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DJ Cue & DJ Marz - "The First of Our Kind, The Last of Our Generation"



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

Over the past couple decades, hip-hop culture has blown up wildly into a giant, shining spectrum of styles. DJ Cue and DJ Marz represent both ends of this spectrum. One is the proprietor of everything that is real and true to the game while the other is the head splitting free spirit that makes playing it fun. They create all the rules only to turn around and break them when you’re not looking. So beware…and let it be known that the Bullet Proof Space Travelers run the West Side….

With all the drama and hype brewing between heads lately, dividing lines are being drawn between DJs and turntablists alike. One of the biggest complaints in the turntable scene today is the preoccupation with technical skill over funkiness, and in this particular beef, the Bullet Proof Space Travelers are crystal clear about where they stand.

DJs Cue and Marz of Bullet Proof Space Travelers.

"Anybody who started with fundamentals calls themselves a DJ," states Marz. "You don’t call yourself a turntablist if you came from that school. Any person that’s ever mastered anything knows the fundamentals. That’s just the way you got to approach stuff. You got to know the basics first, y’know what I mean? There’s a lot of DJs that are complicated out there who are new school DJs that studied fundamentals and still rock fundamentals. You can appreciate that."

"When you rock, people can't deny you," continues Marz. "If you're up there and you're rocking, and people can see that you're rocking, they cannot deny you and that's what it comes down to. It's not about trying to be up there and be ‘Mr. Technical Skill Guy.’"
"They're afraid of soul," explains Cue. "Soul is a part of urban culture. That's what it's really about. A lot of these kids are afraid to be part of the urban culture. They want to take the safe part and the safe culture and the most part they're getting is the technical part. Soul is really about just being down with yourself. A lot of them can't find themselves 'cause they've never been about themselves."

However, many of the up and coming newbies that dominate the scene today, were weaned straight from how-to videos directly into the battle circuit, thereby missing almost 15 years of turntable history, and thus unable to trace the roots of their newfound art back beyond clicks, crabs and flares.

"There’s no rules saying that you have to be old school to be a part of it," says Cue. "You can be a part of whatever you want but as long as you respect what’s been laid down in the rules of what the game is, y’know? There’s a lot of DJs who just get in the game and just take what they can and don’t even give a shit about what’s really happening, how they got to where they are. [I’m] not saying that you got to be like Mr. Historian and be all educated about this, but just know that there’s people before you who put shit down…."
With over 10 years of experience behind the decks, DJ Cue definitely knows something about putting shit down and understands the importance of building a strong musical foundation.

"The people who blew up fast, they’re just going to fall back down fast," predicts Cue. "The shit that we do as a group, our shit is like an old jazz musician who maybe put out like 50 records through his career. Each one of those 50 records is original and different and each one of the real fans remembers it and knows each one by heart. We’re not worried about blowing up today, tomorrow, next year, the year after. We’re just gonna keep doing shit."
While other DJs are busy battling head to head for titles and fame, DJ Cue is content to reign in the lab as the mad professor of beats. "I’ve always been into creating beats," says Cue. "In the crew, I’m the one with the studio and I’ve always had the equipment and the samplers and the drum machines…. Our whole crew now has Akais, like the MPC 2000. The one Eddie Def has, I gave him. Everyone who has one, they always call me [asking] how to use that shit."

"I love freaking shit," continues Cue. "I love finding out how the shit works. I’ll just work with shit, put it together. I have the shit and I like working with it. When we made our first Hamster Breaks, I freaked the hell out of the Emax on shit that a lot of people wouldn’t even normally use it as. They use it as a keyboard and a sampler only but I use it as something totally different. We made a whole record off an Emax keyboard and one sequencing program. That’s always been my fascination. When you make music, especially being a DJ first, you know how to create. You know how to mix. So you put all those elements together and you just start creating shit. A lot of that rubbed off into the crew. When I first met Eddie and Quest, they were just DJs and they did a lot of scratch routines and that’s all they did. But me, I was always into the production."

DJ Cue’s emphasis on producing instead of performing has caused him to keep a lower profile than most other artists. But by staying out of the public’s critical eye and concentrating on the music, DJ Cue has been able to create truly exceptional work instead of dumping even more mediocre joints on an already saturated scene.

