Tag Archives: turntablism

Taking hip-hop’s greatest record collection out for a spin

3 Sep
Photo by Bennett Sell-Kline for Insomniac

Photo by Bennett Sell-Kline for Insomniac

Even on a bad day, freelance journalism is still pretty great. But there are some assignments that really make me feel like I have the coolest job in the world. This was one of those assignments.

Two weeks ago, I flew up to the Bay Area to interview DJ Shadow and Cut Chemist, two of the greatest hip-hop minds and turntablists of their generation. At DJ Shadow’s house. Where they were ensconced with 800-odd records they had hand-picked from the collection of Afrika Bambaataa, one of the most influential hip-hop DJs in history. Yeah, I have a pretty cool job.

We chatted for about an hour about their just-launched Renegades of Rhythm tour, on which they’ll be playing out the collection, and about Bambaataa’s influence on hip-hop and dance music. Then I got to sit there and watch slack-jawed for half an hour while they rehearsed for the tour. For any fan of turntablism, it was basically the equivalent of getting to watch Eric Clapton and Buddy Guy jamming through a few Robert Johnson songs over at Clapton’s house. Or David Ortiz and Albert Pujols taking batting practice—in Albert’s backyard batting cage. It was a privilege to be there.

They’re on tour with Bambaataa’s records now through October. Get tickets and go. The word “historic” gets overused, but trust me—this is a historic tour. It’s so historic I almost called it “an historic tour.”

It Takes Two (Insomniac)