DJ Revolution: Why scratching should reunite the elements of hip-hop

Recently, Burlington has experienced a surge of authentic hip-hop acts: Slick Rick graced the town with his presence earlierthis year, Afrika Bambaataa comes to town this week, and DJ Revolution comes to Plan B to scratch on Halloween evening.The Cynic picked his brain for a while and found that Rev, aside from working his ones and twos, is a Miguel De Cervantes fan (among many other and more exciting things.)VC: The “Wake Up Show” is syndicated worldwide, making you one of the most listened-to DJs in the world. What do youtry to represent on such a large forum?DJR: To play music for the world is great, man. I expose music to people, playing sh-t that doesn’t get represented in the mainstream as far as the media of television and press and radio and even now, satellite and the Internet.VC:What is that message?DJR: Everywhere I go, I send messages by playing certain records and doing certain things with them. Basically, we speakby example. We let people know, “this is how it should be done.” We don’t have to say it…they already know by listening to the quality of music we play, by havingquality guests on [the show] that represent real hip-hop. Everything I do represents this culture.VC: Who are your favorite emcees and DJs to work with?DJR: I would say those experiences haven’t happened yet, you know? Every time I work with someone new I have great experiences.Being Rakim’s DJ for six months. That was cool. Meeting my idols and getting to work with them…[DJ] Jazzy Jeff has become a really good friend of mine. It’s real cool to be able to spit with him and talk with him on a regular basis.VC: When peoples’ images blow up, they often get called “sellouts.” But staying underground can undermine the point of music: to be heard. Agree or disagree?DJR: I never want anybody to stay underground. That’s the worst curse in the world. What would the hip-hop world be likeif Rakim stayed underground? These people push the new talent to be better. Just because you’re selling two million records doesn’t mean you suck or that you’re overexposed.Your main objective as an artist, despite what any artist tells you, is to get your sh-t seen or heard by as many people as possible because you seek that validationfrom the people-sometimes. If you’re not doing it to get your music to as many people as possible and you’re just doing itto get some music out to your boys down the street, than that’s cool. You can do that. But don’t complain about the state of themusic industry because you’re not a part of it, you know?VC: You have been credited with jumpstarting young careers. Are there any artists you see as having mad potential?DJR: Yeah, I’m working with these kids, Stylistic Jones and KB. One is from L.A. and one is from Queens, but I put them together for this album that I produced for them. It’s a concept album. We kind of decided to take them a group just for thisone project and they sound incredible.VC: What do you see for the future of hip-hop and turntablism?DJR: It’s an understated, underrated art form that people in the mainstream aren’t paying enough attention to because we, as DJs, are the foundation for this wholething: for hip-hop, for exposing new music, for generating producers… and I think that, for me, it’s still my goal as it was fiveyears ago when I put out my last album, which was dedicated to my art form, to reintegrate DJing into hip-hop, because it became splintered.The future depends on the DJs themselves. Do they want to be a part of hip-hop or do they just want to be scratch DJs andstay in their bedrooms and make mix tapes? If we integrated DJing back into hip-hop we would have a lot of power: We would actually have the power to change whatgets played, what gets heard. VC: Any plans for a solo LP?DJR: Yeah, I’ll have a new one out next year for sure. It will never be just scratching. Hip-hop and its elements, we’re all supposed to be together, you knowwhat I’m saying? You can’t really have an emcee without the DJ and you can’t really have the DJ without the emcee anymore.They should go hand in hand, so I’m going to represent that on my next album, for sure.VC: You’re performing on Halloween here in Burlington. What’s your costume going tobe? DJR: (Laughs) I don’t think I can travel in my costume. Actually, I’m going to a Halloween party tonight as Pancho Villa. And I can’t really roll through the airportwith a big sombrero and a poncho on and a big rifle on my shoulder. DJ Revolution comes to Plan B in downtown Burlington on Oct. 31.