Along with the 2DBz’s new editorial initiative we’ve recently launched, we’re also bringing a different perspective from a legend who has been a positive contributor to the culture for nearly 21 years now. For those who may be unacquainted with the man, I’ll give a short history lesson: DJ Eclipse held down the spot as a member of, and official DJ to the Non Phixion outfit since it’s inception. On top of that, he’s a proud member of the Rock Steady Crew, a member of the Brooklyn Slumlordz (who’s crafted some of your favorite Hip-Hop party breaks) and has sat behind the boards of some really ill, and unfortunately, very slept-on 90s remixes. And it doesn’t stop there. He’s been the official DJ to 3rd Bass, has rubbed shoulders with Stretch Armstrong & Bobbito on WKCR, held down a great job at Fat Beats NYC, and currently heads The Halftime Show with DJ Skizz on 89.1 WNYU. This humble brother, originally from Rhode Island, has even sat in on the Illmatic sessions (which I just only recently discovered, furthermore showing his humility). So when it comes to Hip-Hop and it’s vulnerable culture, you need to stop what ya doing, pay attention and listen.
I was recently thinking back to when DJ Riz and I started “The Halftime Show” in ’98. I remembered the process of getting and playing records on the air. We would go out on weekly record runs to the labels to gather up all the latest releases. Sure, we were on their mailing lists, but we needed to get whatever they JUST got in that day. And of course whatever Fat Beats, Rock & Soul or Beat Street had would also be part of our selection. Probably about a record bag of vinyl we would both have every week that we would bring to the station. And then of course you would look for the exclusives. Maybe you’d have 2 or 3 joints a week to play that weren’t even on vinyl. But the vinyl was the meat of the show. And when we came back the following week we would have the same bag, but with maybe another 5 or 6 new records to add in that week. So we would play a lot of the same stuff from the week before, but mix it up with some other album cuts, b-sides and the new shit we got.
That was then. Today, since everything is digital, there is no gate keeper of medium to limit the amount of releases. The playing field has been leveled. No more studio costs, marketing, promotion, publicity or even manufacturing costs (for the most part). New artists now have the same ability to reach as many fans (if not more) then artists that came out 10 years ago. All through social networking, and all without a “record label.” But I wonder if we haven’t lost something in that transition? What happened to the mystique of an artist?!? There’s a certain road our elders traveled that earned them their spot. A spot that was held in high regard leaving the rest of us wanting to be them. A dues system that got paid in order for them to be accepted…respected. That process is gone. Behold the instant artist.
So now, when I go to my radio show I usually have anywhere from 30 to 60 new songs. Every week! And those are the playable ones. So how do I as a DJ try to help REALLY break a record by giving it multiple spins if I’m only allotted 2 hours a week? I of course want to play them all. It’s impossible. And so now we have what Masta Ace has referred to as “disposable arts.” Nothing lasts more then a couple weeks. In these days of over saturation, artists have to put out multiple releases a year just to stay relevant, but at the same time damage Hip Hop music by feeding in to what has become a bottomless pit of hunger by consumers. Our necessity for more has left us with less: less album sales, less touring and less turnouts. I say all this to say, people, make music that is timeless. Not music for this week.
So in accordance with reminiscing about the good ol’ days I give you the first ever Halftime Show with DJ Riz & myself from March 4, 1998 with our first guests Natural Elements.
The Halftime Show (3-04-98) Part 1
The Halftime Show (3-04-98) Part 2
Eclipse’s record collection…