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Looking for the Perfect Beat

Looking for the Perfect Beat

The Art and Culture of the DJ

"It's your soul playing with the rhythm,flying around in the beats."
-- DJ Q-Bert

They are music's vanguard. The reshape today's sounds -- house, techno, hip-hop, rock -- direct our feet on the floor, and influence the way music is represented in our culture.
"Don't look at the turntable as just this mechanism that you play records on. Apply yourself to it as if it were an instrument, and you can express yourself through the turntable."
-- Rob Swift, The X-ecutioners

From the rapid-fire editing of MTV videos, to underground parties and world-famous clubs, DJs have altered the course of music and video, moved into new media, and turned our generation on its ear -- literally.
Meet these creative artists -- many of them celebrities in their own right -- who line up the most infectious beats, mix and program them, and make us dance talk and think about music -- and the world -- in entirely different ways.
"We like to mix it all up and have a good time, a bit of a laugh."
-- Ben Dubuisson, Purple Penguin

Discover how they select their gear and choose tunes -- and pick up tips on how to mix.
Choose a format:
  • MTV Books | 
  • 256 pages | 
  • ISBN 9780671038694 | 
  • February 2000
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Read an Excerpt

Chapter 1: What is a DJ?

What is a DJ?

A fairly simple question. Not so long ago, the answer was just as succinct. A DJ -- an abbreviation for the slang term disc jockey -- was an individual who entertained an audience by playing prerecorded music. That definition, originally ascribed to practitioners on radio, and later at social functions and watering holes, still holds true.

More than half a century later, this tiny abbreviation invites countless interpretations, and they keep multiplying exponentially. DJs are celebrities, drawing crowds of dancers in the thousands, breaking world records for attendance. DJs are... see more

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