Took me a night to gather my thoughts on this, but I have a few things to share after watching DJ Craze's Slave Routine video that the general DJ community might not even agree on me on. Before I begin, let's get this out of the way, I totally love this routine. I think it's awesome he's using advances in software to sprinkle new techniques that are impossible to do on vinyl alone. The auto-transformer is one thing that most DJs would consider cheating until someone they look up to starts using it. I also get the humor, taking little pokes at Pauly D, Paris, and Aoki's cake antics.
So what I really have a little conflict with is the fact that Craze is using a subjective idea like "#realdjing" to further segregate the creative differences between the different "kinds" of DJs. The way I look at it is just because someone is great at shredding on an electric guitar, it does not make them superior to a song writer playing a acoustic. However in teh DJ world, there is this mentality amongst turntablists that they are the superior ones over the producers who make music, and play music in their sets.
On the surface this video is promoting the idea about being a leader, but I don't think it's teaching it's viewers how to think like one. Instead, it seems to me it has a subliminal message that says, "instead of following them, follow me." While Craze himself is clearly showing creativity and innovation as he always has, the average aspiring turntablist is not getting the encouragement to explore their creativity, rather to adapt in the already growing mentality amongst the general DJs of "us versus them".
Now I am not saying Craze did this intentionally, but for me, the fact that I view this as an art form, I reserve my judgements to the different variations within this art form. We laugh and shake our heads when Aoki throws a cake, but we cheer when our favorite rockstar throws his guitar into the air. I might not agree with the cake, but when did #realdjing mean you had to stop having fun with your crowd? In fact when exactly did it become wrong to have fun with people who are there to have fun? When did #realdjing mean you had to follow a set of rules accepted by other "real DJs"? When did the art form become conformity akin to religious fundamentalism?
What I am getting at is the criticism against the producer/DJs by the turntablists is a real apples and oranges scenario. They're fundamentally two different things. The turntablists (the art form of maniuplating pre recorded sounds musically) are upset because the producers (the guys who make music and use DJing as an outlet to play what they made), are getting the attention. That "us versus them" mentality is what I believe slows down and holds back the turntablists from progressing in relating their art form to people who are not DJs. It seems like that community is upset at right that every human being has, and that is the right to choose what they want to like. Rather than continuing this "DJ segregation", why not find ways to work together or even borrow effective ideas from each others art form to create something new and fresh?
And who exactly is leading the way to working together? Let's not get the facts twisted. While Craze pokes fun at Guetta and Aoki; Craze himself, along with his buddy A-Trak, are both music festival performing DJs as well. In fact, Hip Hop founder, Grand Master Flash, has been making appearances in European EDM festivals as well. The three of them all play a little bit of house and big room with their own way of delivering it. Sure, they're probably the few guys still using 1200s, but what I'm getting at is; the turntablist community seems to adapt the attitude of, "we are too good to be involved with that scene". On one hand, they believe people aren't educated enough about the art form and don't notice them. On the other hand, they feel too good to do what it takes to showcase what they can do in front of an already large and growing audience. Sure you have to deal with music industry politics, but that's reality for you outside the DJ battle world.
I just believe at the end of the day, DJs just need to stop getting worked up about other DJs are doing and what other DJs think about them. How can you truly create something if you are inhibiting yourself with the thoughts and opinions of other DJs? And yes I agree with the surface message about being a leader, and it's in my hope that more individuals adapt that mentality; as opposed to doing things to impress their OG mentors.
Much respect to DJ Craze for this awesome video.