My Friday started early, I had a pickup of my best friend and Zulu 206 representative, DJ Gumbeaux, at the airport. I needed some help on stage, and he seemed like a perfect fit. We were also having a Zulu outreach meeting on Sunday, so it was dual purpose. Well it seems that the two hours I had between first pick up and drop off was the only down time I would have all day. I wish I would've savored it.

Well, next were I-dee, Steel, Rugged. I ended up picking up Concept too because he was on the plane with I-dee. I had a full car load on the way back to the city, and everyone was pretty hungry. So we went to Crabby Jacks for some poboys. Then we went to check I-dee in to his hotel room, well... pre-checked in. From then on there were people who were posted up on my couch and on my turntables until 7:30 when I had to pack up for the Howlin' Wolf.

Lesson #1 : Never book people in separate hotel rooms. I spent far too much time in the car on the night of the battle picking people up when my time would've been better served in the venue getting everything ready.

Well after picking up Christie Z, Teeko and I-dee, I scrambled to get everything set up so that the battle could start. Originally we had around 20 djs set up for the battle. Only 10 showed up on the night so let the prelims begin...

Truth Universal was the perfect host for the evening. He kept the crowd involved throughout the night even when some of the delays lasted a little longer than the regulation 2 minutes.

Of the three representatives from Louisiana, Jermaine Quiz, Know Respect, and Beverly Skillz, only one looked as if to have ever put a routine together prior to that day. That simple fact made me wish I could've entered the battle even more, and that the rest of my crew would've entered also. I remember the days of Raj Smoove, Hektic and HC when coming to New Orleans to battle would make you want to step your game up. I guess since battles began to dwindle years ago, so did everyone's desire to battle. Well, of the three from Louisiana, Beverly Skillz advanced to the 6 minute round.

I got an interesting insight in the judging that night. I got to see exactly how each competitor is scored and I got to see each judges score sheet. Well, without going into detail the top six scorers were as follows:

1. Steel
2. Concept
3. Rugged One
4. Beverly Skillz
5. Axis Powers
6. The Don Santos

Shortkut did a little party rocking interlude, and we were in to the final.

The Don Santos went up first, his routine was pretty solid, but not loaded with any real high degree of difficulty. He did do a blindfolded beat-chase, which was cool albeit gimmicky.

Axis Powers has his showmanship turned all the way up. His strength lied in his cutting but his beat juggles weren't where they needed to be for a top three and we all knew it. He ended his routine by breaking a record on the turntable, which for the crowd was entertaining the display IS a little overdone.

Beverly Skillz was the fan favorite. As she stepped up, the crowed roared and she basically had them eating out of her hand the entire routine. She did really well except for some skipping on one of her juggles. When she began cutting to the Triggerman beat everyone went nuts in the crowd. She really knew how to play for a room of fans.

Rugged One from Boston, had the only flawless routine out of the three in my opinion. His routine was comprised of combo juggles (juggles using two different records) scratching, and just plain funk... It was a stark contrast from the next competitor...

Concept from Boca Raton, Florida was up next and his routine was uptempo and in your face. His routine reminded me a lot of what Netik and Rafik are doing in Europe with Le Jad records. His set was almost flawless and it seemed the crowd was pretty in to it. All Concept would've needed to take first was a little more showmanship and another juggle. Which brings me to...

Steel representing New Jersey was the highest scorer from round one, and he performed last in this round. Steel had his 1st place game on. Everything was right on, his juggles, his scratching, his transitions, and he didn't miss a beat when I mis-read the timer and shorted him one minute. He resumed his juggle like nothing had happened. His difficulty level was the highest of all the competitors. The fact that he made it look effortless only added to his set.

Well once the finals wrapped it was showcase time. I-dee went first. He unleashed a barrage of scratches first, and then went into juggles of maddening proportions. As the routine progressed he seemed to get better and better and more and more into the crowd. He might as well have entered. He could've given Steel, Concept and Rugged a run for their money. I-dee finished to uproarious applause.

