Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Groove Music: The Art and Culture of the Hip Hop DJ

Hip-hop has slowly gathered steam as a topic of study in universities around the globe. However, most of the literature focuses on the lyrics, and not the music itself. Mark Katz, an associate professor of Music at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill has written a book on not just hip-hop, not just DJing, but hip-hop DJing specifically, and the result is nothing short of brilliant. It is a thorough and in-depth examination of the DJs centrality in hip-hop and Katz digs deeper than others before him to archive the roots, major players, innovations, and the massive cultural significance of hip-hop DJs. Katz documents Kool Herc's first party, the early battle scene between DJs in the Bronx, and even dedicates several pages to the significance of the often scratched "aaaah" and "fresh!" samples from Fab 5 Freddy's "Change Le Beat."  Interviews include GrandWizzard Theodore, Afrika Bambaataa, Grandmixer D.ST, DJ Cash Money, DJ Steve Dee, DJ Q Bert, DJ Craze, Rob Swift, and countless others. It's a must have.