In only true turntablist form, DJ Scratch put on one of his
world-famous performances at Club Society in St. Louis during the 2008
DJ Technology Retreat and Convention. He kicked-off the finals for the
convention’s DJ Battle, as well as a show with St. Louis’ own Jus
Bleezy and Yo Gotti, with an out of this world DJ routine. Removing his
jacket and revealing a Superman t-shirt, to accompany the Superman
theme as his intro music, DJ Scratch commenced to putting on a show
that St. Louis will remember for years to come. Scratch, who is also a
successful music producer, has been putting in work as a professional
DJ for over 20 years.
Back in 1988, shortly after winning the New Music Seminar Battle for
World Supremacy DJ Championship, Scratch joined RUN DMC’s Run’s House
World Tour. The late legendary Jam Master Jay of RUN DMC became
Scratch’s mentor and converted him from a raw battle DJ to an all
around performer. In exchange, Scratch taught Jay routines that he
performed with RUN DMC. When the tour ended, Jay recommended Scratch to
EPMD and after they witnessed his phenomenal tricks at their first
show, they hired him on the spot. More recently, Scratch was
responsible for providing the flamboyance to Jay-Z and now P Diddy’s
Having mastered the art of deejaying and performing on all seven
continents, DJ Scratch started to pursue his second love, producing. He
has produced such hits as the New York Anthem “On My New York S**t” by
Busta Rhymes, EPMD’s “Rampage”, 50 Cent’s “50 Shot Ya”, and a long list
of Hip-Hop classics. He has 3 Grammy nominations and over 40 Gold and
Platinum awards to his credit which makes him responsible for the sale
of over 50 million albums to date. We caught up with Scratch after his
crowd-pleasing performance in St. Louis to discuss his upcoming
production work, his new independent project as well as his plans for
AllHipHop.com: DJ Scratch, how you doin’ my brotha?
DJ Scratch: I’m good man
AllHipHop.com: Hey, that display you put on tonight was incredible,
it was crazy! I definitely respect you for being one of the
fore-founders of deejaying in Hip-Hop and this thing that we call true
turntablism. I know you’re deejaying all over the world but what’s
going on with you right now man?
DJ Scratch: Well production wise I’m working on LL Cool J’s album right now, Exit 13, that’s the name of his thirteenth album on Def Jam as well as Busta Rhymes new album of course, it’s called Back On My Bulls**t…
AllHipHop.com: The “On My New York S**t” was crazy.
DJ Scratch: Thank you, I’m 95 percent done with working on an instrumental beat album called Somethin’ To Spit To.
I’m going to release that independently and it’s going to be on iTunes
also, you have to buy the whole album, you can’t just pick one beat and
that’s for cats that wanna rhyme over that real hard gritty s**t
because they’re not making that right now. Most of the beats that are
being made right now don’t even have snare drums in them so I’m just
making this for the real emcees out there that are starving for that
gritty s**t and they’ll have an opportunity to spit to my beats so it’s
called Somethin’ To Spit To.AllHipHop.com: I was telling you earlier that you basically inspired
an editorial I wrote about the button pusher DJs that you discussed
when you were on Rap City with DJ Q45. What’s your take on today’s DJs as opposed to the DJs from the era that we came up in?
DJ Scratch: It’s easier for the DJs now. The technology’s a lot
better now, that’s basically the difference. We learned to crawl before
we walked, we learned the right way. Nowadays, the DJs just take off
running, without learning to crawl and walk first. So that’s the
difference and it shows on stage, it shows in the clubs, it shows on
the radio, it basically speaks for itself.
AllHipHop.com: Now I know when you were on the Hard Knock Life
tour you did the routine with the Freddy Mask cuttin’ up Big Daddy Kane
saying, “Imma play Jason” and more recently I’ve seen you at B.B. Kings
in New York doing a routine cuttin’ up Busta sayin’ “Pants is Saggin’”
while simultaneously pulling your pants to make them sag. Tonight you
showed us your routine with the Black Sheep “Pick It Up” where you
actually picked up the turntable and you stopped and started the record
while you had it suspended in mid-air. You got anything else up your
sleeve that you can give us some insight on?
