Category: Got Issues?

Basically my space for long winded rants… be warned before reading, I speak my mind lol

What’s next for DJ’s?

So with Naam 2015 finishing up recently, DJs are starting to decide what new goodies they might set their eyes on for their next purchase while others are considering how some of the announcements will affect them but honestly, while there was some key announcements and reveals at this years Naam, overall there was nothing really and truely ground breaking, just a lot of re-inventing of current technology and minor improvements. There is no new feature to revolutionise the way DJs operate, and honestly there hasnt been one for awhile, however with a lot of the new technology that is on the horizon, I think we will see the next revolution happen in the next few years. So this is my thoughts/predictions for what we might see, but before I go into those, lets take a look at the previous big moments in Music history to give us an idea of the things I’m talking about.

Firstly music is music, its something that fundamentally wont change. Music we experience primarily thru listening, thou we can ‘feel’ it and we can ‘experience’ it, these are secondary to the fact that music needs to be listened too to experience it properly (I know with deaf people its another issue, so I am keeping this general here) So while we can add other components to music like visual or social, at its core, music is something listened to, and that is not something you can change. The biggest changes in music history have really come from the different ways people listen to music

So with this in mind, lets have a look at the history of music ‘technology’

1. Music notation (the first big music revolution) – music represented in written format, allowed people to recreate tunes

music notation

2. Recorded music (the second big music revolution) – allowed people to record sound to be listened to at a later time

vinyl

3. Telephones – allowed sound to be shared across great distances

telephone

4. Radio – sound and music being shared over radio waves removing the need for having a physical copy of the music (eg a vinyl recording)

radio

5. Tape – the change from vibration based recordings to storing music infomation as magnetic infomation, reducing the size required to store a lot of sound

tape

6. The Walkman – portable music in a smaller user friendly size (sure boomboxes could also come under this category, but it was the smaller size that counts here)

walkman

7. Digital (the third big music revolution) – This changed everything, being able to store music as digital infomation rather than analogue, this was a huge stepping stone in not only the musical world but in the world in general

digital music

8. CDs – before now, music was often played especially by djs on vinyl, tapes were often over-looked as a medium for DJs because of their impracticality for live performances and music manipulation. CDs changed the way we consumed music once again. CDs allowed people to burn their own CDs, unlike the vinyl era when printing vinyl was extremely expensive, being able to burn CDs from the comfort of home changed the way we listened to music, no longer being bound to listening to a whole album, people could burn their own compliations. Also CDs not only reduced the size of recorded music but also preceded the inovations to come with CD players made for DJs allowing them to manipulate music in ways not previously possible with the pinnacle of this technology being the CDJ

cd

9. MP3 – As with CDs before paving the way for the creation of tools to be able to manipulate music live from a digital perspective, mp3 allowed music to be stored in sizes smaller than previously seen, this was important because comupters at the time were limited with disc space (both at home and online storing) and internet transfers of music was limited to slow dial up connections at expensive costs. Mp3 allowed the explosion of music sharing and also at the same time, Digital Audio Workstations (DAWs) started sprining up allowing the average person access to the tools to manipulate and produce their own music without the need for expensive studios. Mention must go to napster for starting up the music piracy era which rocked the music industry again in the way people obtain their music

mp3

10. Streaming – The change from the traditional TV and radio broadcasting of music, streaming bought the option to the digital world, allowing content to be shared in real time to people across the globe. With streaming also came the reduced sizes in media while still maintaining quality (Youtube being the big one here, but now we have multiple options for streaming)

streaming

11. DVS systems – While this is a mere combination of the technology before it, it is a combination that has opened up the DJ industry and allowed it to truely expand. From Serato to Rekordbox and many inbetween, these systems allow music to be played and manipulated using a laptop controlled by different control surfaces or the removal of a computer completely and only needing a hard drive has changed the way DJs work and think. With thousands of songs now being able to be stored on a device no bigger than an eraser, music is more accessible than ever before. Also DVS systems have allowed for portable DJ options from small midi controllers to mobile/tablet DJ options being more than  just viable

serato

And thus we come to point where we currently are in the DJ world, while we have come a long way, the next step I think is where things really get interesting, so lets take a look at what could be on the horizon…

