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by Christopher Yuscavage
14 December, 2004@12:00 am
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     For far too many hip-hoppers of the younger generation (myself included), the art of deejaying has been overshadowed by mixtape DJs with names like Clue?, Kay Slay, and Big Mike, leading them to believe that a DJ is just a person with exclusive songs, freestyles, and a voice overtop of a record. Even those DJs with skills behind the turntables (see Funkmaster Flex) have had their hand skills surpassed by their abilities to grab the attention of the masses with the newest “it” records.

      Still, “It’s so blatant disrespecting my art form, I take a radio DJ and I stomp on ‘em, I drop on ‘em, blow up the mixtape awards, Only the wack show up while I’m out on tour,” DJ JS-1 raps on “Next Level” off his latest solo venture Audio Technician, throwing his vote in for supporting the true art of deejaying. And what he presents with Audio Technician lends credibility to the prefix of JS-1′s hip-hop name using a variety of scratch sequences from himself (as well as DJ Spinbad and DJ Slynke) and the emceeing of others to create an opus of hip-hop music from the vantage point of a DJ. Whoever says that a pair of turntables is not an instrument gets challenged quickly by DJ JS-1.

     The format of Audio Technician follows a strict pattern of back-and-forth movement alternating between emceed and deejayed tracks that compliment one another beautifully throughout the record. The opening track combines the efforts of JS-1′s scratched-up production with emcees L.I.F.E.Long and Immortal Technique with each paying homage to the resident DJ. “I conduct guerilla warfare throughout the PJs, On a government controlled by wack DJs, Playing watered down commercial because of payola, Taking orders from the label on the 2-way Motorola,” Technique raps.

     Elsewhere, though they are dated back to the late ’90s, the “fastest hands in New York” (DJ Spinbad) prevail on “Babylon 5″ before conjoining with DJ Slynke on a scratchfest appropriately titled “Coldcutz.” Of course, JS-1 also gets in on the action, seamlessly mending together an ode to the oldest rule in hip-hop on “Rule #4080″ (courtesy of help from Q-Tip, Styles P, KRS-One, and others). And the immense talents of JS-1 continue on the swan song “Ventilation Scratchapella,” where JS-1 uses his hands and too many music clips to count to prove that a story can be told in other ways that just the mouth.

     Surprisingly though, one of the most entertaining listens on Audio Technician may very well lie in the beat-boxing skills of Rahzel on “BX Streets,” where he lays down the ground work and adds life to the doo-wop sample (also found in the movie Bronx Tale) to create a soulful theme for the Bronx. By the time C-Rayz Walz, Akrobatik, Breez Evahflowin, and React combine forces on “Flying Guillotines” to again pay homage to JS-1′s skills, it’s hard to deny JS-1 his fair share of the hip-hop respect pie.

     “Whoever said that the turntable is not an instrument, Has never seen JS-1 get into it,” React raps on “Guillotines,” a theme that runs rampant throughout much of Audio Technician. While the album seems to be an angry snatching of respect by JS-1 at times, he lets his hands do the talking rather than yelling over every track, and his abilities speak volumes. For the younger generation of hip-hop, JS-1 may be shockingly quiet - but then again, isn’t that how it is supposed to be? Audio Technician puts meaning back into two of the most important letters in hip-hop: D.J. - a combination that has been abused by others for far too long.

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