Stage 66503

Michael Li

The Origin of Hip Hop according to a China man

Just like paper, gunpowder and pasta- the chinese have been there, done that.

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beat 4 battle feature

yo!

Beat4Battle TV: UK - EP6 from Yoshi on Vimeo.

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To share my love for skratch Vol. 2

Hi, second installment of my skratch series...

3 Click!!! These combos took me over a year to practise and the key is busting 3 clicks fast, to-the-beat and accurate. I suggest start with transforms first!

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To share my love for skratch

YO! I'm starting a "series" of scratch videos, hoping to share with you my love for Skratch!Each one will be based on a basic technique and I will show the combos based on this technique that I have learnt in the past. I'm doing this to make people understand more about scratching, and share with you my love for it. This is slightly different from posting up freestyles, and I think breaking it down maybe easier to digest.Anyway, the first one will be 2 click flare combinations. I chose a 120/130 bpm beat from D-styles' records.

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HEY DJ, FUCK YOU! (funny article from Vice magazine)

HAHAHAHA... True in some ways, but quite a brave/ funny article

Anyone Can Rock the Party

You know that thing called DJing? Playing records in bars or at stupid art openings for money? Guess what DJing is? The biggest fucking bullshit con of all time! People who get over as DJs are making the easiest money ever, because they've convinced every PR person and club owner in the world that they're doing something only a few natural-born geniuses can do. It's laughable. A 70-year-old blind Ethiopian leper with 10 broken fingers can "spin" just as well as any B-list celebrity at any instore party for some gay snowboarding jeans company. I promise.

And those other guys who do all the little flick-flick, crabby moves on records that are covered with spots of adhesive tape that are supposed to mean something? Those aren't DJs! I don't know what to call them. Nerds, maybe? They called themselves "turntablists" five years ago, but I think that got embarrassing. One thing is for sure, though: Those guys don't DJ on the actual paying gig circuit that I'm on, because no hammered jock chicks or guidos from West Orange, N.J., will dance to an hour-long abstract scratch frenzy over a P-Funk B-side.

I've been making loads of supplementary income by DJing for a few years now, and I can barely even scratch my own back. All you really need is a CD burner, Kazaa, and passably cool taste in music. Here, I'll tell you all about my life as a party DJ:

TECHNIQUE

FLOW: The only slightly ephemeral skill to learn is flow. Have you ever made a mixtape for someone you had a crush on? Then you already know what flow is—the ability to maintain a mood. I was at a party once where the DJ kept playing one danceable hip-hop track, then one undanceable slow classic-rock track, one hip-hop, one slow rock, on and on like that for an hour! We would get up and dance, and then sit down, and then we finally just stayed down and shot him really dirty looks. It was the opposite of flow. To master flow, you just need to not be a fucking moron. Can you handle that?

Segueing from one genre to a totally different one is easy. You just build tiny little bridges instead of taking one big leap. For example, let's go from a hip-hop set to a punk-rock set. You play your last rap song, then a Prince track. Then maybe some ESG. Then the Slits. Boom! You're into the punk before they know what hit 'em.

LCD: This is your audience. It stands for Lowest Common Denominator. You are DJing for drunks and cokeheads, and they need the aural equivalent of safety blankets. What would you rather hear when you're high as fuck in a bar: Journey or some obscure acid-house? (If you're a geek, don't answer that.)

I used to spend all my time collecting the rarest tracks, stuff that when I heard it at home it would totally blow my mind. Guess what? No one cared. In fact, they stopped dancing. Now I stick to playing stuff that I liked when I was a teenager (the Misfits, "O.P.P.," and songs from John Hughes movies) and I'm golden. When in doubt, go nostalgic.

CUEING: This is where you enact the flow thing I just told you about. You have two sides, right and left. When something's playing on the right, think of a song that would sound good after it. Cue that song up on the left by pressing the same buttons on a CD player that you've pressed 1,000 times before (or putting a needle down in the appropriate groove on a record). When the song on the right side is about to end, slide the little thingy in the box between the decks to the left. When you're a little less than halfway over, press "play" on the CD or "start" on the turntable. Congratulations, you're DJing. Can I get a "That was easy"?