Google glass & Microsofts holo lens

google glass

While the technology is still bulky, once it slims down, I can see this as being a viable interface for DJs, imagine having waveforms in your heads up display, or track search using a holo representation of your record box, browsing songs with a swipe of a finger and loading them the same way. We have already seen some touch screen implementation of DJ technology, but it still doesnt quite replace the need to be able to feel what you are doing, however the extra add on esp with holo technology could lead to some really exciting creations and inovations. Or the reverse could also happen, we already have silent discos, imagine the crowd also having holo lens and recreating the whole club environment and expeirence, even allowing the dj to have direct feed back with the crowd via things like holo statuses above peoples heads (just like nightclub city) or you could totally redecorate the club environment digitally (just like in psycho pass)

holo lens

Holograms – Singers back from the dead or performing at mulitple locations simultaneously

hologram

So we already had holo pac, how about creating a dj show filled with holographic singers and performers controlled by the dj, the concept isnt as far off as the technology develops further. Or even have a DJ streamed at multiple locations via hologram

Virtual Reality – How about a virtual club

virtual reality

So we already know virtual reality is charging foward and is set to be the next big evoulton in technology, this could lead to virtual clubs, we already have things like livestreaming creating a kind of virtual club feel, virtual hangouts and livestream chat parties etc, the next step would of course be people being able to virtually go to a concert or club and share in the experience.

As far as virtual reality goes, I still think the big eventual step will be full imersion VR (ala Sword Art or Matrix) which would not only change the club world but also the world as we know it. When technology reaches this state thou, things will be vastly different than they are now. But at the current state, being able to wear something like Oculus rift and have yourself emerged inside a club isn’t as unbelievable as it once was

Voice commands vs gesture controls

kinect

While voice command software is nothing new, it hasnt taken off as much as people would hope, I think the reason for that is there is  a lot of people out there who dont feel comfortable using thier voice, plain and simple, its a common personality trait, also using voice control in the DJ world, well yeah, its just totally impractical given the loud environment we work in, however, gesture control is a totally different story esp given that big name DJs use gestures all the time to control the crowd. While touch screens are flaunted in clubs, they are merely the begining of the posibillities, things like the Nod – buetooth gesture control ring or Mota Smart Ring can be used to track your gestures (or even technology like Xbox Kinect to track the whole area behind the DJ booth), imagine linking the motion of raising your arms to an audio effect, while seemingly simple, this is something that hasnt really been explored mostly because of the lag and unpredictable nature of wireless connections esp in a live performance environment, however, as wirless techonlogy becomes more stable and reliable, things like gesture control can become much more practical, imagine standing back from the DJ Booth or doing a Steve Aoki in front of the corwd and using a ring or watch to trigger the effect and controlling it using your hands away from the booth. It can make for some great crowd interactions and show possibilities. While the technology is there, the reliablitly is yet to catch up.

Carrying on with the wireless connection advancements that are surely to happen and once they do make it more stable, it also opens up the use of things like Ownphones/Earin – new earphone designs that can be worn as in ears and are totally wireless. Removing the need for cables is a big thing in the DJ world because we are often surrounded by the mess of cables everywhere connecting all the various parts and pieces, a switch into wireless connectivity is a wish of many DJs to help clean up the booths

There will of course be many other advances to come out that will make DJs lives easier, things from smart luggage to smaller PCs, use of mobile systems to fully replace the need for a PC, touch screens, smarter controls, better sound quality, increased storage space etc. While all these advancements will be good for the DJ world, they are hardly revolutionary, merely things to make life easier. I truely believe the next big revolution that will hit the DJn world is virtual reality with the precursors to it being holographic and heads up display technology paving the way. Thoughts?

