Two of the greatest turntablists in history will visit Pittsburgh Friday, when DJ Shadow and Cut Chemist bring pure, unadulterated hip-hop to Mr. Smalls.
DJ Shadow is best known for his album Entroducing..., which is widely viewed as of one of the greatest albums of all time, of any genre. It was one of the first albums to be created entirely from samples from other records, mostly records that Shadow picked up at various record stores over the years.
When Entroducing... first came out, there was nothing like it. Entertainment Weekly said that the album "takes hip-hop into the next dimension,” while Alternative Press called it “an undeniable hip-hop masterpiece.” Pitchfork, Rolling Stone, The Village Voice, AllMusic, Slant, The Guardian, and many more gave the album a perfect review.
Cut Chemist founded one of the biggest hip hop groups of the 90s in Jurassic 5, and he and Shadow are longtime friends who have collaborated together for years. Here's an entire set of them performing together back in 2000:
While this would be a can't-miss tour on its own, there is also a larger purpose. The two men are exclusively spinning records from hip-hop pioneer Afrika Bambaataa's personal collection. From the tour's PR:
Using only vinyl pulled from Bambaataa’s historic collection – over 40,000 strong and permanently archived at Cornell University – DJ Shadow and Cut Chemist aim to present Bambaataa’s legacy in all its genre-busting and socially-minded complexity.“The program will be multifaceted,” DJ Shadow explains. “Bambaataa as artist, exploring the influence of his classics like ‘Planet Rock;’ Bambaataa as collector, and the genre-defining breaks he discovered; and Bambaataa as peacemaker and force for social change. He influenced an entire generation worldwide, so we feel a great obligation to get it right.”
Naturally, it was paramount to the two DJ’s that the tour have the full blessing and support of Afrika Bambaataa himself. “I call on all who love Hip-Hop to come out, see them, hear them,” says the Godfather. “My story is our history in DJing.”
DJ Shadow and Cut Chemist are both music legends in their own right, and they are performing together to honor a third. This performance should be nothing short of unforgettable.
We have a pair of tickets to giveaway for this show. To enter, send your name to pghmusicreport at gmail.com, and put “DJ Shadow” in the subject line. We'll announce a winner Thursday morning.
– B. Conway