DJ Shadow and The Avalanches / Thoughts On Hip-Hop and Musical Growth

DJ SHADOW record stacks2

I’m a bad. ass. motherfuckin dee jay / this is why I walk and talk this way

There comes a point in certain young lives when music evolves from a form of social currency to something to be enjoyed on a deeper personal level. It’s a headlong dive into a world most people use as wallpaper, geeking out over the sounds, hardware, history, and meaning of it all.

I was always rather independent in my music choices, but growing up in the midwest before broadband internet meant that my horizons were limited. The advent of file sharing programs like Morpheus, Kazaa, and Soulseek was a supernova moment for teenagers like me, desperately seeking new sounds. On the rare midnight-show occasion when something on the radio piqued my interest, I’d get on the computer to look them up, downloading a song or two in 30 minutes.

Before the internet, certain genres never had a chance to touch my ears. Once I’d taken the plunge, I started devouring every fresh thing I could. One was my favorite radio discovery ever, an album I’ve called my “desert island” record. It harkened back to something I’d heard in my youngest days, The Beastie Boys sampling landmark Paul’s Boutique. It boldly recycled sounds and tropes from across the musical spectrum into something vibrant and dangerous. It was entirely new to me.

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