Hip Hop needs to look in the mirror

Ok real talk time, bare with me while I try and make this form some kind of sense

longpost

Mainstream Hip hop is in a sad state of affairs even thou it is probably more popular than ever. I’m going to try and touch on some of the recent issues I’ve see from my own point of view as a Hip Hop lover and as a DJ…

So, this whole Iggy Azalea thing, it has been a hot topic recently and honestly the stupid bitch just keeps digging the whole deeper and pissing more people off. However that being said, she is hardly to blame for doing what she is doing, appropriation and mis-representation of hip hop? Yeah that shit has been happening for a long ass time now, she just happens to be an easy target being a white girl from Aussie and getting accolades at the awards this year, thou we all know those are a total crock of shit anyways so the question really is, why the hell should we care? Why has she become the scape goat? Q-tips history lesson was perfect and on point, however I don’t think that needs to be directly solely at Iggy, and I think the reason he shared it on twitter is because he probably feels the same way, the majority of ‘hip hop’ artists these days need to have a dam good look in the mirror themselves and take Tips words to their own hearts and see just how badly they are representing hip hop culture and representing themselves as African Americans. As Tip said, hip hop has always been political, but not only that, it has been a voice for those who face a system of injustice, repression, isolation etc, it has been a voice for those who struggle to make their voice be heard but somewhere along the way, it lost its political motivation and prowess, it has lost its meaning and became about the money and commercialism, basically, sex, drugs, thug life and violence sells and we have seen almost zero songs making the mainstream that have any real substance (sure there is the occasional track, but they are few and far between)

So let’s first look at women in Hip Hop, who do we have these days? Off the top of my head I can only think of Nicki Minaj and Iggy who are making any lasting impression for women in Hip Hop these days. The problem I have with them is they are often using nothing but their sex appeal to try and sell music (and they all sound like Left Eye) a far cry from back in the day when you had strong female artists like Queen Latifah and Lauren Hill, who stood up for women’s rights and were strong role models for young women and who didn’t use sex or whacky persona’s or fashion images to sell their music (however this is something that has always seemed to have plagued women in Hip Hop and women in general in the music industry) But strong role models this day and age have been sadly lost, and not just with women but also with men as well. These girls do have talent and have some good rhymes (thou I wonder how much of it is ghost written…) but from a mainstream perspective, well yeah, Big Booty, Anaconda? Not much thought put in there, except maybe trying to appeal to the soft core porno scene.

It’s not just how they ‘expose’ and portray themselves but it’s also how they carry themselves and articulate themselves, this is something that is also clearly evident when comparing interviews between artists of the 80’s and 90’s to todays artists, the older artists weren’t as well educated, but they spoke with knowledge and spoke elegantly yet still with that hip hop ‘accent’ you only need to listen to an interview from Lil Wayne or read a Lupe rant to go wtf did he just say, even thou they both are smart, they come across as uneducated and raw and just stupid. As opposed to someone like Krs or Tip (thou J Cole has been dropping some good knowledge and well-articulated to as well as a few others, Macklemore was surprisingly strong too, there are always exceptions) But as for the mainstay artists today, every time I hear them open their mouths, I cringe. But you might ask why this should matter? It does because everyone else wants to copy them, you hear the kind of language influential people say, and you want to use it yourself. When you listen and look at conversations these days by people who are fans of popular hip hop, their conversations are messed up gibberish and it’s reflected by the popular artists who are speaking this rubbish, as opposed to the old skool cats who listened to people who actually spoke well. You only need to look thru social media sites and posts to see people talk almost totally incoherent at times, and it’s even worse when you hear them speak in person

But the trend these days even more so than when hip hop first came out is this invention of new terms and words, coining a new and popular phrase seems almost more important than making a good song. We know hip hop has always had that element about it and once popular phrases and words were ‘coined’ they spread like wildfire and became synonymous with hip hop culture, which leads me into my next point…