Next up was Teeko. Admittedly, I was looking forward to Teeko's set most of all. He'd brought a synthesizer, a Vestax Controller One, and an MPC 1000. He began by tapping out a beat on the MPC, and building the melodies using the Controller One and the synth. He continued with a C1 cover of Billie Jean, and he ended with a unbelievably hot cover of Herbie Handcock's Rock It. Teeko was a huge hit with the crowd also and he wrapped up to an uproar from the crowd.

I expect to be seeing Teeko and I-dee a lot more in New Orleans.

Well it was time to announce the places. After deliberating with Christie Z, it had to have been the shortest decision of the night. The scorecards were identical and, Truth Universal strolled out to give the crowd the results.

3rd Place was Rugged One
2nd Place was Concept
1st Place was Steel

That was exactly what I had decided also. Had I been a judge, the results would've been the same.

Next up was the ICU to close out the night. I couldn't stay around for their set because I had to wrap up all the lose ends on stage, pack everything up, and make sure everyone was taken care of and everyone got to where they were going in time.

Well at this point I was pretty frantic, trying to get people to Handsome Willy's for the afterparty, even though the battle ran waaaaay late. Well, I got there and a few people followed, not as many as I'd liked. But nonetheless, it was a good party. I could finally wind down, have a beer and relax.

Well time passed pretty quickly and it was time for us to leave. We all decided to go eat at Deja Vu on Conti. By that time we were all pretty delirious, and by the time we walked out of Deja Vu, the sun was coming up. No rest for the weary, because I had to bring Steel to the airport at 10. The weekend goes on...

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Now it's time to get excited y'all...

In lieu of tomorrow's festivities, I thought it only fitting that I would post some of my favorite DMC routines of all time in their entirety... This is a post for everyone to enjoy... So take time out of your day and check it out!!!

That should be more than enough to wet your palette for Friday night!!!

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Plus One is Still # 1 after all these years!!!!

This is an excerpt of Plus One (Scotland) and his I'm Still #1 beat juggle. This helped him win a DMC World Championship in 2001. Show love to this!

The Inkwell Press does ink well!

Inkwell Press is on it's grind. Gabe Flores started his business with a dream and confidence that he could break away from the 9 to 5 life and make something that truly belonged to him. I've been a fan of his art and music for well over ten years. In fact Gabe is one of my oldest friends in New Orleans. He's always treated me and my people with the utmost hospitality and respect anytime we came to New Orleans. So in turn we supported him both by buying his shirts and traveling to see him perform as Soapbox. He was one of the first people I looked up when I first moved to the city, and I'm incredibly happy to see Inkwell taking off.

Gabe was the very first sponsor of DMC New Orleans, and I'm proud to feature this interview here.

T5: So what got you started with designing, and more specifically t-shirts??

GF: When I was 16 i got caught spraypainting my high school. As punishment my principal suspended me and made me submit to an art contest that Coke was having for a new soft drink called "surge". I ended up winning the contest and getting exploited, (I think that was the first time my art was on a billboard though) and afterwards a local screenprinting company hit me up to see if I would come to learn to do the graphics at their shop. That's how I got my start back in 96'...I even had my own streetwear company called Evrywear back then, R.I.P.

T5: Hahahahah, yeah it 96 was the first time you art was on a billboard, but most certainly wasn't the last. I remember EVRYWEAR, I still have two old Evrywear shirts. So back to spraypainting... How'd that contribute to your development as a recognized artist/designer??

GF: Contribute? Im not sure. I guess I got a little street fame from painting. God Awful Krewe painted the entire upstairs Jungle room of the State Palace back in '98-'99, and I used to design flyers for Children of Bass and Family of Light as well as our Gray Area shows. I think that spraypainting taught me alot about technique, style, and rendering. I didnt go to art school so most of what I know about design came from graff and street styles.

