By Harold Kapindu
MCing and Dee Jaying are some of the elements of Hip Hop culture. Before Hip Hop was commercialized, before the live bands, performances were done by a rapper and a DJ using a turntable, a MIC and speakers. The chemistry between a rapper and a DJ has always been inseparable. At times, if the DJ is not producing he would be in the studio as an overseer to make sure that the sound is perfect.
Unlike other genres, in Hip Hop it is advisable that a rapper should have a personal DJ hence we see American rappers having a DJ even if they are playing with a band. This trend has since extended to other genres like House and Pop music.
The reason is, a rapper and a DJ form a team. They know each other’s antics so that when something goes wrong during a performance they quickly cover each other in a way that the crowd can’t notice.
Most of the times, DJs memorise the lyrics and act as hype men too. Duos like Pete Rock and CL Smooth, Gangstarr (Guru and DJ Premier), Will Smith and DJ Jazzy Jeff are perfect examples of good chemistry between a rapper and DJ. Locally, we had Kenny Klips and Young K as well as Dominant One and Third Eye. These were perfect teams that Malawi has ever produced.
Many have argued that for versatility’s sake, rappers should not stick to one DJ. Many believe working with different DJs give a chance to explore different sounds whereby expanding the fan base. This works for other artists but for others it doesn’t. We have seen artists trying different sounds and end up sounding wack and risking careers.
However, trying different sounds isn’t bad but make sure you have a personal producer or DJ who also act as a sound executive producer to advise on the direction you are taking. After all, music is dynamic hence one simply can’t stick to one sound.
Be it on stage backing an artist, in the club or radio entertaining the audience, never underestimate the role of a DJ; a DJ is a very important component in music. A DJ produces, manages, entertains and acts as a sound engineer.