PERKS

LINES: A huge guilty pleasure is cutting the line and marching right up to the velvet rope all casual, going, "Hi, I'm the DJ." I like to go to a gig dressed like a total slob. The nicer the club, the shittier I look. Then I can stroll past all the people who used to spit on me in high school and make a big huge deal about going through the door first.

MONEY: Depending on who you are, a DJ's salary for one night can range from a few free drinks to obscene amounts (for the big shots) that make you hate capitalism. I heard Paul Sevigny got fucking $15,000 to DJ at Sundance. I hope that is DJ urban legend. Most DJs I know are pretty psyched if they get a couple hundred. Art openings should pay more, like $350. And remember: Always get paid in cash on the night of. Within 24 hours all money magically transforms into cocaine blown up some model's ass.

COMPLIMENTS: One of the best things about DJing is when you play a really kickass song and people come up to you dancing, going "I love this song!" You get all proud and pretend you wrote it. You're like, "Thanks!" Yeah, I downloaded "Youth Gone Wild," I rule. It's like being told your air-guitar skills are fucking SICK.

GEAR

NEEDLES: Those sleek, aerodynamic, $500 fancy-pants needles are the second biggest scam in DJing besides convincing people that DJing is hard. For totally serviceable needles, go to one of those electronics stores on Canal Street and get the cheapest set possible. You can talk them down on the price, too. I got a pair plus some shitty headphones for $90 after I sweet-talked the sales guy for a minute. (BTW, the cheap needles are called hip-hop needles and that's mean against blacks.)

MIXERS: There are a few brands of mixers, but who cares. DJs would like for you to think mixers are all complicated, but they're really about as hard to figure out as a home stereo. I once spun at this lesbian party where I ended up giving girls DJ lessons all night. They were lined up across the room, and it only took me a few seconds to show each of them the basics. As Garfield would say, "Big fat hairy deal." Once I showed them how simple it really is, they were shocked at the big deal that people make about the whole thing. Yeah, there are cute little tricks you can do. If you're playing a hip-hop song, it's fun to cut out the bass after the second verse and then kick it back in full force on the chorus. It's a nifty party trick and it makes girls lose their shit. But you can also just say, "Fuck it," set them all in the middle, and read a book in between tracks.

WHEELS OF STEEL: Please don't call them that. Don't call them "the ones and the twos" either. It sounds like your mom saying, "Homie don't play that."

ETIQUETTE

OOPS: You're going to fuck up. The record will skip or you'll be distracted by some drunk kid telling you how much "Bizarre Love Triangle" means to him or you'll let two Wire songs play in a row. No big whup. Everyone's too wasted to care. You should be too. Just take the opportunity to make announcements. I usually shout out important information such as, "Don't stop the rock, motherfuckers!" or "I need to pee!"

REQUESTS: Try not to cry when people request Missy Elliott, again. Or "Hey Ya!" or "Milkshake." Or Cher when you are spinning Minor Threat. Or simply "hip-hop." Or any genre of music, in fact. You wouldn't believe how often people request an entirely different genre of music than what the DJ is playing. It's infuriatingly rude. You're telling the DJ that you hate his or her music. If you don't like what I'm playing, wait 10 fucking minutes and I'll be onto a new thing anyway.

If you simply must request a song, it better be within the scope of what I'm playing at that very second AND it better be such an insane song that it'll make me go, "Oh shit, yeah, why didn't I think of that?"

True fact: That's only happened to me once out of hundreds and hundreds of requests. The song was "Sweet Emotion" by Aerosmith, believe it or not.

SAVING YOUR BEST STUFF: This is tricky. You don't want to blow your load before the night hits maximum party time, so you squirrel away your guaranteed crowd-pleasing monster jams and you wait, thinking, "Now? Now? Do I drop it?" And finally you're like, "It's time, I'm gonna hit it." And boom! It's a fuckin' nuclear-bomb explosion. A roomful of people you would barely be able to look at in the daytime are freaking out like they just won the lottery, all because you pressed a button. That's why you do this shit. That, and the fact that you are a total fucking spaz.

AMY KELLNER (Vice Magazine Editor)
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New freestyle

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Hip Hop is Dead?

