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As the cream of turntablist documentaries (Battle Sounds, Scratch) rightly point out, Rockit was a seminal moment in the evolution of turntablism. Nearly every DJ of note has it down as their number one reason for picking up (or putting down) the needles.
The 1983 record and accompanying animatronic video were hits, but the Grammy performance blew minds. It was the first time many people outside hip hop had seen DJing, and for those that were already down, it was on some very next level tip.
Bandleader, Herbie Hancock, may have been centre stage with his keytar, and flanked by body-popping mannequins, but it was the glimpses of the figure of his DJ, D.ST, that turned the most heads. It was like he’d been beamed from space, a million miles from the Delancey St. in New York where he took his name.
Live and on record it was his percussive cutting and orchestrated scratching that gave the Electro instrumental workout it’s futuristic and shocking edge, and it showed the world that the turntables were now as relevant as any musical instrument.
Check out this D.ST-dominated live version of the song here…