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Music and Popular Culture: Lecture Notes
Guest Lecture: Dr. Mark Cats - The art and culture of the Hip-Hop DJ
-Disc Jockey: Someone who selects, plays and/or announces recordings for an audience.
Term emerged in the 1940s, it was originally derogatory.
-Performance DJ: A DJ who not only selects recordings, but manipulates them in real
time for audiences, e.g. mixing and scratching
-Turntablism: A musical performance ort in which the turntable is treated as a musical
-Hip-hop: cultural phenomenon that emerged in the Bronx in the 70s and includes DJ,
MC, B-boying/ -girling (break dancing), and graffiti art
-Break: A short percussion solo found in funk, soul or rock songs. The repetition and
manipulation or breaks is the basis of hip-hop scene.
-Microphone Controller: MC’s began as simple announcers for DJ battles and shows,
however, they later began incorporating rhymes into their routines. This phenomenon
eventually evolved into rap music (Thus, rap music is a by-product derived from DJ
culture, not the other way around)
-Looping technique: created by Grandmaster Flash, utilizing 2 records at once to create
a repeating section of sound material
-Scratching Technique: created by Grand Wizard Theodore, creating
distinctive sounds by moving a vinyl record back and forth on a turntable
- A judged competition between two or more DJs
- DT battle is as old as hip hop
- Began as a contest that judged the power and volume of a DJ’s sound system
- Later became focused on the DJ’s technical skills, musical creativity and originality
- The battle is a crucial venue for development and dissemination of turntable technique
- Notable women battlers: Jazzy Joyce, Kuttin’ Kandy, Pam the Funkness, Killa Jewel
There is a lack of female DJs…why?
- Cultural socialization and stereotypes are part of the story, it is not direct
discrimination. (I.e. the assumption that women are weaker, frail etc.)
- DJing involves technology; there is a stereotype that women can’t use technology
- Traditional socialization of girls discourages women from engaging in technical
- Competition (direct confrontation) is traditionally seen as un-ladylike
- The objectification of women