Mix Master Mike: Rock Hall Inductee, DMC World DJ Champion—Now, DMC Legend Award Winner

The Invisibl Skratch Piklz co-founder and Beastie Boys alum talks to AllHipHop about his storied career and his upcoming album, “OPUS X MAGNUM.”

Before Mix Master Mike was inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame as a member of the Beastie Boys, he was already considered a preeminent turntablist. As a founding member of the Invisibl Skratch Piklz—which (at various times) included Shortkut, DJ Qbert, D-Styles, DJ Disk, DJ Flare, Yogafrog, A-Trak and DJ Apollo—the DMC World DJ Champion took the art form to new heights with innovative routines, otherworldly techniques and a zest for Hip-Hop culture.

Now, Mix Master Mike’s storied career will come full circle when he’s honored with the DMC Legend Award at the DMC World Finals in San Fransisco on Friday (November 3). Hosted by DJ Rhettmatic and DJ Babu, the event takes place at The Midway with special guests Dilated Peoples, UZ, Invisibl Skratch Piklz (Shortkut, D Styles and DJ Qbert), Kentaro and DJ Rena, among others.

Interestingly enough, Mix Master Mike will probably the last person to refer to himself as a DJ. In fact, he tells AllHipHop, “Every time I’m making an album, I go in with the mindset of being a composer. Again, I’ve always been a composer first, but then I kind of tricked everybody into thinking I was a DJ, but I’m  not really a DJ. I’m a wizard that can DJ really good.”

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Needless to say, the DMC Legend Award is well deserved. Mix Master Mike rose to prominence in the early ’90s and by 1997 had manifested his place in the Beastie Boys. Together, they released the multi-platinum album Hello Nasty in 1998. Mix Master Mike would continue working with the group until Adam “MCA” Yauch’s death in 2012, contributing to 2004’s To the 5 Boroughs, 2007’s The Mix-Up and 2011’s Hot Sauce Committee Part Two. But at the end of the day, it’s really a small fraction of what Mix Master Mike has accomplished.

“It was crazy,” he says of learning about the lifetime achievement award. “I started thinking about all that I went through to get to this point in my life. I don’t do it for accolades. I do it because I have a passion for this art. It’s through integrity, perseverance, not compromising and just always being the ultimate risk taker. The something like this drops in your lap, and you’re like, ‘Oh, s###, I’ve been doing it this long.’ I look up and my jersey’s in the rafters. It solidifies my whole brand and my whole not being  Mix Master Mike of the Beastie Boys but Mix Master Mike of Mix Master Mike. It’s going to be really emotional for me.”

He continues, “I don’t want to [cry], but I got a special set that I’m going to be performing for everybody. I’m putting my energy into that and to give a memorable performance, to give back to everybody and really lay it all out there. And just, I guess show why I’m up there.”

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In addition to touring with groups like Metallica and Godsmack, Mix Master Mike has pumped out several solo albums over the last few years, including 2022’s Ready Slayer One. Coincidentally, on the day he receives his award, he’ll drop his eighth studio album, OPUS X MAGNUM.

“Creating projects for me is therapy,” he says. “OI guess it’s a way to escape myself and things that are going on in the world. I’m an empath. When s### goes sideways, I feel the repercussion of the world going sideways, because I’m just like, ‘Damn, how can I use my platform to help?'”

With Hip-Hop and rap in general perceivably at a low point, that was actually the motivation Mix Master Mike needed. As he explains, “That’s where all my inspiration comes from. Because I’m like, ‘OK, no one’s gonna f####ing do it. I’ll do it. This is what I’ve been always growing myself to be is is is a trailblazer. And someone who’s gonna do something that is not being done.”

For more information about the DMC World Finals, head here.