QBert & The Invisibl Skratch Piklz Rock A Party With Breathtaking Turntablism (Video)
The title of “DJ” or disc jockey took on a whole new definition once Hip-Hop got a hold of it. While it started as a way to signify those that played and mixed records, it came to represent so much more in the 1980s and ‘90s as a part of Hip-Hop. While trick and battle DJ’ing were a bit of a novelty at first, these skills evolved into the art of turntablism.
This sub-genre’s time in the limelight didn’t seem to last long, but there was a point in the mid-1990s when everybody and their brother seemingly wanted to be a battle DJ. One of the innovative leaders of this period is DJ QBert. This Bay Area legend has always been a team player, and his Invisibl Skratch Piklz crew has included the best of the best from The Bay: Mix Master Mike, DJ Apollo, Shortcut, D-Styles, Yogafrog, and more. However, in 2000 the crew was put on hiatus indefinitely. Well, that is until 2016 when the core of I.S.P. (QBert, Shortcut & D-Styles) dropped a new album titled The 13th Floor on Alpha Pup Records. (QBert also recently reunited Dr. Octagon with Kool Keith and Dan The Automator, dropping new music to boot).
That brings us to the live Invisibl Skratch Piklz set that just dropped on Boiler Room this week. These three godfathers of turntablism got together in Oakland, California for the kind of performance that reminds us what can be done with two turntables and a mixer. This nearly hour-long routine was a reunion for I.S.P., as D-Styles now lives in L.A., Shortkut moved to Dubai, and QBert is currently in Fresno.
The excitement is thick in the air as the Piklz rock a packed house in this video—while still adhering to the Turntablism style. They tear into new material, as well as classic routines. It seems like they freak every classic break and DJ record possible, but we’re at least sure we heard samples and vocal snippets from LL Cool J’s “Rock The Bells,” Lord Finesse & DJ Mike Smooth’s “Here I Come,” Crash Crew’s “High Power Rap,” Little Hooks with Ray Nato & The King’s “Give The Drummer Some,” Newcleus’ “Jam On It,” Pharcyde’s “Passin’ Me By,” that dope sax from Lafayette Afro Rock Band’s “Darkest Light,” and much, much more.
To be clear, this isn’t a mix. Instead, this is three musicians utilizing bits and pieces of records to make new music. Hopefully the return of this seminal group will spark a new wave of turntablism in the 2010s.
#BonusBeat: Check out The 13th Floor:
Alpha Pup made the album available for free, full stream.