Monday, July 13, 2009 DJ Scratch: Can’t Tell Me Nothin’ Part 2


I don’t believe in excuses so I’ll just apologize to you all and DJ Scratch
for waiting this long to put out part 2 of our interview. But after you
read it you’ll see that it’s just as timeless as his catalog.

One signature of your beats are horns but they’re not like Pete Rock horns. They’re more like stabs.

My horns are stabs, you said it exactly. Pete Rock and Large
Professor are the masters at horn (samples). They would take a horn and
put it in all the pads and fade it down and bring it back up (mimmicks
sound) da-da-da-da…I use them as stabs.

They add this dramatic element, which is why I guess you do a lot of album intros. Is that on purpose?

A lot of beats, especially with Busta, I would make a beat and I
wouldn’t give him the beat unless he put it for an intro. In that first
Busta run a lot of my shit sounded like movies, or a big event was
about to happen. I’d tell him ‘you can’t put this shit in the middle of
your album. You can’t even rhyme on this shit. This has to be the intro
to your album.’  Intros are very important to an album. That’s the
presentation of something great about to happen. A lot of my shit
sounded like that.

I like that  intro to Pharoahe’s Internal Affairs.  You mentioned once that there was a “Right Here” Remix with Xzibit?

At the time Pharoahe got sued for the Godzilla sample so that deaded
anything else moving from his album. But we did a West Coast edition
with the same beat.

Now, there are also like three different remixes to Busta’s New York Shit?

We did a Midwest remix with Common and Twista, a Dirty South with
Three 6 Mafia, Slim Thug and Rick Ross and Rick Ross killed it! And we
did a West Coast shit remix with Snoop and Dre. We did a New York Shit
Remix with M.O.P. and Nas. I have all of them in my possession except
the Snoop and Dre.

It’s funny how and where music ends up. How did you get those tracks on Phrenology?

Rock You – The Roots

I did two songs for Black Thought’s solo and he ended up putting them on Phrenology.
For “Rock You”I’m a huge Bruce Lee fan and I was watching Fists Of Fury
and I chopped up his whole fight scene. The punches, the kicks, the
sword and just made a beat out of it. Just thinking to the left. I have
a lot of beats like that but a lot of artists are scared of that and
don’t understand it.

After all of these years you’re finally putting out an album Tell me about, “Something To Spit To.”

It’s something I’ve always wanted to put one out there and I’m
putting some class A grade shit and make it different from all the
other instrumental albums out there so I put skits on the album. The
concept is that all of my producer friends and DJ friends are calling
congratulating me for putting out an instrumental album and my MC
friends are calling mad that I’m giving away these beats. After every
beat there’s a phone call. Premier starts it off congratulating me and
then LL calls in saying how I can give away these beats after I’ve
charged him all this goddamn money for a track. I have DJ Premier, Pete
Rock, Just Blaze, Diamond D, Alchemist, Kid Capri, Clark Kent,
SPinderella, LL, Busta, DJ Cocoa Channel, Bumpy Knuckles and Da
Beatminerz. All of these people are on this album and that are my real
friends that I respect.

The DJ Premier drop they use is my voice from a skit on a Gang Starr
album when everybody called in on, “Aight Chill.” That drop has been
used for everything with me saying “Premier-Premier-Premier-Premier” so
he’s returning the favor. That’s my dude.

I sent out an email at around 1pm to everyone that’s on my album
telling them to call this number and give your thoughts on me doing
this album. By 8pm everybody called and did what I asked them to do.

You get asked to test a lot of DJ equipment before it comes out. So what are your thoughts on Serato?

When they first came out with Serato I wasn’t fuckin with it because
it wasn’t accurate. For example, if you were scratching a record the
cue point would move. It would drift.

After like five updates they made a program in the serato so you can
adjust it to respond like real vinyl. I didn’t start using it til I
started DJing for Puff. A lot of the stuff he wanted me to play wasn’t
available on vinyl. He’d want me to play instrumentals of Biggie and No
Way Out and I had to learn it while I was on tour. Even now I haven’t
converted all of my vinyl to MP3s. The Serato shit is good, but it has
its good and it’s bad. No you don’t have to carry crates of records but
the bad thing is that it’s computer based and computers crash no matter
what. Fortunately mine hasn’t crashed but also, the main bad thing is
that every body and their mother thinks they’re a DJ. Don’t get me
wrong, the more DJs the better. But there are DJs now that have never
owned one piece of vinyl and they’re getting booked over real DJs. And
the new wave is these damn rappers that are becoming DJs because of
Serato. If Jay-Z wanted to become a DJ right now he would get booked
before me, DJ Premier, Jazzy Jeff or Cash Money. Not because he’s a
dope DJ but they’ll hope he performs some of his songs. He could be a
terrible fucking DJ. That’s part of the power struggle now. My whole
thing is if rappers, if you’re gonna do this DJ shit, respect it.
Respect this house. Ya’ll don’t respect the DJs when they’re DJing for
your motherfuckin asses. You don’t want to put the DJ on the record
cover, you don’t want to give the DJ royalties, or sign them to the
same deal you have, but now you want to become a DJ because your career
is over. So when you come over into our realm just respect this DJ shit.

Why haven’t you done more mixtapes?

The main reason I didn’t jump into the mixtape game is that the
public makes more money off of your mixtape than you do, which didn’t
make sense to me. I’ll make a beat for somebody and when it sells I get
revenue, publishing, royalties. That lasts forever. You put out a
mixtape and the only money you get for a mixtape is when you sell the
master for x amount of dollars. But they take it and sell it out of
their stores and make way more money off of it than you did. For
example Kid Capris’ 52 Beats mixtape that he made 20 years ago is still
selling and he don’t get a dime. They got Clue tapes from ’95 still
selling over there and he don’t see a dime off of that. I do a beat and
I get royalties for ever. I get licensed in a movie and that’s more

I’ll do one once every two years or so when I do one I want it to
last. Like the EPMD Handle Your Business mixtape, people already have
them but you flip it in your own special way. The concept mixtapes last

The crazy shit is that I remember when mixtapes were actual
mixtapes. When I found out that the mixtapes were done in the studio
like a song that’s when I got turned off from it. DJ Clue is the dude
that took mixtapes to a whole other level. Everyone needs to thank him.
He didn’t start it, but he made it mainstream. But I went to one of his
sessions and there was no turntables and dudes was recording like it
was a regular song. They was like “hold up, I fucked up, punch me in.”
It wasn’t even Pro Tools then, it was a two-inch. It’s a mix session,
not a mix tape.

So when will we finally see this documentary on your life?

It’s hard because I’m still filming. I have twenty year old footage.
The only reason I didn’t put it out is that I didn’t have enough
current footage and my quest hasn’t stopped. So I got footage from me
DJing for Puff and Snoop on the Puff Puff Pass tour, the TV show. I’m
starting to buckled down and edit and should have something by the fall.

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