Scratcher soothes those who're itchin' to dance
March 5, 2004
Vinyl ain't dead.
The 33-rpm record, in
fact, is the instrument of choice for hip-hop DJs everywhere.
Remember trying to put the needle down on Leo Sayer's "You
Make Me Feel Like Dancing" without it sliding across the surface,
accompanied by that teeth-gnashing skeeeeerrrratch?
That sound is hip now.
Has been for years. DJs call it "scratching," and
it's part of our painstakingly scientific, excruciatingly complicated
and exhaustive search for the top local purveyor of plastic.
Songs count, too.
The Brothers of Beat, a collective of DJs who began at KWVA-FM,
got a listen at downtown's Lucky Noodle restaurant: Jeff Ray, Steve
Sawada and Gene Chism get props as laid-back, dedicated veterans.
DJs live to "keep the beat" -
that is, blend the song fading out on one turntable into the
song coming up on the other,
by manipulating a mixer.
Sawada, for example,
moved seamlessly from Frankie Knuckles' "The
Whistle Song" to a jazzy Stan Getz number through the samba
rhythm both tracks shared.
But the Brothers weren't scratchin' and the dinner crowd wasn't
dancin', so we looked elsewhere for someone to get the party started.
Our answer came on Fat
Tuesday at the Wetlands bar, where DJs were coming out of the
woodwork: DJ Billy, DJ Wicked and DJ Gen
Erik - "generic," get it? - to name a few.
DJ Wicked (29-year-old Kirk Kirkpatrick) stole the show: He bumped
and scratched his way through the Beatnuts, Prince, Michael Jackson
and Salt-n-Pepa, furiously working both turntables and enough knobs,
buttons and switches to make a pilot blanch.
Alas, we disqualified him for living in Portland.
Enter DJ Tekneek, also known as 31-year-old Kenny Morris of Eugene.
Tekneek knows style - he wears an oversized hoops jersey and matching
ball cap - and he has an unbeatable rep for rhythm.
"He's like a human metronome," a
On this night, Tekneek's hands moved ever so lightly across the
controls, scratching vinyl and flipping switches as if everything
was piping hot to the touch.
He worked the crowd
into a body-grinding frenzy with Public Enemy, J-Kwon and Beyonce,
then sent them over the top with Sean Paul's "Get
Tekneek's a DJ-for-hire (www.hardwoodentertainment.net), so he'll
also spin anything from Madonna to Metallica.
Judging what we heard, he could probably even play the two together.
Best of is not a hand to hold on to or even an ice cream treat
on a hot summer day. It's just a column.