We've long considered the deejay an essential part of the Hip Hop tapestry, whether he was an actual group member spinning for the MCs, actually producing the records or debuting select tracks on mixtapes and radio stations and turning otherwise unknown acts into the next big star. In recent days, the DJ has been blamed for everything from the death of Hip Hop to global warming. What gives?
A couple of months ago we asked if radio deejays were still relevant, but questioning relevancy is quite different from flat-out disses. Lil' Waynewas furious at mixtape deejays last summer when one of them supposedly leaked tracks from his now double platinum The Carter III. Jermaine Dupri would later declare the deejay dead. And Diddy recently blamed deejays for the poor state Hip Hop is in:
"People have figured out the formula when they make records for radio, and DJs ain't DJs no more," Diddy explained to MTV. "DJs don't break records no more. DJs don't play album cuts. DJs play what is going to move the crowd. DJs, they don't expose you to the newness. That was the DJs' thing. Hip Hop is in a recession also. It's not dead, it's definitely way better than where it was at, as far as with 'Ye, T.I. and with Jeezy. It's so much great stuff out there, the responsibility has to come with the DJs."
It can be argued that some of mainstream Hip Hop's current wack aesthetic can be directly attributed to him, but that's beside the point (and Doo Wop already addressed the matter). Today's deejay has it rough. While I don't feel a great deal of sympathy for the obnoxious types that shout over records and present themselves as artists (DJ Khaled, anyone?), I know that the traditional deejay (that's hired to rock crowds and spin records) is gradually being phased out by software and shiny devices. As for mixtape deejays, is there any such thing as an exclusive anymore?
What are these guys being blamed for, exactly? Not being able to get a good job? What's the point of complaining about deejays instead of working with them and taking things to the next level? They are an integral part of the culture; throwing them under the bus when many of them are responsible for the Diddys of this world being multi-billionaires is awfully counterintuitive.