New Z-Trip (feat. Chali 2na): Something Different

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Spray-painted on sidewalk outside Amoeba; I knew I’d use this photo some day.

DJ Z-Trip, a favorite here, is the point man on the new soundtrack for the video game All-Pro Football 2K8 (Take Two/2K Sports), which comes out July 16.

Really, I couldn’t care less about the game – I’ve been sort of a Madden guy anyway – but the soundtrack has me amped: 13 original tracks, remixes and mashups, all produced by Z-Trip (formerly of this here Valley, I might add). Guests include Slug, Dead Prez, Chalia 2na and Aceyalone. And, oh, one more guest MC? Rakim for Let the Rhythm Hit ‘Em 2007.

To celebrate, Z-Trip trekking out across the States, including a stop in Phoenix on Aug. 22 at the Brickhouse with Gift of Gab and Aceyalone.

Z’s return got me thinking about a Q&A I did with him a couple years back after the release of his debut LP Shifting Gears. I asked him if he was sick of the term “mashup,” a trade he helped pioneer. He made an interesting metaphor, comparing bedroom DJs to chili in a can and turntablists to chili masters.

It’s a valid point. The advent of technology has democratized the art of DJing, which is either a blessing or a curse … or both. We go to so many “DJ nights,” where the DJs are playing CDs or playlisting from an iPod. I’m not saying this to be a snob or an elitist, but what some people are doing with the help of software on a computer, guys like Z-Trip do live, with vinyl. (Witness DJ Shadow and Cut Chemist performing a set last week using solely 45s.)

I’m hoping to catch up with Z-Trip to see if he’s embraced programs like Serato, which allows for manipulation of digital files (it’s a hell of a lot lighter than crates of records).

I guess it comes down to what your definition of a DJ is. A friend who uses Serato – quite capably, too – prefers a broad definition: anyone who keeps people dancing be it with records, CDs, iPods, whatever. And I wouldn’t disagree with that. So am I being too much of a traditionalist/elitist/snob to say bedroom DJs have watered down the idea of what turntablism is? Or are turntablists and DJs two separate groups? (You’d probably not be surprised to know I oppose the designated hitter, too.) Maybe I sound like that grumpy old man character played by Dana Carvey on SNL: “I’m old and I’m not happy. Everything today is improved and I don’t like it! In my day we didn’t have these mp3s … ” Needless to say, I’d probably struggle to beat match and chew gum at the same time if a computer were doing both for me.

Please comment away. And do so while listening to this new Z-Trip cut, which contains some impressive beat juggling near the end.

  • Z-Trip (feat. Chali 2na) | Something Different

Check out more Z-Trip downloads at his Web site.

3 thoughts on “New Z-Trip (feat. Chali 2na): Something Different”

  1. This is an interesting debate… one which I am still totally undecided on. While a certain part of me has much more respect for real turntablists and the skill and complexity that comes from the artform, if someone cooks something up on a laptop that sounds good I’m not gonna boycott it just because of technique.

    I’d love to hear what more people say about the topic.

  2. I agree with you when you say that there aren’t that many DJs that spin with vinyl. But at the same time, there ARE DJs who are doin it old school & droppin their iPods. Have you seen or heard some of the Djs that were at the Yaris VS Yaris events that went down in 4 different cities? They were some talented people. If you didn’t get the chance to see it, you should definately check out http://www.yarisversusyaris.com for some of their pictures that are up from the show! I know this because I work with them!

  3. Pingback: So Much Silence

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