T5: Who are some of your biggest influences in and out of the art world?

GF: My main influence is Hip Hop. The mentality of making something from nothing. Plus the culture encourages keeping your game up so that your skills are sharp, because life is really just a battle with yourself. I learn about a new person killing it in their artform everyday, and thats what inspires me. Whether it be someone from my krewe or somebody I never met...I like the underdogs and the unappreciated masters of their craft.

T5: DOPE!! I like that... The underdogs, the unappreciated masters... Well, I've always known that you've had a passion for making badass t-shirts. So how'd that translate into Inkwell Press?

GF: Well, like I said, i basically learned the graphic side of printing by working for other people. In the late 90's I was pushing my line called Evrywear. I had about a dozen or so designs out, some are still in circulation. This was before Sean John and Roca Wear and all that. I think Wutang had a clothing company around that time though. Anyways I was pushing my gear on Decatur in front of a Redman/Methodman show at HOB and I met their tour manager Seven, who claimed he would get me in the show and get Meth and Red to wear my shirts. After I was done hustling I went to get in and they told me I wasnt on the list, so I thought I got beat. Next thing I know the owner of Urban Trends (A streetwear chainstore that used to have spots all over New Orleans) calls me up yelling about how Method Man and Redman were wearing my shirts on stage! After that dude tried to buy into my company and wanted to mass produce and take it to China and all that, but I wanted to make sure the trademark was in my name. It never panned out b/c he didnt want me to have that kind of control so I walked away. Unfortunately the whole affair left a bad taste in my mouth so I quit fooling with t-shirts for awhile. I was 18 back then. After that I worked a bunch of odd jobs and then I started working at a print shop in Metairie. I worked from the bottom up and eventually learned to print and everything else about the production side. Couple years later I Micheal J. Foxed my way into owning my own business...

T5: What are you working on now??

GF: Right now i am running the bizz and printing for a lot of local artists, as well as doing DVD and CD duplication for cats who are trying to put music and videos out. Im still painting canvas and permission walls. You can see my work on Desire and St. Claude and also Press + Dauphine. Im looking into buying a house real soon and making sure my 7yr old has what he needs. Some of ya'll might know me from my days on stage as Soapbox, I played shows allover the city and went on tour with Galactic and Media Darling records. I have put the music aside for the time being to get my business in order but I plan on releasing some new and old unreleased material soon, in collaboration with the Able Chris and Prospek of GPC. So stay tuned. Big ups to the God Awful Krewe, Guerilla Publishing Company, Private Pile, Impulss, and all the DJ's keepin the wax spinnin'...R.I.P Bionic Brown & Money are missed.

Of course you can catch up with Gabe in the various ways. He's got a Facebook page, also checkout which I'm sure he put up for his 2012 Presidential Run. Lastly check out THEINKWELLPRESS.COM

So hit him up for all your printing needs. Spread the word because INKWELL, does ink well.

Monday, July 6, 2009

OK, this is what's up USA, stakes is high!!!

This has been directly taken from Christie Z's post on Geo's Board!!!

VA: As-One (Rockville MD)
TX: Ohm (Albuquerque NM)
NY: Shiftee (New York NY)
CA: Shmeeze (Fountain Valley CA)
NOLA: ??

but provided the following DJs pick up their own expenses to get themselves to NYC for the battle on August 1st...

I am also inviting all runners up:

VA: Ty Handswell (Cockeysville MD)
TX: Q-Base (San Antonio TX)
NY: Fascinate (Tilton NH)
CA: Mista B (San Francisco CA)
NOLA: ??

as well as 3rd place in
3rd: Lodus (Pico Rivera CA)

This is not guaranteed to happen in years to come (because God willing, we will one day know qualified promoters in more states to bring the battle to their area) but for this year - I think it will be an exciting battle.

