Tomorrow night, Casselman's is the site of this year's Denver DMC DJ battle. The longest running and most recognized DJ competition in the world, the DMC World DJ Championship has played host to some of the world's best DJs over the years. DJ Craze, Neil Armstrong, Jay-Z's DJ, A-Trak, who provides the sounds for Kanye West, and many others including this year's guest judge, Rob Swift, are all direct descendants of the DMC competition.
DJ Lazy Eyez (aka Sean Choi), who is organizing the event, says this year's battle will have a slightly different twist. Whereas in the past, this was a vinyl only competition, this year's contest allows for the use of Serato Scratch.
"For the first time their allowing Serato, which is the way deejays DJ with a computer," he explains. "Before that, they were only allowed to use vinyl. I think that opens up for more creativity in the sets from the deejays. After 2000, they started scratching and coming up with all these different techniques that if you weren't a deejay, you wouldn't know what was going on. Serato opens up for more creative space for people who aren't necessarily deejay nerds.
This year's event will incorporate all the elements of hip-hop. In addition to the DJ battle on Saturday evening, which will culminate with a performance by Rob Swift, there's an MC battle with a $100 prize, and a b-boy battle with a $200 prize. Preliminary rounds for both the b-boys and MCs will be held at noon on Saturday, with the finals happening at the DMCs. New York legend Pop Master Fabel will be judging the b-boy battle.
"I wanted to keep it fucking hip-hop and use all the elements, you know?" says Lazy. "That's important to me because when I was in high school that's how I learned about deejaying, was through the DMC videos that used to come out. To be able to organize the event years later is really dope."
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The importance of the DMCs is more than just the competition. The battles, Lazy Eyez says, were where many deejays practiced, perfected tricks and learned the art of the DJ.
"Mix Master Mike from the Beastie Boys, and he's also touring with Lil Wayne, came out of this competition, even DJ Swamp, Beck's DJ. So there's a lot of diversity and talent that continues to come out of this. That's why it was so important to make sure it happened this year."
Last year's battle produced three of the five finalists (DJ Notch, the Fresh Breath Committee's Skip Ripkin and B*Money qualified locally, Cysko Rokwel and Jeff C from Fort Collins earned their slots elsewhere) who represented Denver at the finals in New York City last fall.
The get down is tomorrow night at Casselmans, $10 at the door. All proceeds from the event go toward funding Hip-Hop Congress's annual summer park jam.