The N bomb, and the Black community getting pissed off at other people using it. Now we all know the historical significance the word has, it really is just a dark and horrible word, my problem is, we know how bad the word is, so why are black artists turning it into nothing more than a common catch phrase? So far as to even naming songs with the word in it. Black people (rightly so) get angry when other people use it, however, why aren’t they also angry at themselves for making this word so popular? Sure they have taken the word back and tried to own it, by they have taken that even further and too far. I mean come on, Jay and Kanye – N*****s in Paris?? Now there is a difference when the word was used in storytelling and politically motivated rap, but just talking about spending $$ and shit in a song is clearly just looking for commercial gain and thus using that word in the same fashion. Obviously if a couple of white/brown/asian rappers named a song with that in it, they would be crucified, but its ok for Black rappers to use it for nothing more than commercial gain and then get pissed when people sing along to the song? (aka My N****)

Artists these days have to know that they are representing not only their culture and race but are also responsible for teaching that to other people since for a lot of places around the world, the only exposure they have to that culture is thru what is popular. For hip hop that is obviously in the music and what makes the top 40. Asia is a perfect example here, most countries in Asia have a very limited knowledge of the English language, so their understanding of Hip Hop lyrics is going to be at best, limited and more often than not, totally mis-interpreted. They will also have limited to zero exposure to actual people from different countries and even more limited to black people except those they see on TV… and we already see how the black man or women is portrayed on TV, either by violence in the news or it’s in these hip hop videos. The second thing is, they are going to take words they think are cool and use them, they are going to take catch phrases and lines and use them, and of course the N word is going to be one of them, just like all the bad words, people know they are bad words, but because they are in another language, its ok to them, they don’t know the true meaning behind it, how could they when its used in such a way to be cool, of course they are not going to know that the real meanings of these words have far deeper connotations than those portrayed in the videos and pop culture.

A personal example of this: A friend of mine used it in a conversation, he is Korean, he loves hip hop music but he speaks limited English, enough to converse at a basic level, I asked him if he knew about that word, he said no, I told him a bit about it and why it was a bad word, he was of course shocked to know this, but this case, he is just like millions of other fans out there, hip hop has been dumbed down to more often that not, nothing more than one liners, catch phrases and hooks to reach a worldwide audience and to appeal to the masses but with this dumbing down, also removes the need for people to actually understand the music and the message

This dumbing down of hip hop into nothing more than commercial gain is nothing new to us, it has been happening for a long time, and while the use of the N word is nothing new, even as a title still nothing is changing because $$ talks and people are buying the masses friendly rubbish that we are constantly hearing

This to me really became apparent and was a noticeable turning point when Souljah Boy released his one hit wonder, but you have to give the guy credit, he used the formula and made it work to huge success (just a shame he couldn’t follow it up… like most one hit wonders these days) But the precedent he set has been ruling hip hop these days as most people have followed the same formula. More and more artists are staying away from releasing material of any substance and just going for the radio/club friendly junk that sells, and honestly why not? Money talks, not respect. But therein lays the problem, as is said in many lyrics, it’s all about the money. Which is sad, last year you had Kendrik Lamar basically call everyone out on that control verse, everyone thought it would start a revolution in hip hop, I knew it wouldn’t, it was over almost as fast as it began, a handful of artists tried to release their come backs but it just never gained any traction, mainstream young hip hop artists just ignored it, the old heads did to because it wasn’t aimed at them and they are mostly out of the game now. And even if they didn’t jump on that, with all the negativity that has been going on in the news esp with violence by cops on black people, where is the hip hop communities voice? Why aren’t they speaking out? The older heads spoke out in their time, it’s time for this generation of artists to make their voices heard, they have a huge influence around the world yet they are silent.

