Say It Ain’t So. DJ Cash Money Is Hanging Up His Turntables (Video)
DJ Cash Money is one of Hip-Hop’s greatest innovators behind the wheels of steel. Today (November 7), after well over 30 years in the music and culture, the artist born Jerome Hewlett has announced that he has retired.
“It’s official…I’m out the game. Thank you guys for all of the support through these many years…I hope I gave you guys a lifetime of enjoyment on those turntables…I have another calling in life that I must seek and this music business has become too negative for me,” began the legend online, sharing the news on his personal and professional pages.
The Philadelphia, Pennsylvania DJ and producer helped give the city an identity in Hip-Hop, thanks to advancements in techniques, including the backspin and manipulating phrases through scratching. In 1987, Cash Money won the 1987 New Music Seminar along with a devastating winning set at the 1988 DMC World DJ Championship (posted below). A decade later, Cash would be Technics’ first inductee into the DJ Hall Of Fame. This year, X-Ecutioners co-founder Rob Swift recalled Cash’s aggressive battle style in a 2017 editorial he wrote for Ambrosia For Heads. “The first time I heard Cash Money flip the [LL Cool J] phrase ‘calling me a sucker boy you’re pushing a broom‘ was when Jeff Foss played Cash Money’s 1988 World Final DMC set over the radio,” adding that Cash, Jeff, and Ice-T/Low Profile’s DJ Aladdin were major influences.
In the footsteps of turntablism pioneers like Grandmaster Flash and Grandmixer D.ST, Cash Money carried his talents into a recording career. In 1987, he and MC Marvelous Marv signed to Sleeping Bag Records, joining EPMD, Mantronix, Nice & Smooth, and others. There, they released respected singles such as “Ugly People Be Quiet.” The track showcased the DJ and rapper’s talents side-by-side. Follow-up video single “Find An Ugly Woman” came later, showcasing Cash’s tricks and abilities in the burgeoning Rap video format. Both songs landed on ’88’s Where’s The Party At?.
Along with contemporaries such as DJ Jazzy Jeff, DJ Tat Money, Code Money, and others, Cash made Philly a breeding ground for scratch-driven DJs with booming beats. On 1999’s Sway & King Tech This Or That album, alongside breakthrough performances by Eminem, Kxng Crooked (aka Crooked I), and Pharoahe Monch, the pair (with DJ Revolution) licensed and mixed “Ugly People Be Quiet.” Other scratch routines were licensed to turntablism compilations by Om Records and others during the Y2K DJ renaissance.
In the ’90s and 2000s, Cash Money regularly performed (including at recent Roots Picnics). He released a handful of mixtapes, ranging from Hip-Hop to rare Funk 45’s. His 1996 mix Guess Who’s Coming To Dinner was recently profiled on AFH for its fiery freestyle from A Tribe Called Quest, The Roots, Bahamadia, Biz Markie, and Busta Rhymes. In 2014, Cash also joined DJ Scratch and Biz for a triple-DJ routine of LL’s “Rock The Bells.”
In his announcement, Cash Money did not reveal what his future plans include.