& 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
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 youre
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 dont call yourself a
turntablist if you came from that school. Any person thats
ever mastered anything knows the fundamentals. Thats just
the way you got to approach stuff. You got to know the basics
first, yknow what I mean? Theres 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.
"Theres 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 whats been
laid down in the rules of what the game is, yknow? Theres
a lot of DJs who just get in the game and just take what they
can and dont even give a shit about whats really happening,
how they got to where they are. [Im] not saying that you
got to be like Mr. Historian and be all educated about this, but
just know that theres 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, theyre 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. Were not
worried about blowing up today, tomorrow, next year, the year
after. Were 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. "Ive always been into creating beats,"
says Cue. "In the crew, Im the one with the studio
and Ive always had the equipment and the samplers and the
. 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. Ill 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 wouldnt 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. Thats 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 thats all they did. But me, I was always into the production."
DJ Cues emphasis on producing instead of performing has
caused him to keep a lower profile than most other artists. But
by staying out of the publics 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
"My whole thing is its good to be a DJ," says
Cue. "Ill always consider myself a DJ. I could play
a house party, club, radio, whatever but thats 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 thats where I want it to stay and thats
how I like it. Whether I put it out or not, thats something
different. Its 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 its good, its good. If not, we keep
it for later. We store it and put more effort into it later. When
we work on stuff, its never the concept of its got
to be put out to be sold. Our whole thing is not putting out projects
to make a profit off of everybody. We dont put out scratch
tapes to sell them. We dont 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.
Theyre more interested in making music for themselves rather
than making music for the masses. In fact, if you check the crews
list of credits, youll 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 groups 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
Pauls Boutique, too when it first came out.
(EDITORS NOTE: Alright you tweakers, in
the interest of hip-hop science and chemical curiosity, Im
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 email@example.com. 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 Cues 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 Cues
a lot of the stores were like closing."
"Vinyl was becoming scarce," adds Marz who also worked
in the store. "The whole DJ surge wasnt stable at the
time, yknow what I mean? When Cues opened, their motto
was Keep Vinyl Alive and thats something you
dont hear these days."
"When we closed Cues, it wasnt 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.
Theyre all over the fucking world and vinyl is back hardcore.
Im not saying that we started something but were a
part of something thats 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
"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
. 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 championsyoure just a little puppet.
Your whole life is controlled by this certain scene and you will
"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
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 crews 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 meat that timethat
was cool. Whatever's down
let's do it right now
Anything I said to anybody at Skratchconwhatever. 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
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
. 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 Hawaiistay 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, theyre people first. They eat, shit,
fuck, and walk around in the sunshine like everybody else. And
thats their best-kept secret.
"People are people," says Cue. "I dont want
people to be a friend of mine because they like my music. I want
them to know Im a cool ass person. Im going to chill
out and were going to shoot the shit and well go talk
"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
This interview took place on July 26,
2000 at the Boomerang in San Francisco.