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by Marlon Regis
1 January, 2000@12:00 am
0 comments

 Many DJ-produced and turntablist albums have withered into a category of being labeled as mix-tape or short-term material. Something you taste, not swallow nor digest. In fact, many of these past albums by the likes of Funkmaster Flex, DJ Clue, The Allies, Rob Swift and others were formatted just like mix-tapes or run-throughs, which in a very short duration begged to be tossed, taped over and eventually replaced.

On this LP, a definite tribute by DJ Revolution for DJ’s backbone-essence to hip-hop music and culture, his tracks are all originally produced. Tons of lyricists guest appear and the interludes/skits deliver discussions and arguments revolving around the turntable’s value to music. Especially vital for a foundational schooling for the Y-Generation of hip-hop consumers, there’s history on the early beginnings of hip-hop’s main instrument by Grand Wizard Theodore on the intro titled, “Theodore” and also at the end of the CD on “Herc,” by non other than Kool Herc, hip-hop’s most pioneering DJ to date. At times though, there’s no escaping the preachy techniques DJ Revolution emphasizes with the many minute-long skits/interludes which can be burdensome, sometimes trying to drive a point dead into your skin. After all,most of the actual songs, including a massive DJ-tribute on “The Backbone” featuring Krondon, Chase Infinite (Of Self Scientific), Planet Asia, Rasco, Kardinal Offishall, Choclair, Shabaam Sahdeeq and Ill Advised saturate the fact that the DJ deserves level-type respect in hip-hop’s spotlight.

However, on Revolution’s usage of these skits, especially on “Debate,” he doesn’t totally attack the listener like previous immature methods or with biased behavior. A radio panel argues over the worth of scratching or the DJ’s contribution in music, as an artform. One side values this street credibility and self-developing dexterity, while other ‘intellectual’ squares, summarize the DJ with a metaphorical analogy. All to the backdrop of a laughing audience, the latter solidifies how close-minded the world still is: “If a record was already made, OK, maybe they do it (over) well, but if I edit a highlight reel of the Super Bowl, it doesn’t mean I am a football player!” This is typical wine-sipping ignorance, but is funny! With the samples and snippets taken from TV, movies and other popular mediums, the collage of messages all driven by Revolution’s busy hand movements, makes the picture very clear. He’s laying it down for the respect of the DJ. On “Communication,” ride the lessons of his speed, as the underground late-night break-beat flavor oozes from your speakers while other compositions await your appetite. On “Evolution”, Revolution’s production steers a deeper bass, swollen into your head-nodding enjoyment as Evidence of Dilated Peoples stars. At its tail-end, Revolution wags the track to a close by smooching the records with ferocious scratches and when Defari on “Juggle Me Part 2″ again fixates on DJ Revolution through his tributes, the emcee now takes a back role, the theme to keep in mind throughout this album.

More and more beats unfold, as the onslaught continues on “Take Over.” Probably the most compelling groove on the album. Even guest DJs like Babu of the Beat Junkies/Dilated Peoples on “Copycat Killers” and Roc Raida of the X-ecutioners on “Dynamic Duo” slice and shred the vinyl, in trust of Revolution’s approval. Not to be forgotten, the album then takes a twisting turn as it features the imperative element of battling. On “Ringside” and on “Head 2 Head” featuring DJ Spinbad, a literal clash of DJs battle in the former track with entertaining results. Despite your inability to view the action or antics that are usually admired live, you still get the gist of Revolution’s cause: honor thy Wheels of Steel like a pastor preaches on a pulpit!

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