Forever: A Night For Grand Master Roc Raida with A-Trak and DJ Premier

Forever: A Night For Grand Master Roc Raida with A-Trak and DJ Premier

DJ Stretch Armstrong, X-Ecutioners

Tuesday, October 25th, 2011

Doors: 6:00 pm / Show: 7:00 pm

Tickets at the Door

This event is 21 and over

All proceeds go to the family of Roc Raida.

$25 at the door, cash only

Alain Macklovitch was 13 when he scratched his first record. The year was 1995, the turntable was his father's, and the mixer… well, he didn't have a mixer yet. But that problem was remedied soon enough, when he used his freshly earned Bar Mitzvah money to buy himself a used Technics 1200 turntable and, you guessed it, a mixer. In the months that followed, while the other kids were busy playing sports and watching Full House, he spent most of his after-school time locked up in his basement, practicing, listening to Pete Rock, DJ Premier and Jazzy Jeff records, studying videotapes and showing his new scratches to his big brother Dave.

Two years later, with nary an armpit hair in sight, the Montreal native was crowned DMC World Champion and invited to be an honorary member of the Invisibl Skratch Piklz, the celebrated Bay Area crew led by DJ Q-Bert and Mixmaster Mike. When that crew disbanded, he and Miami's DJ Craze joined forces as the front men of a new collective, the Allies. In the years that followed, A-Trak went on to win the 1999 & 2000 ITF World Championships, the 1999 Vestax World Extravaganza and the 2000 DMC Team Championships (with Craze). On top of being the youngest world champion, this made him the first DJ ever to win all three major titles (DMC, ITF and Vestax) and the first DJ to win five world championships. At the age of 18, Young Trizzle decided it was time to retire from battling.

In the turntablist scene, A-Trak established himself as "the DJ's DJ", building groundbreaking routines that managed to push the envelope technically while remaining appealing to the untrained ear. He developed a revolutionary notation system, which allowed him to write scores of scratch patterns and solos. And his DJ battle records quickly became cult favorites, used and abused in competitions around the globe. Meanwhile, with his broski Dave 1 (now of Chromeo fame), he formed the indie hip hop label Audio Research, which built a steady reputation for putting out critically acclaimed vinyl releases. A-Trak has also collaborated with Peanut Butter Wolf's Stones Throw imprint, producing a 7-inch which was later included on the Jukebox 45s compilation.

From 1998 on, he toured constantly across the world, criss-crossing North America and Europe repeatedly, hitting Japan five times and Australia every summer. He has performed in such far reaches as mainland China, Iceland, South Africa and Hawaii. To this day, you can catch him wowing audiences at Coachella, the Red Bull Music Academy, Audiotistic or the Montreal Jazz Fest one day, and then tearing up the grimiest hip hop club the next.

A-Trak's live sets bridge the gap between boundary-pushing turntablism and debauched party-rocking. He hits you with jaw-dropping DJ routines, using a sampler and effect pedals for live production. But at the same time, he keeps people cutting up the rug with eclectic sets of bootleg-heavy hip hop, crunk, booty and classic electro, dancehall, 80's funk and anything in between. Plus he tops it all off with his signature comedic comments on the mic.

In the summer of 2004, Kanye West caught A-Trak performing at a record store in London and quickly invited him to become his DJ. They embarked on a 40-city North American tour, performing in front of sold-out 20,000 seat stadiums for two months, and then hit Europe and Japan. When Kanye came home to hit the lab, he reached out to Trizzy for some cuts on Common's critically praised album Be as well as his sophomore opus Late Registration. They are currently back on the road promoting this instant classic.

All of A-Trak's worldwide advenctures have been captured on video and are compiled on his DVD entitled Sunglasses Is A Must, to be released in early 2006. He is also in the midst of recording his first album, which will showcase his distinctive style of scratch-based and sample-heavy production as well as cameos from some of his favorite emcees, from the Dipset to MF Doom. A-Trak is one of the only DJs to truly reconcile technical experimentation with cold getting dumb on the dancefloor. And by all accounts, the best has yet to come.
DJ Premier
DJ Premier
For twenty-five years, the music of DJ Premier has been the cornerstone of hip-hop’s sound. From The Notorious B.I.G. to Christina Aguilera, “PREEMO”—as he’s affectionately known—is the conduit for artists in all genres to attach their lyrics to the complex rhythm of the streets. Throughout it all, Premier and late partner Guru orchestrated a unique sound and wise message in the gold-selling duo Gang Starr that remains a hallmark of positive, advanced music. The three-time Grammy Award winner pushes ahead with an active label, a legendary studio, and his hands scratching away at hip-hop’s next wave of greatness.

Born and raised outside of Houston, Texas, Chris Martin’s infatuation with music was encouraged within his family. Whether it was the Earth, Wind & Fire singles on the radio or his sister’s stash of The Eagles vinyl, the young audiophile studied the arrangements of all the music he encountered. A lover of percussion and crowd-moving tracks, it was Whodini’s “Five Minutes Of Funk” that magnetized the teenager to the sound of New York City hip-hop. Traveling to visit relatives in Brooklyn throughout his adolescence, Preemo amassed the records releasing in Rap’s earliest years, and chased his passion through managing a record store and deejaying under the moniker Waxmaster C. After studying Computer Science at Prairie View A&M, the emerging DJ headed for New York City, to be closer to those making the music he could not stop playing.

