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The origin stories of the transformer scratch centre around a triumvirate of Philly DJs: Spinbad, Cash Money and Jazzy Jeff. The first has been acknowledged as its inventor, albeit it in a rudimentary form, whilst the other pair are credited with developing it much further. It takes its name because of the sonic similarities it shares to the sound the characters from the Transformers cartoon made when they changed shape.
Jeff was the first to put it on wax with The Magnificent Jazzy Jeff. You might have clocked him at Union Square in ’86, but that recording wouldn’t be released for a couple more years.
Cash Money used the trick to dominate DJ battles around the same time, winning the New Music Seminar’s World Supremacy battle in 1987, and then the DMCs in 1988.
No one up to that point had managed to coax so much out of so little for so long as the masters of the transformer. To the first wave that caught it, it was like they possessed the power to turn back time. No wonder the New Music Seminar’s comp was called the Superman Battle…
Catch DJs Revolution and Jazzy Jeff transforming here…