Finding the deadliest sound effects, stabs, drum hits and vocal snippets to cut up has always been at the very core of hip hop DJing. It can make a Rap tune’s chorus take on a new energy (see DJ Premier’s choice scratch sections on his own Gang Starr productions), or be the knock out blow in a battle routine (“Do you want some of this?” asked Mix Master Mike of the X-Men. “’Hell no’, he replied”).
Back in the days, DJs would scour their record collection for clean punch lines, or full acapellas, and mark them up with stickers so they could find the dopest clips when they needed them in the heat of a mix.
People like Simon Harris and Norman Cook first thought about making ‘DJ records’ with breaks and scratch sentences on in the late eighties, but the boom came in the nineties.
More specialised and logical innovations occurred through the Hamster Breaks (1993 - the first modern battle record?), Dirtstyle, Super Duck Breaks, The Skip-Proof Scratch Tool and Clocktave releases, leading to the widespread technique of producing ‘locked’ grooves, all note scratchable musical scales, and sample-heavy cut sections on wax.
These essential vinyl weapons, with their goofy or saucy covers, would poke out of every discernable turntablists’ record bag, and be known inside out and back to front after heavy practice sessions.
Horny Martian Breaks? Check out Butchwax’s interplanetary scratch sounds here…