Oral History -
DJ Keith Shocklee was first introduced to DJing at a local Long Island youth center in the 1970s. He soon started performing at other youth centers in the area as well as house parties, living up to the program’s goal of keeping kids off the street. As his career developed, he began working with other DJs and groups including Public Enemy.
DJ Aladdin’s musical career began in the late 1970s with a wooden turntable from his uncle and another from his aunt as well as a mixer from Radio Shack. He watched as Hip-Hop exploded in New York and wanted to bring his own unique sounds to his audiences in his neighborhood of Compton, near Los Angeles. His first major battle was with one of his mentors, Tony G.
DJ Chris The Glove remembers when he was a kid listening to Grandmaster Flash’s The Wheels of Steel on repeat trying to figure out what he was hearing and how he could replicate that sound. Chris first became well known for his 1984 appearance in the classic hip-hop movie Breakin’ and for producing the song “Reckless” with Ice-T for the movie soundtrack.
Andy Leftwich began playing the fiddle at the age of six when his dad bought one from a local pawn shop. Andy grew up knowing he could always express himself though music and by the age of twelve branched out to play the mandolin after seeing a young performer at a festival.
Takaki Maeda and his team were celebrating the 40th anniversary of Casio's Musical Instruments division while attending the NAMM Show in 2020. This special occasion was the perfect opportunity for us to sit down with Maeda-San for his NAMM Oral History interview.
DJ Sir Jinx’s uncle played an important role for him growing up and in inspiring his passion for music. His uncle possessed an eclectic record collection and a DJ equipment set up at his house. Sir Jinx soon developed his own style of DJing and went on to produce most of Ice Cube’s early albums as well as remixes for the group Rage Against the Machine.
DJ Revolution can still remember the first time he heard Grand Master Flash’s 1981 album Adventures on the Wheels of Steel and being blown away that this music was created with existing songs and with only records and turntables. His grandfather saw his passion and helped him build his own mixer and setup while explaining the mechanics of it to him.
DJ Evil E was thirteen years old when he heard the pioneering artist Grandmaster Flash, which inspired E to get his own turntable rig. As a young DJ, Evil E was inspired by a performance in Los Angeles by Ice T. As it turned out the two would meet and become collaborators on many musical projects over the next forty years.
DJ Melo-D saw his first mobile DJ set up during a middle school dance and was more interested in the set up than the dance itself. He begged his parents for a turntable and would seek out any DJs performing near him to learn all he could about style and techniques.
DJ D-Styles entered the hip-hop scene B-Boying and popping but soon realized his strength was in DJing. He has pioneered many different scratch styles and techniques over the years and has produced numerous break records. In 2002, he released Phantazmagorea, the first album created entirely from scratching.