DJ Scratch: Start From Scratch

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

stage shows.

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

the future... DJ Scratch, how you doin' my brotha?

DJ Scratch: I'm good man 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... 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 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. 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

see.. 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?" (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. 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

different environment. 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. One of my primary concerns when I started writing for 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. 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) (laughing) That's what it is!

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