"My whole thing is it’s good to be a DJ," says Cue. "I’ll always consider myself a DJ. I could play a house party, club, radio, whatever but that’s not my love. My love is just to sit there and work on shit and see what it ends up being and then as it progresses it might hit a certain point where that’s where I want it to stay and that’s how I like it. Whether I put it out or not, that’s something different. It’s kind of the same thing with the whole group. We work on projects together. We put it together. We see if we like it and if it’s good, it’s good. If not, we keep it for later. We store it and put more effort into it later. When we work on stuff, it’s never the concept of it’s got to be put out to be sold. Our whole thing is not putting out projects to make a profit off of everybody. We don’t put out scratch tapes to sell them. We don’t put out instrumentals just to see if people are going to buy them. The whole objective is not to blow up and be like millionaires off people buying the shit…."

This decidedly anti-commercial stance is what allows the Bullet Proof Space Travelers to retain their underground credentials. They’re more interested in making music for themselves rather than making music for the masses. In fact, if you check the crew’s list of credits, you’ll find a vast discography of groundbreaking material as well as an extensive catalogue of collaborations that include many notable artists including: Bill Laswell, Dan the Automator, DJ Shadow, DJ Apollo, DJ Flare, DJ Disk, Luke Sick, Z-Man, the Dwarves, and many more.

One of the group’s side projects, Drum Machine Technicians, features DJ Cue and Eddie Def in a whole other dimension of musical madness. With its tripped out sound signatures and hazy beats, DMT is probably their most experimental and uncompromising work to date. And according to DJ Cue, the general response to DMT has been: "Damn, you did that DMT shit! What the fuck is that? It sucks!" So much for that. Remember that people hated Paul’s Boutique, too when it first came out.

(EDITOR’S NOTE: Alright you tweakers, in the interest of hip-hop science and chemical curiosity, I’m conducting my own study on the effects of DMT. If you would like to participate, send an e-mail detailing your experience with this horrible drug/music to Selected test subjects will have their results printed in a prominent medical journal and receive a hit of some good shit for their opinions.)

Over the years, the Bullet Proof Space Travelers have involved themselves with hip-hop in many different ways, earning them both fame and notoriety. When vinyl was on the verge of extinction, DJ Cue took it upon himself to try and save the dying format by opening Cue’s Hip-Hop Shop, a record store he ran for six years that became a backdrop for many Bay Area artists. "There were no more stores," recalls Cue. "When we opened Cue’s a lot of the stores were like closing."

"Vinyl was becoming scarce," adds Marz who also worked in the store. "The whole DJ surge wasn’t stable at the time, y’know what I mean? When Cue’s opened, their motto was ‘Keep Vinyl Alive’ and that’s something you don’t hear these days."

"When we closed Cue’s, it wasn’t like we closed for no bad reason," says Cue. "We closed to work on music. Our job is done here. The record stores are back in effect. They’re all over the fucking world and vinyl is back hardcore. I’m not saying that we started something but we’re a part of something that’s really big and it flipped the whole script on things."

Although hesitant to be placed on any kind of hip-hop pedestal, the crew does pride itself for being on an individual tip. No other group can lay claim to what the Bullet Proof Space Travelers have accomplished.

"As much as we're a DJ crew, we do so much other shit with music," says Marz. "We make music. We're not just trying to make this DJ shit and just capitalize on the shit because it's popular…. We all make the music that we want to make. Quest works with Live Human because he likes jamming with those motherfuckers. Eddie Def works with people like Extrakd and Brain and Disk, y'know what I mean?"

"If you want to talk about some crew shit, motherfucker, we got MCs, we got DJs, we got dancers on our side, so if you want to talk about some hip-hop shit, we're rockin'. Straight the fuck up, y'know what I mean? You get rocked if you want to talk about it on that level."
Nowadays though, the Bullet Proof Space Travelers cannot be bothered to compete against other crews. For them, hip-hop is a way of life, not a contest. They will, however, step up to battle any attempt to cash in on their culture--even if it means biting the hand that feeds them.

"We get free shit from corporations and that's all good but we ain't trying to kiss their ass," says Marz. "Motherfuckers are up there scratching like a little puppet, just a puppet. I see motherfuckers acting like puppets. That's all. You won't see me acting like a puppet. And then these people are calling themselves little battle champions—you’re just a little puppet. Your whole life is controlled by this certain scene and you will follow."