4 out of the East Coast (NYC & VA)
4 out of the South (TX & NOLA)
3 out of the West (CA)

Other pros:
1. increased interest in the battle
2. reps from more states
3. more people attending the US Finals
4. better show at the US Finals
5. interesting array of the top battle DJs in the US for the dvd

I hope you are as excited about this as I am!
I can't wait to see who wins in New Orleans!!!


D. Francis... D.O.T. (Death of Twitter)

So D. Francis of Tygah Woods hates twitter. So he made a song. I thought y'all should check it out.

Tygah Woods interview coming soon... I still like twitter, but you raise some good points.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

I enjoy being photographed in Dirty Coast T-Shirts...

Man, I don't know what it is, but I was going through some pictures on my Facebook & myspace pages, and I was taken aback by just how much I've been photographed in Dirty Coast Shirts... I honestly just have 6 (six) of their shirts, but from looking at my photos, you'd never know it. I'm also not particularly fond of being photographed in the first place which only adds to the extreme oddity of this phenomenon.

At the SXSW Skratch Session

I first heard about Dirty Coast from lil Doogie. I know, I know, never take advice from a puppet, but in the Doogie Shirts video he just burned those words in my brain.

"Dirty Coast got dem shirts, big shybe on the scene. Come to Five-Seven-Zero-Four Mag-a-zine. (repeat chorus X4)"

So that became my mission, I absolutely needed to get a Dirty Coast Tee. More specifically, I NEEDED a Doogie shirt. As we all know when you go from wanting something to needing it, it becomes a responsibility. So I headed on down to good old 5-7-0-4 Mag-a-zine. As I was passing the Jefferson St. corridor through all the cool little boutiques, I was looking for Dirty Coast on every storefront.

"I really don't remember seeing it out here," I said to myself...

There's no way I could miss it though. The address is burned into my mind. So I pass Whole Foods...5600 Magazine.

"Awww yeah!!! I'm getting close!!!!"

Then I peep it, and at the last minute make the left turn into the parking lot. I finally got there, and Doogie led the way... As I enter, I become surrounded by local flavor. Not only are all the shirts beautifully designed, but every single one of them is in some way Louisiana themed, more appropriately, New Orleans themed. I looked around...

"Damn, wow!!!! It's the Supa Saint picture that Doogie was rapping in front of in the Dirty Coast video!!" I'm like a kid going to a new candy store.

Supa Saint is another local internet phenomenon I'd become familiar with while doing my "research" on Doogie and Dirty Coast. He really does capture the spirit of every single Saints fan in this city, but I digress.

(L to R) Beverly Skillz, Kid Sister, Tony Skratchere, lil Doogie, A-Trak

So I begin to eye the merchandise. I realize, I've seen some of these designs before. Whoa, "Be a New Orleanian wherever you are". That bumper sticker had been on my car for months. Now I struggled to remember who gave me that sticker. How had I not come upon this t-shirt paradise before??

Scratching at Sasha's House

It was a t-shirt paradise. Being a designer myself, it was a design nerd's paradise. There were little subtle digs at pop culture, homages to other t-shirt brands, rip-off's of logos tweaked in Orleanian fashion. There was a Supa Saint shirt and the coup de grace... Doogie.

So, I grabbed a Doogie shirt and eventually settled on a Supa Saint shirt. I went up to the counter with my purchases...

"Why did you choose this one??" the guy behind the counter inquired pointing at the Doogie shirt.

"Because of Doogie, I love his videos. It's the funniest thing I've seen in a long time!! I've been talking Doogie up to all my friends. That sh*t is the TRUTH!!!" I replied.

"Those guys are friends of mine."

"Well, tell them that I'm a fan. I can't wait to see how far this goes... I think all it's going to take is the right person to see this and Doogie will have his own show on TV."

