Shiftee’s Picks

Double DMC World Champion

ShifteWelcome everybody to DMCWORLD Magazine's new weekly columnist where the man himself will be revealing his 10 tunes of the week and what went down at the weekend... 

Shiftee’s Picks’

DJ Diamond – Rep Yo Clique (Remix)
“Love the repeating “rep rep rep rep rep rep rep rep rep rep…”  – freaks. This track really hits home for me because I always rep my clique.”

Gucci Mane & Waka Flocka Flame – Mud Musik ft. Titi Boy a.k.a. 2 Chains
“Aside from the fact that Titi Boy is just an incredible rapper name, I’m digging the extra slow gangster beat on this one and the random “waka flocka” interjections.”

Kanye West & Jay-Z – New Day
“Watch The Throne got a lot of hate, but I’m feeling the intro and Kanye’s first verse on this one.  Not sure why “Me and The Rza connect” is so ill, but it is.”

Lunice – Bricks

“Loving his new EP and overall style.  Futuristic vibes with hip hop sensibilities.  Plus he can dance really well, which is really rare for most DJs & Producers I know.”

S-X – Ambience
“The snare goes hard in the paint.  The A section is heavy and the B section is off the hook and emotional.  I don’t know whether to fight someone or hold someone.”

Shlohmo – Sink
“Incredibly peaceful and cinematic.  I want to make a dramatic movie set in the woods just to put this as the soundtrack to it.” 

Teeza – The Storm
“Forthcoming heat from DJ Cable’s Triangulum label.  When I listen to this tune, I picture ol’ English gentleman dueling with pistols in a 1990s rave warehouse.  So should you.” 

Terror Danjah – Full Attention (Royal-T Remix)
“Damn!  Whoa!  What!  Mama!  Help!  F&*k!  Boomface!  (“Boomface,” according to my friend Rory, is the face you make when you say “Boooooooooom!”)”

The Weeknd – The Party & The After Party (Kastle Remix)
“The new The Weeknd mixtape dropped last week, but this was still my favorite Weeknd related track to emerge.  Been waiting for a Kastle remix ever since The Weeknd emerged.  Baby making music.”  

Xcuse ft. Ayarcana – Allright (Shiftee Remix)
“My new remix for Rome-based Deepsession.  Punch a baby in the face music.” 
(Note: Shiftee does not endorse punching babies in the face.  The previous joke was for entertainment purposes only. Shiftee loves babies.)

On with the show…

Shiftee, two times DMC World Champion with the 2007 Battle For Supremacy and 2009 DMC World Champion. You bought your first set of decks and mixer with the money raised at your Bar Mitzvah – what did your parents think about that purchase?

“I think they probably thought it was a phase.  They were wrong.”

Why was Hip Hop your chosen musical taste – which artists were you listening to growing up as a kid?

“I was just fascinated by the music and the attitude of Hip Hop.  I was into backpacker type stuff: Rawkus Records catalog, Cali Agents, Arsonists…” 

The best thing my parents taught me was…

“Do things because you’re interested in them.”

Were your friends at school into Hip Hop and DJing?

“My friend Mike started DJing at the same time as me.  We would spend hours arguing over whether the other one was in fact doing a flare.”

Who over the years have been the Turntablists you have looked up to?

“Roc Raida & The X-Men, QBert & The Skratch Piklz, P-Trix, Kentaro, The Allies.  Craze and A-Trak are probably my favorites pound for pound.  Also my own crew the Lo-Livez – Precision, Cutfucious, Boogie Blind, Tragik…” 

You went to study Mathematics at Harvard – what was that like? Did everyone want you to DJ at their party? Do you still keep in touch with any of your friends from there?

“Mathematics at Harvard was hardcore.  I usually pulled at least 2 all-nighters a week to finish all my problem sets.  It felt like we were on some secret spy mission to make sense of this stuff that really made no sense. I DJ’d a tonne of parties on campus.  Everything from black tie formals to foam parties to BGLTSA parties to South Asian Mens Collective parties to underground hip hop shows. I still see my room mates and college buddies all the time since most of my closest friends live in or around NYC.”

Where is your favourite place to hang out in New York?

“Dubspot DJ/Production School.  Not only a place to learn, a place to hang!”

What are the finest 10 Hip Hop tunes ever made?

“This question is cruel.  Too many to name and decipher.  This could be a 200 page book. Pass!”

Greatest ever Hip Hop Album ever made?

“I don’t know!  Some of my favorites are Illmatic, Mos Def & Talib Kweli, Black Star, Eminem’s ‘Marshall Mathers’ LP, ‘Paid In Full’ and The Roots’ albums.”

Nobody knows this, but I am really good at…

“Square Dancing.  I won my summer camp’s Square Dancing competition for many years. Seriously.”

What has been your best gig of 2011?

“EDC Vegas was crazy.  The best gig doesn’t always mean the most people though.  I have the most fun when the people there are just into what I’m doing.  Other Highlights: Steez’s DC Mega, DGAF in Providence, Love Eternal 3 in Pittsburgh, and Sabotage in Bergamo, Italy.”

What has been the most expensive thing you’ve ever bought?

“My laptop, I got all the bells and whistles.  Solid state harddrive, son!”

What do you think of the current state of Hip Hop, what new/old artists are doing it for you?

“I think Hip Hop is on the upswing overall compared to recent years, though still not touching the mid-late 90s.  Honestly my ear has turned much more to electronic music, so I’m not quite up on underground Hip Hop music. New Hop Hop I like: Kanye, The Cool Kids, Odd Future, Spoek Mathambo, my homie Illspokinn, DaQuan.  The whole Low End Theory, Brainfeeder, Alpha Pup movement is awesome and at least largely Hip Hop in spirit.  I’m also really into Grind Time rappers and their battles. Some of my favorites are Illmaculate, Soul Khan, Dumbfoundead, Nocando, Ness Lee, Iron Solomon, and Hollow Da Don.”

For all of the thousands of aspiring young DJs out there about to enter a DMC competition for the first time – what advice on how to put a set together can you give them?
“Obviously practice like hell. Practice more than you think is necessary. Otherwise, especially for your first battle, make sure you can do everything in your set pretty easily.  There’s a big difference between the bedroom and the stage.  If you were struggling for something in practice, you definitely aren’t going to be able to do in front of a bunch of judgmental scratch fanatics.  Also smile for the people and act like you’re having fun up there!” 

Weirdest thing that has ever happened to you in a club?

“I was playing an outdoor festival and giant bugs were flocking to my laptop and records.”

Who is the most famous person on your mobile phone?

“Afrika Bambaataa.”

This year has seen DMC launch the Online Mixing Championships – what are your thoughts on this new competition?
“I think it’s awesome!  The competition launches DMC into the digital age not only through its form (online videos) but in the technology competitors are allowed to use.  Any equipment goes, you just have to be dope!”

How has New York changed over the years?

“Ha ha ha, geez louise, what am I sociologist?  I mean, it seems way more gentrified and chain-y.  For example, my favorite shop in NYC – Fat Beats – has since closed down, but there’s a Starbucks