BEST HIP-HOP DJ (2001)
Remember when adding a DJ to a rock band was a radical move? When hip hop's influence on metal was supposed to save popular music? When we thought every band on earth would have a DJ by now, alongside the guitarist, bassist, and drummer? Well now DJs in rock are more like...tambourine players. Sometimes they are more like triangle players. They didn't even transform metal; samplers did. They didn't save rock 'n' roll; they couldn't even save hip hop. And now, when local critics tell you that a Minneapolis hip-hop fanatic might just be making the best new rock 'n' roll in town, you'll yawn and remember EMF and pat our heads. But hold that pat: DJ Andrew's work with the trippy jazz-funk tinged instrumental ensemble Cropduster--and the even trippier noise-hop unit the Fog--holds out the hope that hip-hop DJs may one day play a prominent role in modern music outside of the musician-free turntablist milieu or the two-turntables-and-a-microphone format--and without providing mere sonic garnish to meatheads. Andrew's work with the Fog suggests how a DJ might scratch a signature accompaniment to, say, a Smog-like indie-pop song, and make it funky without making it funk. He suggests, with Cropduster, how a DJ might jam free of the 4/4 cage that hip hoppers hold to be elemental. Andrew doesn't need rhythm at all to hold his own or interact with collaborators, sounding like a landing tornado or a monster clawing its way out of a steel trunk. We don't know for sure whether it's hip hop, but it's something new.