Monday, September 21, 2009

Roc Raida

I used to watch this clip from the DMC 1995 championships over and over again. I actually hooked my tape deck up to the VCR and added this routine to a mix tape. I would listen to it on my way to work. I never really thought you could listen to "turntablism" before this routine, for me it was like watching skateboard tricks, really fun and exciting, but it didn't really have a lot to do with music. But the part where he's playing Ed OG and using the speed/pitch adjuster on the horn part to make this woozy, seasick melody is one of my favorite songs ever! And I always loved that he never used headphones, like he just knew the records so well he could drop the needle in the silence before the song even starts and know when the beat's going to drop. But I think what I liked best was his antagonism. The whole "all you other DJs..." cut from Marley Marl Scratch, or the other one where he would use Biz Markie "to all the competition that try to compete..." Right around this time I also got the X-Men vs. Invisible Scratch Pickles video where Shortkut does the routine with that LL Cool J song, I think "Going Back to Cali"? And it's this meticulous, carefully rehearsed, super-tech thing and then Roc Raida goes right after him and does a super aggro, rough-edged routine using the same song, even some of the same tricks. Like it took Shortkut 10 months of rehearsal to get that routine together and Roc Raida just gets up and copies his thing after watching him do it once. Amazing! I think that maybe this stuff is completely irrelevant these days, I was walking up 6th Ave the other day and saw that the "DJ school" is still operating, which tripped me out. But for the most part I think that "turntablism" is over for now. And it's not like I miss it, but I will definitely miss this guy. What a tragedy.

DJ Roc Raida RIP May 18, 1972 – September 19, 2009

1 comment:

PaulDickow said...

I read this this morning and totally thought of our living room DMC watching sessions on some well loved VHS. RIP Roc Raida.