Will the real DJs please stand up?

So I was talking to Ms. Nicolina about Dj’s and mix tapes and how people don’t know the realness of it all anymore .There are way too many formats with these labels attached to them. I always known that but when we (Ms. Nicolina and I ) were joking on those who didn’t know what made a Dj Clue mix tape different from a say Dj Jazzy Jeff mix tape, it made me think about the differences between the labels all over again.
First off there are traditional mix tapes, like the ones lovers make for themselves and love ones, and those party mix tapes with all the best party tracks on them. However, when it comes to Hip Hop it was a simple can’t get it confused title of a mix tape. You have a fake mix tape which was seen like going to a party with no Dj and playing the radio…That’s fucking corny. So you had to have some skills on the turntables, no one was asking a guy to be the best just do enough of a good job to not be joked. A lot of times your song selection played a big roll in not having to be Babu or Dj Scratch on the turntables. Just know when to blend or cut the next song in. Because that’s what makes a real mix tape, the Djs skills when it comes to cutting and scratching and just having the imagination to make effortless blends. You could give 5 Djs back in the day the same playlist and each Dj would rock the shit different and unique than the last person. The art of Djing was just the realest back then.
Somewhere we lost the sense of mix tapes, fuck it I know when… Clue. Yes Clue fucked the game completely up. He started out with little scratches here and there and then saw that as long as he had new shit and by mix tape standards “exclusive tracks”, skills were not needed. As he became more of a household name doing this, and other Djs who were more into the traditional role seem to have gotten lost in the growing pool of Clue type Djs, the mix tape game switched for the worst.
Now if you go to mix tape websites most of the top selling mix tapes have no skills shown at all. It’s some dude or chick talking way too much with sound effects popping off as one song plays behind the other. That by Hip Hop definition isn’t a mix tape and those making them aren’t Djs. Those people, who do blend tapes are BLENDERS, call them that please. We know you have sat around and switched pitches and cut and pasted shit to make it fit and work to go with the beat, but you’re not a Dj just cause you did that. Trust me it’s cool to hear them but it’s not the same as a live blend being heard on the radio or in a club that has been practiced for hours to days, sometimes weeks to perfection by those mastering the art of being Dj.
It’s funny I saw a Roc Raida video on youtube and he was doing his thing, but I didn’t see a gang of what, by looks alone, would be Hip Hop heads watching. I read a review of a Primo mix tape and saw people hating that he was cutting too much. To Dj is an art in itself, it is a back to basic knowledge to take two turntables and turn them into instruments. The art of Djing itself has many levels to it. What the Beat Junkies do and Scribbles and many other do is like battle rappers. Sure you want to hear them battle all day and see how fresh they are with their spontaneity, but you wouldn’t buy their CDs. Then there are the Jazzy Jeff and Kid Capri type dudes who do tours on the turntables like Grandmaster Flash did and still does I take it. You’d buy a mix tape from them and Flex when you can. It’s why “60 Minutes of Funk” was so popular before they started just playing song and letting rappers freestyle. It’s like when BET did the Jam Master Jay tribute, they got Primo, Kid Capri, Jazzy Jeff and Grandmaster Flash to do their thing. Why? Because they were real DJs and popular of course, but also because the other popular so called Djs can’t cut and scratch. If you said you knew a Dj back in the day, that’s what that meant, not he has a gang of songs that he put on a CD for you.
Rappers saying mix tape, stop, we need a new word. Going in and recording over industry beats or having songs just play behind one another doesn’t give you the right to say mix tape. I played that game too and hated it. I would always try to make my crew mix tapes stand out from the others out there. The last few mix tapes I’ve done, I did do cuts and scratches and a few blends to make it a real mix tape. Shit I make mix tapes and love the thrill of a routine I thought of and tried and someone is feeling the way it flows. So out of respect for REAL Djs, step your game up or drop those letters from your names.


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