DJ Scratch: I’ve got tons of tricks man, I can’t do every trick in
every show, because of the time restraints, so I have to spread it out
from city to city. A lot of my routines have become fan favorites. If
you go to a show to see a rapper or singer, you wanna hear your
favorite song, my routines have become songs, they wanna see the
“Friday the 13th”, they wanna see the “Pants Is Saggin’”, they wanna
AllHipHop.com: The wanna see the Superman like tonight!
DJ Scratch: Yeah, they wanna see the Superman, they wanna see the
Jason mask but I always give them something different also. They
definitely wanna see those routines that they heard about or they saw
on television or on the internet, they wanna see it in person because a
lot of people be like, “Yo that s**t ain’t real, is he really doing
that? Is he really picking the turntable up?”
AllHipHop.com: (laughs) Yeah, I witnessed it tonight, it’s real.
DJ Scratch: Those tricks have become fan favorites, like I said, I
got tons of tricks. The sh*t that I’m doing right now, some of those
tricks are 20 years old. Whatever trick I do now is as old as the
record, like “Friday the 13th, Imma play Jason,” that record came out in ’88. Some of my tricks, I’ve been doing some tricks since I was ten years old.
AllHipHop.com: Wow, I never really thought of it that way but that’s
right, some of those records came out a while ago. Now switching gears,
is there anything else you wanna speak on as far as any work that you
have going on in the community or charity work, things of that nature?
DJ Scratch: Well the community work that I do is just take my dudes
out of the ‘hood’. You know some cats want you to come in and save the
whole ‘hood’, you can’t save the whole ‘hood’, you try to save the ones
the got love for you. People say, “give back to the community”, me
giving back to the community is taking somebody that’s never been off
their block, that’s never been out of New York and take them to a
different country that’s what I do. I still hang out with the same
friends that I grew up with as a child, I still have the same friends,
I still hang out in my ‘hood’ where I grew up. In the Summertime, I’m
right on the block. One day you might see me at the Grammys and the
next day you’ll see me right in the projects. So my way of giving back
to the community is taking these guys that have been in jail or haven’t
been off the block and take them to the other side of the planet Earth.
I’ll take them to Japan, take them to England, take them to Germany,
take them to Switzerland so they can see these places and see a totally
AllHipHop.com: Now as far as DJ Scratch the brand, I know you have a
lot of business ventures poppin’ off, what do you see yourself doing
let’s say five or ten years from now?
DJ Scratch: S**t, just maintaining man! Once you’ve been doing this
s**t for 23 years professionally, your only goal is to maintain, you
know what I’m sayin’? If you make it past five years doing this s**t,
you’re blessed and if you make it past 10 years, you’re really blessed,
you make it past 15 years, you’re doing something right, so just keep
doing that same s**t. I’m just basically maintaining. I’m still
deejaying, I’m still doing DJ exhibitions, I still rip parties I still
rip stadiums, I still produce hit records so, to me, there’s nothing
else to do but maintain and keep the torch lit for the younger cats
that really love this real DJ s**t.
AllHipHop.com: One of my primary concerns when I started writing for
AllHipHop.com was to make sure we preserve the art form of deejaying
and that the young DJs, that are going to be the future of this DJ
game, are emulating someone like yourself who’s really deejaying and
not just button pushing, but really doing what you do.
DJ Scratch: That’s one of the main reasons every now and then you’ll
see me go on tour with Jay-Z or with Diddy because a lot of those kids
have never seen a DJ routine like that before. All they see is that
rapper and someone in the back pushing that button so I do it just for
the youngsters to school them like, “this is the sh*t that the
deejaying game was built on!” You know young girls and young guys that
have never seen a DJ routine before they be like, “Wow! I ain’t never
seen no sh*t like that!” and I tell them “that’s that real DJ sh*t
right there!” So I’m gonna continue to do my part and contribute to the
art because when you do some incredible sh*t, especially in front of
someone that’s never seen anything like that before, it sticks in their
brain for the rest of their lives.
AllHipHop.com: Yeah, that’s definitely a good look. Ok, one more
question before we go. Who came up with the Superman outfit first, you
or Dwight Howard?
DJ Scratch: Me! (laughs) Who’s Dwight Howard? (more laughing)
AllHipHop.com: (laughing) That’s what it is!
Stay tuned for more DJ interviews from the 2008 St. Louis DJ Retreat
and Convention. Also for updates and more info hit us up at: http://www.myspace.com/TheKofKO