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Tales of the Turntable: Filipino Amercan DJs of the Bay Area



DJ D-Styles

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Filipino American DJs of the Bay Area

Party Blocking at the DMC American Battleground

Filipinos are party people, and for a period, starting from the late seventies all the way up till the early nineties, they rocked the hardest parties in the Bay Area. Getting busy at the center of it all were the mobile DJ crews, friends who had come together for a single purpose: to rock the house—or wherever they happened to be at the time—the garage, the high school, the church hall—anywhere people wanted to dance and have fun.

Curator Melanie Cagonot and DJ 8-Ball.

Tales of the Turntable,a new exhibit organized by Melanie Cagonot currently on display at the San Mateo County History Museum, takes an historical look at this mobile DJ phenomenon with a focus on the Filipino-American DJ culture in the San Francisco Bay Area.

During the mobile DJ scene’s heyday, there were over 100 crews in existence, all battling for control of the dance floor. Kicks Company, Images, Non-Stop Boogie, Sounds of Success, Ultimate Creations, Unlimited Sounds, the Legion of Boom, and Sound Sequence are just some of the countless crews that have contributed memorabilia to be displayed in the museum. These artifacts include photographs, flyers, costumes, audio equipment, and other pieces of nostalgia celebrating the Filipino American’s passion for party rocking.

Back then it wasn’t about who had the fastest cuts. Rather it was all about who had the best sound and who could get the crowd moving the fastest. Lighting, stage props, and other visuals played equally important roles alongside the DJ’s mixing skills.

Just as popping and locking predated breaking and hip-hop on the west coast, so too did the sound clashes of the mobile DJ crews. Before the DMC and ITF battles, there were competitions sponsored by the likes of Imagine, AA Productions, Just 4 Fun, Expressions, and MC Fly Productions. Latin freestyle and electro-funk records filled the crates and battle breaks were still far away from being invented, much less accepted.

By the early nineties, scratching had begun to take hold of the turntable culture in the Bay Area and the mobile DJ scene started to die out, but not before turning loose some of the most technically skilled DJs that would soon lead another musical revolution: turntablism.

Included in the exhibit are sections devoted to some of today’s top turntablists including DJ Qbert and DJ 8-Ball, both world champions that started out as mobile DJs, back in the day, running from party to party….

The exhibit will run through February 25, 2002.

Tales of the Turntable:
Filipino American DJs of the Bay Area

777 Hamilton Street
Redwood City, CA 94063

10:00am - 4:00pm
Tuesday - Sunday

$2.00 General
$1.00 Seniors & Children

650.299.0104 ext 32


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