As fate would have it, Premier would make history with another transplant to the five boroughs. A Boston, Massachusetts hip-hop outfit called Gang Starr had released a handful of 12” singles in the late ‘80s. Led by the raspy-voiced Keith “Guru” Elam, the group, which also featured local DJ Mike Dee, Damo D-Ski and Big Shug, linked with famed Flavor Unit producer 45 King to provide the beats in the earliest days. When Guru relocated to Brooklyn to pursue music, his team opted to remain in Boston. It was at this pivotal time, the bedroom producer still known as Waxmaster C would send Gang Starr some of his beats on a cassette tape. Premier and Guru would bond immediately. The opening cut from 1989’s No More Mr. Nice Guy celebrated the revamped Gang Starr lineup with “Premier & The Guru.” Throughout the next 15 years, the two out of town kids would embrace New York City as their own, and serenade her with a gritty soundtrack.

Released on the storied Wild Pitch Records imprint, No More Mr. Nice Guy ushered in changing styles in hip-hop. Breakthrough single “Words I Manifest (Remix)” integrated the music of Jazz luminary Charlie Parker alongside the unmistakable James Brown. Guru’s verbal essays on history, pride, and knowledge of self married beautifully to Premier’s limitless sample sources and stellar drum programming.

Between Gang Starr albums, Preemo’s sound was soon in growing demand. While honing his craft, Premier assisted label-mates Lord Finesse & DJ Mike Smooth on 1990’s Funky Technician, in addition to working on Spike Lee’s Mo’ Better Blues soundtrack. By 1991, with Gang Starr’s sophomore Step Into The Arena, the group began a four-album run as revered as any artist or group catalog in hip-hop. Cautionary single “Just To Get A Rep” became the duo’s first Top 5 single, and would later serve as a soundbed in multi-national advertising campaigns.

Quickly after Gang Starr’s first foray into the Top 200 albums charts, the group promptly returned in 1992 with Daily Operation. Now signed to Rock imprint Chrysalis/EMI Records, the duo’s trunk-rattling single “Take It Personal” went to #1. The song was an underdog’s anthem, applicable to relationships of all kinds, and helped cement Guru and DJ Premier as enduring Rap stars. The tight-knit group worked together and lived together, sharing their familial bond with a litany of their hip-hop peers. The third album also marked the arrival of the Gang Starr Foundation, a clique that would include original group member Big Shug, as well as Jeru The Damaja, plus Group Home’s Lil Dap and Melachi The Nutcracker.

Between 1992 and 1993, DJ Premier was recruited to produce for an array of artists outside of the group. While helping KRS-One carve solo success with Return Of The Boom-Bap, Preemo worked with Neneh Cherry, Soul II Soul, Heavy D & The Boyz, as well as emerging talents Das EFX and Mobb Deep. Hard drums, crisp scratches and mosaic arrangements attracted artists of all kinds to the “Works Of Mart” his production company.

In one of hip-hop’s most celebrated years, Gang Starr greatly contributed to the legacy with 1994’s Hard To Earn. The Top 25 LP incorporated the booming bass and tight routines of Rap’s origins with far-reaching samples, innovative flows, and virgin subject matter. Turning 20 years old in 2014, the album remains a pillar of the New York street Rap movement that permeated years to follow. This pivotal year for Preemo also found the active DJ at the helm of classic debut albums, Notorious B.I.G’s Ready To Die and Nas’s Illmatic. The esteemed creator was able to build unique chemistry with each artist he worked with, whether the boisterous Biggie or introspective Nas, and a fast rising rapper named Jay-Z.

In the mid-1990s, most classic hip-hop albums were incomplete until stopping through Preemo’s 37th Street studio at D&D Studios’ B-Room. Sharing the facility with Da Beatminerz, Diggin’ In The Crates producer Showbiz, Funkmaster Flex and DJ Tony Touch, Premier plugged away through the nights on would-be street anthems like Jeru’s “Come Clean,” Jay-Z’s “A Million And One Questions,” and Mos Def’s “Mathematics.” Outside of Rap, Preemo quietly racked cross-over hits for the likes of D’Angelo, Limp Bizkit and Macy Gray.

Following a four-year hiatus, Gang Starr reached a new plateau with their fifth album, Moment Of Truth. After a decade in waiting, the duo secured a gold plaque for the critically acclaimed 1998 album featuring a revamped Premier sound. With extensive cut-and-paste scratch choruses, Premier spoke with his hands, as Guru mourned hip-hop’s fallen soldiers, stressed work ethic, and blitzed the notion that underground and commercial were mutually exclusive. The effort was promptly followed by Full Clip: A Decade Of Gang Starr, Gang Starr’s first of two best of compilations, which included new music, garnering 3 more singles and a second gold plaque.

