Semantik over at Cratekings.com has a good interview up with DJ Revolution, where the legendary (but still relevant) DJ has some interesting things to say about the current state of DJ culture. There are a couple interesting quotes, in particular, when asked about how the role of the DJ has changed, Rev
“When the MC’s decided to cast off the DJ, the DJ had no other choice, but to make a living so he started hustling and doing other things…. Then it broke off into subcultures… you’ve got your turntablists and you developed superstars in that category like Q-bert, The X-Men, Babu, The Beatjunkies, and myself. Then on the other side you’ve got your Clues, and the Whoo Kids, and the people who aren’t’ really doing shit, but are claiming to do shit. Not that I don’t have any respect for these guys, I can always respect somebody’s hustle, but that’s all they really are is hustlers. However you can make your money is all good, but you’re not what you claim you are, you’re just a hustler.”
I’m loving the fact that a reputable DJ actually came out and addressed the DJ “hustler” ethos in hip-hop. It could be perceived as somewhat high-minded on his part, and it’s not like he’s hating on them, but it is true that a lot of these DJs are just great self-promoters. Nothing more really. In reality, they’re overrated and don’t have much talent beyond sucking some “hot” rapper off for an exclusive. That is why the DJ is dead. Still, people perceive these DJs as something they’re not, which is, ya’know, a guy who can play records and maybe even rock a party.
But then he goes on to talk about how this works with some DJs (*cough* Khaled *cough*) purporting to be producers.
“[Producers] need to make their records. Let’ just take DJ Khaled for an example. The dude doesn’t produce and he doesn’t DJ, but he’s on the radio and TV acting like a producer and a DJ, but he’s not…. he’s just an A&R. He pays people money to make a record and puts his name on it. Now, there’s nothing wrong with that, but you’re just an A&R, you’re just a guy who put a project together. Everyone perceives him as this guy that just puts records together.”
Wow. First off, I think because Khaled is about “unity and love,” and he’s overall just a pretty gregarious fellow, nobody calls him out for the bullshit he tries to pull with his DJ/producer title. I mean, I like Khaled, but c’mon, his albums are really just an extension of his brand. On his new LP, We Global, he only has production credits on 1 song, and even that track, it’s so ridiculously musical that I doubt he was all that involved in the technical side of it. Everything else is more executive production, which is really just glorified A&R work.
I think the moral of this post is, let’s just keep it real and acknowledge that a large portion of the real prominent DJs in hip-hop are overglorified self-promoters who market themselves as something they’re not.
Does DJ Revolution have a point, or is he just a salty hater?