Nowadays, a lot of people say that "Hip Hop is dead". I'm sure any music lover or culture follower must have heard this many times or even said it themselves. But what does it really mean? In fact, I mentioned this topic is simply because I disagree. But, I am a fair person and I try to understand the other side of the argument first. I ask myself why would people say "Hip Hop is dead" in the first place? In my opinion, here are the types of people who, I think, are relevant to this topic, and, of course, I include my rebuttal: 1.  People refer Hip Hop as Hip Hop music With reference to the music side of Hip Hop, some people might think there aren't many new songs or artists which excite them. Fair enough. But here's the thing- since when could a music genre can be "dead"? when do you ever hear people say "yea, classical music is dead" or "duh, jazz is dying"? never! Also think more in a grand scale of things. short sighted people think old school or underground is cool purely because not very many people know or listen to that type of music. Consider this scenario- Hip Hop music first became popular with Run DMC's Raising Hell and SugarHill's Rapper's Delight. These songs were the first "Hip Hop" tracks to top the charts. But how are chart toppers 15-20 years ago any different to current day billboard no. 1s? They would both be overplayed and "commercial" at the time, but once enough time has passed, people will start thinking it's "cool" by going back to the "old school".Imagine 15 years from now, people will start thinking rappers like 50 cents are old school and keeping it real. Picture that... can't, right? 2. People who participate in the culture By this, I mean DJs, MCs, B Boys, Graffitti Artists. There are a tonne of legit reasons why even those involved in the culture would even think this. Examples: DJs- "oh the music scene in Hong Kong clubs is so commercial"; MCs- "most canto rappers don't actually understand the concept of rhyming" (true by the way).I guess to a certain extent complaints from Hip Hop-ers are true, given the circumstances. However it's missing the point. Rather than complaining about the problem with Hip Hop... why not be the solution? If you really think Hip Hop is dead because the DJs or MCs in your area suck ass, then why not be better than them and teach them how it's done? I don't think about you, but I started because I was inspired by watching pioneers of the art. People who inspire other people all have a uniqueness and a contribution to the art which is built solely from hard work. So instead of complaining about the uninspiring, why not be the inspiring? 3. People who don't know anything nor do they give a shit You win man... Hip Hop is dead.

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New Scratch Demo

Hi I just posted a new scratch track I made with Dj Tin Ho and Dj Teddy INC The samples are based on European battle breaks. The cuts are done by us and the last part of the routine is taken from Teddy INC's 2007 routine. It took around an hour to make, that's why it's a bit short. But still, I'm happy with it and I hope you are too! 

Mikey

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Best DJ in the world... in my opinion #2

It's time for the second part of the Best DJ list. I don't think I'll do one for the jugglers... too lazy, plus in this list there are some of the best beat jugglers anyway. So now I'll talk about the best battle DJs in the world. It's different from scratching because it's a composition of music. In other words, it's kind of like the difference between freestyle rapping and doing a rap song... between an individual dancer and a crew of dancers. The concept is to make a song with highs and lows. It's different from scratching and you can't really compare the two. You can be an amazing scratcher but awful at doing routines, and vice versa. However the general trend is that the better scratcher the better routines. I think I just contradicted myself. The following people have won countless World titles, created a movement in turntablism and unappreciated by the musically crippled. I put this in chronological order because since 2002/2003, after the Kentaro era, custom records came out. Before people had to use vinyl bought from a record shop. Custom records allows self-produced material, which gives more flexibility in the music genre. Anyway, behold: DJ A-trak His first battle was the 1997 DMC in Canada. He was only 15 at the time and went on to win the Canadian finals and the World Finals. By 18, he won all the world titles a DJ can possibly win. He joined the Allies crew with DJ Craze (below) and DJ Klever... and practised with the almighty Invisbl Skratch Piklz. Recently, he is Kanye West's DJ and he has a record label called Fool's Gold.

DJ Craze Three time World DMC Champion. This is the most DMC titles a DJ has ever won, plus a load of others. He founded the crew the Allies, which was mainly a crew of US battle DJs. His innovation was he incorporated Drum 'n Bass into his routines. He is a very well-rounded DJ, and here is his 2000 winning set.

DJ Kentaro DMC 2002 World Champion. I tell you this guy is insane. He is the first one to create a "concept" in his routine, i.e. to tell a story with his routine, which is quite subtle. He created the concept "No wall between music", which meant he incorporated all styles of music in his routine... house, reggae, drum n bass, hip hop... and puts it in a simple but genius way. This has heaily influenced all japanese DJs nowadays: 

DJ I.emerge This again is a multi-world title holder from NYC. He started the agressive and energetic style, and I think in general he is very entertaining to watch. He was one of the first who made custom vinyls for a battle, using his own production and some original songs.