As a decorated veteran, DJ Premier’s musical output only increased by the 2000’s. The producer remained active with leading lyricists such as Jay-Z, Nas, and Jadakiss, in addition to a growing discography with the likes of Big L, Common, and Cee-Lo Green. With platinum and gold plaques lining his studio hallway, Premier remained devoted to the underground sound, working with would-be cult acts such as Non-Phixion and Royce Da 5’9, as well as fellow ‘80s alumni Just-Ice, Bumpy Knuckles, and Kool G Rap. During this time Pop sensation Christina Aguilera—a longtime hip hop fan—personally sought the collaborative vision of Premier for her fifth album,Back To Basics. The 2006 multi-platinum LP yielded Christina and Chris a Grammy Award for their radio takeover, “Ain’t No Other Man.” With a sound unlike his previous, Preemo’s dynamic compositions transcended genre, and expectations.

After Gang Starr’s sixth album, The Ownerz, Premier and Guru toured the world with Common and Talib Kweli before pausing for solo endeavors. During this period, Preemo worked with the likes of Kanye West, Ludacris, and The Game, amidst his constant independent output. In 2003, after 15 years in the label system, Premier purchased D&D Studios, renaming it to HeadQcourterz, and launched Year Round Records. The imprint, managed from the legendary studio, has released instrumental catalog, and label compilations, as well as Gang Starr Foundation’s NYGz and Blaq Poet’s successful LP Tha Blaqprint.

In early 2010, the hip-hop community mourned alongside DJ Premier following the sudden, tragic death of Guru. Preemo’s Gang Starr partner died in April of that year, after a private battle with cancer. In the months that followed, the producer reunited with the Gang Starr Foundation and other past collaborators, and made music honoring Guru, as well as supporting his family and causes.

A quarter century since his debut album, one of hip-hop’s unanimously heralded “nice guys” is fierce with his craft. With his expansive listening tastes, Preemo has been a critical bridge in Rap’s generation gap. He curates and provides the yearly BET Awards Cyphers, which have included Premier supporters ranging from Eminem and Kendrick Lamar to Joey Bada$$ and A$AP Mob. In recent years, the producer was recruited by Nike to unite Rakim, KRS-One, Nas and Kanye West on a single track. As his discography confirms, no matter the region, the sound, or the era, the mixmaster has the ear and personality to blend it all together for constant artistic elevation; which is evidenced by Premier’s remix of Disclosure’s “Latch” (which is nearing 2 million plays on SoundCloud).

With ongoing contributions to others’ projects, Premier’s studio has plans on revisiting some of the most championed Works Of Mart. In addition to ongoing rumors of a potential full album with Nas, Preemo will be deeply active in upcoming projects from some of his closest associates and longtime collaborators, including Brooklyn hard rocks M.O.P., Compton O.G. MC Eiht, and an artist he worked with in her earliest days, The Lady Of Rage. Further, Premier’s work has been heard on recent projects from Joey Bada$$, Wale, & Miguel and will be heard on forthcoming projects from artists such as Ed Sheeran, Christina Aguliera, The Game etc. DJ Premier’s habit of contributing to historic projects continued with him producing a tracks (“Animals” f/ Anderson .Paak) on Dr. Dre’s landmark last album Compton: A Soundtrack By Dr. Dre, and he will serve as executive music producer for VH1’s new original hip-hop movie, The Breaks, which debuts this fall, has been touring the world with his new live band, DJ Premier & The Badder, and is currently finishing up a deluxe edition project for his collaborative group effort and self-titled debut with Royce Da 5’9” (otherwise known as PRhyme). Lastly, after three decades ofsoundtrack work, “8 Mile”, “Blade”, “White Men Can’t Jump” more marriage of Premier’s work with the silver screen is also expected

Since the moment he arrived in the music industry, DJ Premier has been in deep concentration. One of music’s most respected and most active creators has almost always chosen the recording studio over the red carpet. Unbound by genre or style, DJ Premier is a living auteur, with the whole world moving to the beat of his signature sound.
These world-renown turntablists, formerly known as the X-Men, officially became the X-Ecutioners when they made the leap from battle-DJs to recording artists in their own right. Founded in 1989 with the stated intention of dethroning the reigning battle-DJs in the local hip hop DJ scene, the prestigious establishment set to become the most dominant forces in the history of the hip hop DJ. These New York natives can count themselves among a select handful of DJs (including their west coast peers the now defunct Invisibl Skratch Piklz) who spearheaded the turntablist movement, by taking the classic hip-hop techniques of mixing and cutting into a whole new realm of musical improvisation.

In 2004 Roc Raida and Total Eclipse, welcomed the genre-elevating talents of turntablists DJ Boogie Blind (2000 Vestax World Champ) and DJ Precision (Beatdown World Champ 2002) as official members of the ever-evolving super DJ group.
Venue Information:
Brooklyn Bowl
61 Wythe Avenue
Brooklyn, NY, 11249

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