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...

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