Me and Doogie in the Grotto

The guy thanked me for my purchase and gave me some free stickers. I walked out feeling like I had just bought a gold brick, or a really rare comic book. I couldn't wait to sport my Doogie shirt. I WANTED people to ask me about it, so I could tell them how genius the videos were, and how I'd found this gem of a t-shirt store uptown. Well every single time I wore the shirt, it had exactly that effect. This was a pretty long time ago, before the magazine covers, before the big room shows at One Eyed Jack's, before Doogie was rapping with PNC, waaaay before his album came out. I was trying to figure out the exact date. I left a comment on the day I first saw the video on Vimeo, but for some reason I can't figure out how to view the comments. I was the first and only person to leave a comment on the Doogie shirts (uncensored) video. If someone could please tell me how to view them I could give you an exact date.

Well fast forward to today, and the real point of my story came when I saw a Dirty Coast twitter post about posting your flicks on their flickr group. I just went through all the pics on my computer and various social NOTworking sites, and I realized how many pics I had wearing Dirty Coast couture. I've played at least five shows in which I wore a Dirty Coast tee, and I've been photographed by friends in almost every bar or social situation. It all boils down to me just being a big fan of Dirty Coast and feeling a sense of pride when I wear their shirts. I'm not sure whether it's about supporting local business, or the "cult of cool" started by Doogie, or that the designs are just flat out fresh, but I do seem to enjoy being photographed in them.

You can check out Dirty Coast at the aforementioned address, also at Stop by the site, sign up for the mailing list, keep up to date of special promos, official Dirty Coast events (like DMC New Orleans *shameless plug*). Stop by the store. Check out the quality. It really has to be seen to be believed. You can also add the Dirty Coast myspace and Facebook through the website portal. You can also follow them on twitter @dirtycoast Check them out!!! They are officially what's happenin' in New Orleans.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Gizmo has the best "job" in the world!!!

It's time I turned all you dj/general technology nerds on to a site very near and dear to my heart. is owned and operated by Mark "Gizmo" Settle. He and his rag-tag team of veteran djs from all corners of the world have the daunting task of reviewing all the latest dj equipment, software, and general miscellany dealing with global dj culture. I'm not so sure Skratchworx will ever be featured on the Discovery Channel's Dirty Jobs, but it's a tough job and someone has to do it.

Since I first discovered Skratchworx about 2-3 years ago, it's become my GO TO resource whenever I'm shopping around for new gear. The reviews are comprehensive, detailed and accompanied by beautiful photographs, no doubt taken by Gizmo himself. I bought my last dj mixer (AEM-100i) on the strength of the Skratchworx review, and I've never been more pleased with a piece of equipment. Thanks Skratchworx!

Here is a video of Gizmo hard at "work" on the Numark NS7...

I'm going to go and take a nap now and dream of a life in which I'm surrounded by dj toys. Although it appears to be all fun and games, Gizmo is a hard working chap with a penchant for expensive toys, and a family to feed. All in all Skratchworx is absolutely the most comprehensive site for dj equipment news and reviews. You may have heard me mention Skratchworx's dj message board step-brother Skratchlouge, sign up there and make some friends.

I'd advise everyone to check out also I highly recommend checking out Skratchworx's youtube page HERE!!! It's pretty entertaining and informative... Oh and you can keep up with Skratchworx on twitter also @skratchworx

Drop Gizmo a line tell him you appreciate all of the blood, sweat and tears he puts into his work or worx, as it is.

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Dj Slyce does an early Michael Jackson Tribute

Thanks Supreme, for reminding me about this routine. Dj Slyce is super relevant to this blog because although this is from his run in the 1997 DMCs, he recently came out of retirement and won the 2008 US DMC championship. So peep the technique, still fresh after all these years.

DJ AS-1 : Ready for the World...

Dj AS-One is one of my friends from Dj Geometrix's message board. He's from the DMV metroplex, he's a kung fu expert, he's got a fiance', he's a fan of the peace sign, he's a Skateboard Magazine packrat, he's an XBOX LIVE junkie, and he's one helluva battle dj. He won the first heat of this years DMCs in Fairfax. I thought it only fitting to feature him in the DMC New Orleans blog... Here is the interview, check it:

T5: So, where you from? And How'd you get into djing??

