& Henry Chalfant
Grand Wizard Theodore
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
Wax: The Porn / Turntablism Connection Part 2 D-Styles
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"
A Scratch Odyssey:
Year in Review
QBert Receives "Hip
Hop Slam Hall of Fame Award"
How to Manufacture
Your Own CD, Record, or Tape
Oakland's New Underground'
BEATS TO GO:
Filipino American DJs of the Bay Area
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 mentalitynot
just what it sounds like, but I noticed what it looks likethe
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
upsetwon. 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 ityet," claims
8-Ball. "You never know. For every good DJ, for every badass
DJ, theres somebody out there who nobodys heard of
hes just waiting to kick someones ass."
It was also around this time that some people started accusing
DJ 8-Ball of biting Qberts 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. "Thered 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 Im having is a lot of DJs are coming upand
respect to them cause theyre leading the way, theyre
coming up with new stuff that totally blows some of my older stuff
away, most of my older stuff awaybut at the same time theyre
not going through this whole history aspect
DJs Billy Jam, 8-Ball
and Disk from The Shiggar Fragger Show! Vol. 3. August,
"Shortkut pointed outand its truea lot
of people dont just deejay anymore and just mix. All these
kids just battletheyre just in it just to scratchwhich
is great. I mean thats 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 Im a well-known DJ. I worked
hard. These kids are working hard, too cause theyre
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 musicians aspect
what I dont
like is the kids with the attitude and Ive 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 didnt become a DJ to carry records, carry speakers
"I was like, what the hell is that? Obviously youre
too young to understand! Dude, thats what a DJ does! Thats
how crews are."
"And youre in it for the love of deejaying. Youre
not in it to become famous. Youre not in it specifically
to capture titles. That can be your goal, but thats 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 doesnt harsh on newbies for not knowing where every
single break came from: "They dont need to be all hardcore
and know all that stuff
where this song got sampled
they should just know in general. If they didnt know this
was an original beat, thats 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 youre 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
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 turntables
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. "Thats the
message I want to send out: Dont just listen to hip-hop.
Music is musicappreciate it."
This interview took place on July 25,
2000 in San Franciscos Japantown.