js1-main_phixrOnce upon a time, a DJ’s sole purpose in life was to assist the MC when it came to moving the crowd.

With that said, a handful of vinyl veterans did reach the pinnacle of recognition, but they were still out numbered by their lyrical counterparts.

But today, with plenty DJ’s providing more than just the typical functions of yester-year, they have become just as prominent as if they were center stage with the microphone themselves.

Like the natural transition it is, after a while most DJ’s add an MPC to their turntables, and start to make music instead of playing it—and amongst that list of producer/DJ’s is none other than the Rock Steady Crew’s DJ JS-1.

Releasing his latest album Ground Original 2: No Sellout [Click for review] not too long ago, the DJ with a PhD in turntablism added production to his repertoire, as he produced the entire project from top to bottom.

So how does he rate his beats thus far, the answer lies ahead in this edition of Production Of The Environment.

iHipHop.com: So when did you initially get into DJ’ing?

DJ JS-1: Just growing up in New York in the late 70’s and the 80’s… Everybody was trying to do graffiti, trying to break dance, and trying to rap…

Of course when I was little kid, I was trying to break dance, and I would record the music off the radio onto cassettes…

I started buying a few records, and I only had a stereo, and when I was 13-14 [years old], I saved up and got some used turntables… From there I started playing the records, and mixing them back and fourth…

That’s really what lead to it… I was just collecting music trying to dance, but that never worked out for me because I was horrible… But the DJ’ing actually worked out, but I kept sticking with that…

iHipHop.com: [Laughs]… For those that don’t know the difference between a DJ and a turntablist, can you break it down for them?

DJ JS-1: There’s different ways to look at it… As for me, I try to cover all the aspects of what DJ’ing would encompass…

A turntablist is someone that’s creating something from nothing: Just taking beats, flipping them around, and creating something totally new…

As opposed to a DJ just playing some songs, and trying to keep the party going… A turntablist is working a little bit more I would say, and it’s a little more physically involved… But the main thing for me is trying to do everything…

iHipHop.com: Speaking of doing everything, when you first started, were there any techniques that were a thorn in your side to learn?

DJ JS-1: [Laughing]… For sure… You start doing the basic stuff—but what’s funny is the kids today see a lot of advanced techniques… They see stuff like flash scratches, crab scratches, and they’re learning from watching the DVD’s or seeing [DJ] Qbert live…

But they don’t realize that the hardest stuff is when you’re trying to do the original transform scratches… That stuff is difficult, and you really have to have a strong wrist… It’s not something that you can get down really quickly…

It’s funny because [Mixmaster] Mike and [DJ] Qbert are doing transform scratches, and lot of these kids don’t realize what they’re doing, because they’re doing it so advanced and quicker…

iHipHop.com: How do you feel about the current state of DJ’ing right now? Do you feel as if it’s being placed on the back burner due to all the gimmicky stuff now going on in Hip-Hop?

DJ JS-1: The thing that’s a problem for me is that back in the day; all the big named DJ’s all did the battles… So the battles were more exciting, and there was more hype to it… Not to knock any new kids doing it, because they’re really good…

But they don’t have a name, so it’s not a draw to come see them… It’s not like, “WOW!” “Someone from the X-Ecutioners is going up against someone from the Scratch Pickles!!” So there’s no draw to the DJ battles anymore…

That kind of hurts it, and then they learn how to do stuff by watch DVD’s, so a lot of the kids sound the same a little bit… But back in the day, people were on their own; and each city had their own different style…

dj-1iHipHop.com: Well obviously, you can released [Ground Original 2] No Sellout not too long ago, and you have about 300 features on there. So how much of a headache was it to corral all of those artists up for the project?

DJ JS-1: [Laughing]… It was definitely a headache… 100 percent… A few people were crazy that you had to deal with, but for the most part, everyone was with the program… It was just that they would be on tour, or I would be on tour, and everybody was running around…

It gets difficult when you have a song with four MC’s on it, and one guy’s in California, one guy’s in Europe, and the other guy is in Australia… So that was a headache, trying to coordinate who can record when and where… But I’m very happy that I was able to pull it off…

iHipHop.com: You produced the entire album yourself right?

DJ JS-1: Yes… On a couple of my past projects, I didn’t do that… But with this one, I wanted to make sure that it was all me…

iHipHop.com: So did you start off producing when you started DJ’ing?

DJ JS-1: I did do that, but with a cheap sampler and cheap equipment… I was just messing around, and DJ’ing was more at the forefront, and I spent all of my time pretty much DJ’ing… But while I was DJ’ing, I was studying producers that I liked…

I was always listening to Large Professor, Pete Rock, and [DJ] Premier… But later on I knew that the producing would separate me from just being a “turntablist” that just scratches and does parties… I wanted to be considered as an artist as well, so I knew I had to produce my own albums…

iHipHop.com: How do you feel about your production skills up to this point? Are you out there pitching beat CD’s to artists?

DJ JS-1: I know this is going to sound strange, but to tell you the truth—no I’m not doing that… I never really did that… I just save all my stuff and make my own records, and get people to feature on my projects… The only reason that is, is because I’d like to have 100 percent control over what’s going on…

I hate giving people a beat CD, and they pick whatever beat, and write whatever… I kind of want to consult with you when you’re making the song… But sometimes people don’t want to do that, they just want to listen to a beat CD, and pick whatever… But I really don’t like going that route…

dj_js-1_in_studio_2007-copyiHipHop.com: With you being a DJ in the truest sense of the word, what are your feelings about Serato?

DJ JS-1: [Laughs]… Serato gives me mixed feelings… When it very first came out, I was skeptical of it working… But once I heard it, and saw that it actually worked, I thought it was pretty cool, and that it was interesting…

Then it dawned on me that anybody who has a laptop can buy this program and be a DJ with their MP3 collection…

Now they have double of everything, and that used to cost me double the amount when I had to buy two records…

So you start thinking that now everyone can cut in line, and claim to be a DJ, and it kind of sucks… But at the same time, it’s here, it’s the new technology, and it’s not going anywhere…

I don’t drive around in a horse and buggy, I have a car… So I have to go with the times, and that’s what it is… I just try to beat them at their own game now… So now not only do I love my Serato, I try to use it to the fullest extent… I put it to work…

If I have it, and I’m going to use it, I might as well be good at it… For a new kid coming up, he doesn’t know the breaks or any of that stuff, so I’m not worry about it… They can’t do what we do… I use it all the time actually…