AS: I grew up in the DC suburbs, 15-20 minutes outside of the district. MD pretty much. I currently reside in rockville MD.

I met this dude one day in the late 90's, around 96-97' or so while skateboarding at the elementary school half a block up the street from my home. I was 15. he was an older cat, prolly 19 or so then and apparently just moved back into the neighborhood a block 1/2 up the street back in with his peeps. long story short, we became good friends and would hang out, write graffiti and skate all over the place. one night we ended up in Georgetown at a record shop named yoshi toshi's(?) i believe and although i didnt even have TT's yet, somehow he convinced me to buy my first slab of vinyl. it was a record by DJ Assault, "Dis bitch."

Anyhoo, being a skate video fanatic, the 98' DMC World Finals video caught my eye sitting in the glass counter. so i bought it! we watched it later on that night and i remember him commenting about craze's routine and was like, "ehhh. he's aight"(!) I on the other hand was pretty much blown away by what these guys were doing and I new then and there that i was gonna have to somehow get me some decks!

Coming from playing the alto sax since fifth grade, jazz band in middle school then picking up guitar and percussion instruments the summer before high school, i saw the turntables as an "instrument" first(.), as opposed to tools for mixing music with. which could be a good or a bad thing depending how you look at it...

I feel that in the beginning, for me, i lacked in basic mixing skills and jumped right into "turntablism" without realizing the amount of heart and dedication that it takes to get on the level of these guys i watched in the 98' DMC World tape. funny thing is, im that guy now that laughs at the dude who can do 3 click combo-variation-integration-flotation-scratches but cant 'mix' for SHiiiT. go figure...

AS-One and GW Theodore

T5: Dude, I jumped right into scratching and juggling too. I also had no concern for mixing in the beginning, crazy... So what was your first battle, and how did you place??

AS: yeah man, im sure there were a grip of heads who started out that way as well. i mean, these dudes on the world stage in 98 were killin it, it was impossible (4me) to at least not want to 'try it'.

My first battle was in 2002 for the Rockville store Guitar Center Spin-offs, winner goes to ATL for regionals. I actually won it, although I shouldn't have. I went up against this guy named RUIN (aka Donnie Darko [spankrock]) and i thought he killed it. he had a juggle with M.O.P's Anti Up that i thought was dope. anywho, I knew that i obviously lacked in skills/technique compared to him but i was told (by one of the judges) that my overall set, attitude and showmanship was what brought me the W (whatever that means.!?).

If I hadn't have won, i would have never went to ATL and gotten the opportunity to meet Mike Brie (aka Mr. Fred Funk) and Geo (the godfather himself)! not to mention DJ Smalls, Machette X and DJ Lord...

So while down there, Geo tells me about this session at some kids house a couple weeks away in VA that i should come to. turns out to be at I-Dee's crib and thats where i ended up meeting a lot of the DMV fam like Ty Handswell, Fernie, Fein, Oz, Waheed and others! It was pretty much a wrap from there...

T5: That guy you beat I believe goes by the name Lord Darko now. That's dope the way that works out, it's like had you not won that battle, you might not have ever met Geo and you might not be sitting here with a ticket to the US Finals.

You mentioned skateboarding earlier... Still skating?? What role did the skate culture have on your development as a Championship dj??

AS: Pardon me, LORD Darko. i stand corrected! But yeah, I'd be lying if i said that i still skated-skated. i dont think 3-5 times a year counts. does it? I do however keep up with the scene for sure. Transworld Skateboard Mag has been my most beloved toilet reader for just over 10 years now! I have pretty much every issue since 98'. I'm not a hoarder or anything either I swear. I just cant find it in my heart to let them go... Nowadays, I get to live out my fantasy pro SB career through EA's Skate2 on xbox360, Gamertag: DJAS1, whats good!?