And thus we come full circle, It’s this younger generation that needs to step up, the guidance is there if they ask for it I am sure, but they don’t, I am sure Tip would love to have sat down and have a conversation with Iggy, but instead she goes back and insults him, and she isn’t the only one to do this, other artists have also hit out at those trying to support them. Its guys like him who have done this before who people should be looking up to and striving to be like, sure be your own person, but there is a difference between that and what it is people are doing today. Like it or not, they are role models that people look too, their influence is felt all over the world yet very few make good positive use of that influence and it needs to change.

Obviously there is more to these issues and they are more complex than what I have written here, also the music/record companies have a lot to answer for as well, but trying to keep this relatively short and hopefully either spark discussion or at the least spread some awareness

Add on comments

I think Hip Hop’s balance is just way off. We look back to the days when there were an equal or higher number of rappers who did it because it was something they loved and rappers who did it strictly for the money. Nowadays, I feel more people write to get rich and left the artistry behind. If my singular goal is to make all the money I can, why would I care about lyrics and musicality when the people downloading my music just want to hear ratchet music?
Jack Zilla

This is one of the best reads that I have read in a long time I have had simular feelings on all of this. Another great example of how hip-hop culture has changed is comparing two songs from two different decades on the same subject (cocain). Look at the 1983 hit song White Lines by Grandmaster Melle Mel. That track talks about how cocain destroys people’s lives. Now in 2014 we have this terrible song, that God knows why made the Billboard charts, by O.T. Genesis called CoCo talking about how much he loves cocain and the money he makes by selling it to his comunity.
Ian (Idub) Curtis

Some Sad Truths

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So once again its that time of year when documentaries run wild with stories and theories etc surrounding those infamous moments that shocked the western world and has forever changed the world as we know it. While this might sound just as extreme as some of the nonsense that has said to have come of this, it is a sad truth no matter how big or small its effect has been on each individual person that things are indeed different from what they were before

But here is the thing, no matter what your view is on what really happened that day, and as you can read from the photo above, there is still so many questions left un answered, it still happened, and as a result, lives were lost, family members and friends going about their day to day lives, the people flying in those planes, and the rescue workers with no thought of self preservation, only of that to help others, these were lives that were lost during such a tragic event, that is the sad truth no matter what conspiracy theory you believe

Other sad truths is that from such a tragic event, comes great stories of survival and of selfless acts. Some of these stories are truly amazing and its a sad fact that only stories like these can come from something so horrible. 

Another sad truth is that racial profiling and stereotyping has escalated to such a level that hate crimes and discrimination is almost a natural way of life

Air travel will never be the same again as well as privacy laws and the term innocent until proven guilty unless your a suspected terrorist 

While im just writing these off the top of my head and is merely just a post of thought on the matter. But one of the things that I have been wondering about lately is this, America is adamant that this was an attack on their country and on their freedom and on everyone else’s freedom as well and by this measure are using this as their scape goat excuse to flex their military might around the world in the guise of protecting freedom. Here is my question, freedom from what? What exactly were these people attacking? (dismissing conspiracy theories here for a moment) 

Firstly the attacked the World Trade Centre, is this not the supposed centre for the world markets, how is attacking this building an attack on peoples every day freedom? Could it not be an attack on the cooperate world? An attack on the people that basically run the world and dictate terms, that hold the average person in debt for their entire lives, isnt it more of an attack on our oppressors rather than an attack on our freedom? 

Secondly the attack on the pentagon, basically command and control centre for american troops and finally if it was going to hit there, the last plane was maybe destined for the white house, the symbol of americans government, this doesn’t seem to be an attack on the people but maybe rather an attack on American influence overseas (aka deployed troops) and foreign policy (aka the white house)?

You know they often call these people terrorists but most of the time all they are really doing is fighting for what they believe in or fighting for their own freedom, the difference between what they are doing and what the western world often does, if you look closely at it, is often not much at all.

As I said these are mainly questions and different lines of thought, not opinions or facts. Thoughts that are def up for debate or to lead to other lines of thinking. Thats the true freedom we enjoy in this world, the freedom to think what we want and how we want, most other freedoms are just an illusion.