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DJ 8-Ball Tests the Tones of Terrorist Techniques and Blows Up Large



DJ D-Styles

Style Wars:
y Silver & Henry Chalfant

Grand Wizard Theodore

DJ Qbert

DJ 8-Ball


Space Traveling (part 1):
DJ Quest

Space Traveling (part 2):
Eddie Def

Space Traveling (part 3):
DJ Cue and DJ Marz


Sacramento Rap History Lesson by X-Raided

He's The King of The Smut... On Two Turntables: The Porn / Turntablism Connection — Part 3— DJ Relm and DJ Streak Interview

Just Whatever Rocks: The World Famous Beat Junkies

Waxing That Wax: The Porn / Turntablism Connection — Part 2 — D-Styles Interview

Thriftin' For a Scratch:
The Hella Broke-Ass
Style of DJ'ing

DJ Pone Reports from the 2002 Adult Entertainment Expo in Las Vegas

DJ Apollo Receives "Hip Hop Slam Hall of Fame Award"

2001… A Scratch Odyssey:
Year in Review

QBert Receives "Hip Hop Slam Hall of Fame Award"

How to Manufacture Your Own CD, Record, or Tape

Dirt Hustlin':
Oakland's New Underground'

Filipino American DJs of the Bay Area

Party Blocking at the DMC American Battleground

From his humble beginnings as a mobile DJ to his reign of terror as the world champion, DJ 8-Ball has managed to wreck his own specialized brand of havoc on the ones and twos….

Inspired by the mobile DJ phenomenon back in the day, DJ 8-Ball got his start by rocking parties and mixing classic tracks by the likes of Lipps, Inc., Kano and Toni Basil. In 1989, he got his first job working in a DJ equipment store and met Qbert. "That was the first time I saw DJ battling," recalls 8-Ball. "From then on, it was go home and practice."

Armed with only a few battle videos and some pointers from Qbert, DJ 8-Ball began studying the art of turntable warfare in earnest. "I started getting into the whole battling mentality—not just what it sounds like, but I noticed what it looks like—the whole performance aspect: stage presence, looking at the audience, not looking at the records..." A couple years later, his dedication to the wheels of steel would pay off big time.

In 1992, DJ 8-Ball entered the West Coast DMC, and in a surprising upset—won. Beating out the competition included Apollo, Mixmaster Mike and Qbert, who ironically enough, had been the one to convince 8-Ball to compete in the first place.

The following year, DJ 8-Ball went to NYC for the Superman DJ Battle at the New Music Seminar, and again stole the top spot beating out Yoshi, and Mista Sinista.

By this time, DJ 8-Ball had earned his claim to fame as the test tone champion possessing the most extensive library of scratch melodies ever to be manipulated via wax. "I took it to the ultimate stage where nobody surpassed it—yet," claims 8-Ball. "You never know. For every good DJ, for every badass DJ, there’s somebody out there who nobody’s heard of… he’s just waiting to kick someone’s ass."

It was also around this time that some people started accusing DJ 8-Ball of biting Qbert’s style, earning him the nickname "Q-bite" in some hater circles. "If nobody bit, Grand Wizard Theodore would be the only DJ allowed to scratch," defends 8-Ball. "There’d be no Qbert, no 8-Ball, no Mixmaster Mike, nobody…. When push comes to shove, down to a DJ battle, you got to show both your beat creating skills and your scratching skills. My tones is just my strength."

After taking out the competition, DJ 8-Ball took his skills on tour. Acting as both a judge and a performer, he traveled alongside Shortkut throughout California and then to Japan where they were joined by Qbert, Rhettmatic, Yoshi and Tashi.

Currently settled back in mobile mode, DJ 8-Ball has had time to reflect upon the past and formulate his own opinions on the current state of turntablism:

"The whole DJ scene in SF is blowing up big, but the only problem I’m having is a lot of DJs are coming up—and respect to them ‘cause they’re leading the way, they’re coming up with new stuff that totally blows some of my older stuff away, most of my older stuff away—but at the same time they’re not going through this whole history aspect…."

DJs Billy Jam, 8-Ball and Disk from The Shiggar Fragger Show! Vol. 3. August, 1995.

"Shortkut pointed out—and it’s true—a lot of people don’t just deejay anymore and just mix. All these kids just battle—they’re just in it just to scratch—which is great. I mean that’s fine, but you have to know the basics like the mixing and the clubs. For me, it was a lot of hard work and this is my payoff. Now I’m a well-known DJ. I worked hard. These kids are working hard, too ‘cause they’re practicing a lot more than I am…but besides practicing, I was picking up record crates, I was moving speakers, I was setting up lights and doing trussing and all that stuff."

"I love how these kids totally want to get into it because they see it as a musician’s aspect…what I don’t like is the kids with the attitude and I’ve met a couple of them. I was at a gig, and there was this one DJ that I use to deejay with; he was part of a group that I mixed with. We were carrying records, carrying speakers, and he was like mumbling ‘Man, I didn’t become a DJ to carry records, carry speakers…’"

"I was like, ‘what the hell is that? Obviously you’re too young to understand! Dude, that’s what a DJ does! That’s how crews are.’"

"And you’re in it for the love of deejaying. You’re not in it to become famous. You’re not in it specifically to capture titles. That can be your goal, but that’s not the reason why you keep doing it…."

To be fair, DJ 8-Ball keeps things in perspective by attributing the lack of respect to youthful inexperience. And in the same vein, he doesn’t harsh on newbies for not knowing where every single break came from: "They don’t need to be all hardcore and know all that stuff…where this song got sampled…but they should just know in general. If they didn’t know this was an original beat, that’s not their fault. You can blame that on the poisoning of radio…."

Nevertheless, DJ 8-Ball does emphasize the importance of the old school. "You have to know where you came from if you want to know where you’re going," says 8-Ball. "If they studied the history, and if they studied the old tapes, sometimes you can pick up on stuff that no one else has and branch off from there."

DJ 8-Ball has kept a low profile over the past few years, but his contributions to the art form are still very much in effect. As evidenced by his inclusion at Skratchcon, where he demonstrated his test tone techniques, DJ 8-Ball continues to prove the turntable’s versatility as a musical instrument. Likewise, he keeps his mind open to other forms of music as well. "A good DJ listens to all types of music," says 8-Ball. "That’s the message I want to send out: Don’t just listen to hip-hop. Music is music—appreciate it."

This interview took place on July 25, 2000 in San Francisco’s Japantown.
Dopestyle, yo.

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