Come to think of it, skating has taught me so much about myself. about passion, about pain, about limits... sounds corny, I know but like if I had never been so passionate about skateboarding, I would have never known what it actually felt like to be that passionate about something or anything in the first place! did that make sense? Skating, like DJing, like Golf even, for the most part is basically a single person, focused on one particular thing, at one particular time. like a constant battle between you and yourself. crowd or no crowd, its just you and your tools, doin what it do.

The competitive side of me, however, is safe to say came from my martial arts backround. I trained in a couple different northern shaolin kung fu forms for about 5 years with my cousin and his friends. from age 10-15 actually. We were pretty hardcore. it was to the point where my grand father (r.i.p) would drive a bunch of us from the academy up and down the east coast as far down from FL, all the way up to Boston for these martial arts tournaments. EVERY WEEKEND during the summer for 3 consecutive years. Sparring, forms, weapons forms, you name it, we entered it. With some of these dudes i used to train with, we literally were like the real life cobra kai! My short arse actually had about twelve 1st place trophies that would literally tower over me, it was friggin ricokulous to say the least. my cousin actually just opened up his own Jiu-Jitsu academy in DC a couple months ago, shouts to him.

Dj AS-1 The man behind the myth

T5: Note to self: Don't piss Dj AS1 off, he can kill me. Battling isn't for everyone. I guess that's why I hold Battle Djs in such high regard. Any memorable battle experiences you'd like to share?

AS: hahaha. nah man, that's the thing, I am so not that guy. never really was... I just really enjoyed the actually art of it I guess.

I'd say my first battle for sure. the 2004 and 2005 DMC Delaware Regionals and definitely the 2005 DMC and Guitar Center Nationals. The GC battle was craaazy man, I mean 5k+ at the Wiltern theater in LA. Kanye, Talib, Common and Madlib on the bill. Half of the Beat Junkies and Revolution on the judging panel. Not to mention Illtrax VS I Emerge! They had us up in there like some straight rock stars or some shit! oh yeah, i cant forget the 2003 DMC US Finals at Nations in DC! Best battle i've ever been to! hands down.

T5: The GC Nat'ls with Kanye, that was way before he became a gay fish. Playing in front of 5k ppl is craaaazy, and I remember the 2003 DMCs, that was the year Fernie won... Good times!

What djs/musicians do you admire and why??

AS: Good times for sure!

I have a huge amount of respect for a group of guys i used to play in a band with named Saint Jude. most talented and passionate group of musicians I've ever been close to, period. we were so close to getting signed i could taste it. Although things have been on hiatus for a hot minute now, I really hope that one day we can still officially put out the music that we created when we were doing are thing. it was truly beautiful... Steve, John, Ed, Julian. If your reading this, I love you guys (no homo)!

T5: No homo indeed... I hope I hear more from Saint Jude. I'm sure y'all will work it out once you win the US Finals on Aug 1st.

Any projects on the horizon? Where can we catch you on the regular?? And any shout outs to the world?

AS: I've been mostly workin on my DMC routine since January. It's a custom...

Funny story is, I slacked a bit on getting them pressed up and by the time I heard about the Fairfax Regional, I still hadn't ordered them yet. long story short, I ended up receiving the records through the mail the DAY AFTER the battle. so I literally ended up putting my routine together the night prior within like 2 1/2 hours. I used a couple routines I've done before and a couple new routines that i've never done in public. then i brought my tables to my work the next day, went through the routine about 4 solid times and then realized that I had to hit the road!

In between working full time, spending time with my fiance and practicing, I spend free time trying to use and learn Ableton Live. The performance aspect of the program really is what makes it a ton of fun for me. setting up the program to act how you want it to act in a live situation however, can be a huge pain in the ass! I use it in a similar way that DJ Enferno or Kid Beyond would maybe use it, like a third turntable, sampler or a glorified looper even. latley, since the DMC regional I've been in the lab trying to put together a show called The Audio Circus that I could maybe get gigs with at some point. some of the progress that I've made since i began the project can be viewed on my youtube page! yay.

