Rap pioneer Grandmaster Caz spoke on the early days of DJing during a recent conversation with VladTV.
The Bronx native joined The Cold Crush Brothers crew in the late 70s and influenced legendary rappers such as Rakim and Big Daddy Kane.
Caz said that back in the day, the sound system was the first signifier of how great a DJ truly was, as the systems were very expensive. “The equipment that Kool Herc played on was way before its time. No street DJs had that kind of equipment,” he recalled.
After sound systems, Caz said the next defining factor was how exclusive a DJ’s selection was. “Your value as a DJ was what records you had … What makes you different from that next DJ?” He continued, “It wasn’t about cutting and scratching yet … It was just about who played the best music.”
Caz also discussed how Jamaicans influenced American DJs and hip-hop. “Jamaican DJ culture is definitely [a] direct descendent to hip-hop,” Caz asserted. “A lot of the early forefront DJs were of Caribbean and Jamaican descent: Kool Herc, [Grandmaster] Flash.”
Watch the full interview below:
Related: Grandmaster Flash Talks Nicki Minaj’s ‘Anaconda’ Video
There’s been quite a bit of talk lately about celebrity DJs and whether they should be considered “real DJs.” While the debate has been going on for years, last month’s routine video from Craze helped rekindle the discussion, and recent interviews with T-Pain and comedian Russell Peters sparked controversy.
The latest notable artist to speak on the issue is A-Trak. During an interview with VladTV, the Fool’s Gold co-founder shared his opinions on celebrity DJs, specifically Paris Hilton. He also discussed the explosion of EDM in the US and how it’s resulted in different types of DJs.
Related: How A-Trak Became One of the World’s Most Respected DJs
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