"I really want you guys to understand that being sponsored and hooked up with companies is not all what it seems to be," warns Cue. "A lot of them don't give a fuck about you and as soon as you're not doing good, they're gonna fuckin' drop your ass and go to the next place. They're like the biggest pimps. They just want you. They're gonna bring you to a show, feed you McDonalds and Subway, and then expect you to give your life to them just to rape your ass and your name and your whole image, and they're not worth it, y'know? Try to stay away from that. Just because somebody is endorsed and sponsored by someone doesn't mean a damn thing. It's not the biggest thing. It's great to get free equipment but it's not great what they do to your ass."

While corporate greedheads make easy targets, they are not the only ones on the BPST list of sellouts. The crew has put even the most highly regarded members of the turntable community in check.

When DJs from around the world came together to participate in Skratchcon2000, the BPST crew boarded their spaceship and ended up crashing what critics called "the most important day in the history of turntablism." But instead of a party, the Bullet Proof Space Travelers walked into what DJ Marz called "a biters convention," and in true form, their rough landing managed to damage more than just a few fragile egos.
"What the fuck?" questions a rhetorical Marz. "Straight the fuck up! If you're going to go out there and give definitions and teach motherfuckers to do what you're doing and sell it to them, you're selling your soul!"

In a venue full of quiet scratch aficionados diligently taking notes, the crew’s rowdy presence was understandably not appreciated, and invariably caused a huge backlash albeit on the Internet.

"What I got to say about Skratchcon is this: I ain't trippin'," says Marz. "A lot of motherfuckers are trippin'. They're coming up to me and saying this and that…bullshit. I was at the venue. I was there saying what I felt like saying at the time. If people said anything to me—at that time—that was cool. Whatever's down…let's do it right now…cool. Anything I said to anybody at Skratchcon—whatever. I saw all those motherfuckers after the fact and they had nothing to say to me in my face at all, y'know what I mean? And motherfuckers are blowing some shit up on the Internet, under some fake names, on some bullshit, ‘cause they're pussies. Come to me and say that shit to my face. I said what needed to be said and that's it. I ain't even dwelling on the fact."

Rude behavior and stink bombs aside, DJ Cue found an even more inherent flaw with the all-day scratch symposium. Instead of viewing it as "the world's first technological forum and interactive presentation on the musical understanding of the DJ arts of skratching and beat juggling," he saw it as the crass commercialization of yet another hip-hop art form.
"The whole Skratchcon thing was this huge, huge business venture for like the Skratch Piklz organization, which you know is basically 2 people," says Cue. "That whole thing…I don't know what the whole intention of it was, but when I talked to the people at Skratch Piklz they're whole idea was ‘for the people. We're doing something for the people. We give a shit about everybody….’ But, to me, when you give a shit about people, you don't take all their life savings, their college fund, their summer vacation money, on Fourth of July weekend in San Francisco where it's one of the most expensive cities to come to anyways. That whole event, they had so much backing and sponsorship money, they could have done it for free in the park for everybody. They could have brought like ten…fifteen thousand people there to experience something that nobody in this world has ever experienced which was so many talented DJs and people together in one spot. They knew that their time is up in this industry and they knew their whole light was just about to fade so they made their last run, y'know? They got paid. They got super paid. They're talking about they're going to Hawaii for training and all that shit…fine go to Hawaii—stay in Hawaii. Enjoy your life. Relax. Retire. But let everybody else who's trying to do some shit and gives a damn, prosper and build."

In regards to those who shelled out big bucks to attend the event, DJ Cue honestly believes they were taken advantaged of. "A lot of those kids…they're gonna learn shit, but slowly," laments Cue. They're gonna really miss the whole idea of what it's all about. Not just in DJing, but life."

The Bullet Proof Space Travelers may be the best-kept secret, but more than that, they’re people first. They eat, shit, fuck, and walk around in the sunshine like everybody else. And that’s their best-kept secret.

"People are people," says Cue. "I don’t want people to be a friend of mine because they like my music. I want them to know I’m a cool ass person. I’m going to chill out and we’re going to shoot the shit and we’ll go talk about whatever."

"As far as just anybody's music goes," adds Marz, "if there's not a smile on everybody's face, then what the fuck are you doing?"

This interview took place on July 26, 2000 at the Boomerang in San Francisco.
Dopestyle, yo.


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