Don't get it twisted though, I'll be reppin that hardcore ishhh this time around the finals. DJ's BEWARE!

You can catch up with AS One through his myspace, Also follow him on twitter @djas1. He plays XBOX 360, so his gamer tag... DjAS1... Hit dude up. He'll destroy you in Skate 2 and Street Fighter 4.

Monday, June 29, 2009

What a weekend, so much to talk about!

But unfortunately I'm sick... So I'm laying low until this passes. But I do have a lot of stuff coming up for you: a couple of interviews, some features on local record stores, my Dirty Coast feature... Until then, I'll leave you with a Doogie video!

Doogie Gras from lil Doogie on Vimeo.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Craze 1999 DMC World

Craze has always been one of my favorite champions. His style is so dynamic!!

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Michael Joseph Jackson (August 29, 1958 – June 25, 2009)

You were such a huge part of my childhood. I wanted to be just like you... This is how I will always remember you. I shed tears when I heard the news...

R.I.P. You will surely be missed by me.

Turntablist Transcription Methodology

Way back in 1999, I stumbled upon this website called Battlesounds trying to learn new scratch combos. There were all these quicktime videos of Q-Bert demonstrating these "next-level" scratches. Well there was also this little PDF booklet attached to the site. It was called the Turntablist Transcription Methodology or TTM for short, and it explained scratches in a linear fashion on a grid or staff.

"Wow, this is is pretty groundbreaking. There are so many possiblities, there's no limit to where this can be taken!!!" I said to myself.

Over the next few years, I used it frequently. Mostly when I'm trying to figure out a new scratch or trying to learn a new rhythm. I always wondered how widely this was used or if any other people even knew about it. Well when the movie Scratch came out, there was a part that briefly covered it. On the DVD special features there's even a Rob Swift demo of a written TTM routine with the written scratches scrolling at the bottom of the screen.

"Damn, now maybe it'll catch on more..."

Well, fast forward to 2007 when Thud Rumble's Scratchlopedia Breaktannica was released... There were over 100 new scratch techniques outlined in this DVD with only a short explanation which often times was vague or wrong. I found out later that the DVD was rushed into production and some of the scratch explanations never got to be edited or revised. So I set out to try to figure out some of these elusive scratches. With my TTM in hand, I was led to the skratchlounge.

Skratchlounge is the message board that accompanies Skratchworx, and is run by one of the original UK Turntablists Mark "Gizmo" Settle. Skratchworx handles all things dj. They post updates on new product releases and reviews of new dj gear. It's a super informative site and I actually bought my last mixer based on Skratchworx reviews.

Well, I joined the Skratchlounge because there was a Scratchlopedia Breaktannica help thread. When I got on, the thread was at about ten or eleven pages. There seemed to be a couple of scratches in particular that were really dynamic and baffling to all. Well what was the common denominator in our discussions??? It was the TTM. Sure enough, on a scratch message board populated by deejays all over the world, we were all using the TTM to bridge all language barriers. Awesome!!! I was prepared for this discussion, and I felt there was much for me to take away from this as well as much to contribute. I had been using the TTM to figure out scratches for almost ten years at that point, so it was only natural that I began contributing to the discussion.

Well over the next year or so, I learned so much from this discussion that it took my scratching to a level never before thought possible. I learned that some of the scratches I thought I was doing correctly were wrong, and some were right on. It was only through the understanding of the TTM that I was able truly learn, understand and dissect each indiviual scratch.

So I want to take time out now and thank the creators of the TTM, John Carluccio, Ethan Imboden, and Raymond Pirtle. I'd also like to shout out my Skratchlounge family who helped take part in these discussions over the past two years. Thanks, Dj Rags, Ritchie T, Johnny 1 Move, Alkivar, Gizmo and OKST.

Check out Skratchworx @ and skratchlounge @ Also check out the Turntablist Transcription Methodology website @