DJ Netik The last one is 2006 DMC World Champion DJ Netik from France. He also uses custom vinyl, but slightly different. He collaborated with a French producer called Le Jad, who created a new style in turntablism. The sounds are in general hardcore breakbeat electro hip hop... I guess. This has created a style that people love to hate. Despite that, I think he has done something amazing for DJing and for Hip Hop, and with the current debate over this type of music, it teaches people how important it is to have style. Le Jad has also collaborated with DJ Rafik, who is the 2007 World Champion. Anyway:  

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Best DJ in the world... in my opinion

you know all the DJ mag top 100, International DJ positions... ever wonder why NO turntablists are included? I guess the reason is you can't compare them like-for-like, because turntablist and dance DJs are fundamentally different. So, I have decided to compile the best DJs, in my opinion, around the world for 1. scratch, 2. juggle and 3. battle. I remember the first video I ever saw was Qbert and Mixmastermike, in the 1995 world final showcase. I fell in love straight away, not with the guys... but with their hands... ... no that sounds even worse. These are the people who have inspired millions and stayed humble. Hopefully, by posting these videos, people will be inspired the same way as I was... or maybe not. Anyway, here is the first of the top DJs list: 1. Scratch DJs USA

These two are Qbert and D-styles of the Invisbl Skratch Piklz. Some might say they are the best scratchers ever to touch turntables. Qbert is the inventor and developer of many scratches to date and D-styles has the most unique funky style. Other DJs include Vajra, Illtraxx and Ricci Rucker. Japan

This is DJ Ken One (2002 DMC Japan Final 2nd place), one of Japan's best scratch DJ. It was hard to pick this one, because Japan as a country has the best scratchers in the world. Who would have thought? Another person I should have included is Miyajima (2007 DMC Japan Champion).France

DJ Troubl (2006 DMC Battle for World Supremacy 2nd Place) is the most technical scratcher in France. I think this is more of an acquired taste, by that I mean it's difficult to understand the difficulty of his scratches. Note that I mean the technique of his scratching but not the sound he scratches. Others include Netik, Scratch Science DJs and Eko.Germany

This is DJ Rafik (2008 DMC World Champion). This is actually a really old video, so I think he's even better these days. But yea, nice huh? Others are Unkut, and people in Noisy Stylus.United Kingdom

The one on the left is Muzzell (2005 UK Champion) and the one on the right is Tigerstyle (2003 3x World Champion). These guys are just insanely good and very technical That's all for the scratchers. More later bitches. Mikey

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Michael Li

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Fresh to Death ...Read more

Hometown Hong Kong
Favorite Tv Shows Nip Tuck, Family Guy, Simpsons, South Park, Heroes, Prison Break
Favorite Music US: Invisbl Skratch Piklz, the Allies, 5th Platoon, Stylus Wars, Lo Lives, Trooperz, J Dilla, Ned hoddings, Gunkhole, Beat Junkies, Funky Technicians, Turntable Techinicians, 4 One Funk, Nocturnal Sound Crew, Finger Bangerz, Stylusts, Swift Rock, Wundrkut, Kid Koala, Dopey, Shub, Snake Eyez, X-Ecutioners, Shadow, Neptunes, Just Blaze, Kayne West, The Nextmen, Jermaine Durpri, Timbaland, J5, Madlib, Gangstarr, Wu Tang, Tommy Boy Records, Dr Dre, NWA, Eminem, De La Soul, Gangstar, DJ Premier ... Europe: Tigerstyle, Pfel, Lordz of Fitness, Pro Zeiko, Unkut, Netik, Troubl, Scratch Perverts, Scratch Science, Craim, Aquasky, slickbeats.net, Muzzell, Matman, Daredevil, 2 Tall, Clear, Wiz-i, Disablists, Jekey, Prefuse 73, Squarepusher, Aphex Twin, Ninja Tune... Asia: Coma, Akakabe, Kentaro, Kireek, Ken-One, Hifana, Izoh, Miyajima, Tsuyoshi, The Lab in Shanghai, Color Production.. ALL djs and many many many more...
Favorite Faves Skratch