Groove Music: The Art and Culture of the Hip-Hop DJ

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9780195331127: Groove Music: The Art and Culture of the Hip-Hop DJ

It's all about the scratch in Groove Music, award-winning music historian Mark Katz's groundbreaking book about the figure that defined hip-hop: the DJ.

Today hip-hop is a global phenomenon, and the sight and sound of DJs mixing and scratching is familiar in every corner of the world. But hip-hop was born in the streets of New York in the 1970s when a handful of teenagers started experimenting with spinning vinyl records on turntables in new ways. Although rapping has become the face of hip-hop, for nearly 40 years the DJ has proven the backbone of the culture. In Groove Music, Katz (an amateur DJ himself) delves into the fascinating world of the DJ, tracing the art of the turntable from its humble beginnings in the Bronx in the 1970s to its meteoric rise to global phenomenon today. Based on extensive interviews with practicing DJs, historical research, and his own personal experience, Katz presents a history of hip-hop from the point of view of the people who invented the genre. Here, DJs step up to discuss a wide range of topics, including the transformation of the turntable from a playback device to an instrument in its own right, the highly charged competitive DJ battles, the game-changing introduction of digital technology, and the complex politics of race and gender in the DJ scene.

Exhaustively researched and written with all the verve and energy of hip-hop itself, Groove Music will delight experienced and aspiring DJs, hip-hop fans, and all students or scholars of popular music and culture.

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About the Author:

Mark Katz is Professor of Music and Chair of the Department of Music at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He is the author of Capturing Sound: How Technology has Changed Music and editor of the Journal of the Society for American Music. He is a violinist, a radio DJ, and an amateur turntablist.


"If there was one book I had to get on DJ culture, it would be this one! There are so many DJ books out there ... but this one on hip-hop is my cup o' tea! " --DJ QBert

"Groove Music is an extensive look at the DJ, the heartbeat of hip-hop culture. Mark Katz successfully documents the art form that has defined me as an artist and human being. Props to him for exposing the world to what we do with turntables." --Rob Swift, turntablist

"Katz brings to life the vivid art and social worlds of hip-hop's most important and understudied pioneers: the DJs." --Tricia Rose, author of Black Noise and Hip Hop Wars

"Groove Music is an essential resource, a lucid combination of history and how-to. The
writing is excellent, the research is thorough, and Katz's affection for the topic is contagious. It's certainly a seminal contribution to musicology, as well as a good read for any music fan." --Albin Zak, Professor of Music, State University of New York, Albany

"A ridiculously rich goldmine of authoritative as it gets."

"Katz's exhaustive research and attention to detail have produced a gripping study that goes a long way towards filling the knowledge gap. Groove Music is strongly recommended to anyone with an interest in popular music and culture formations." --Times Higher Education

"Mark Katz provides a beautifully written account of the DJ's evolution in Groove Music: The Art and Culture of the Hip-Hop DJ that is sure to stand as the go-to text for anyone seeking knowledge about the who, what, when, where, why and how of DJ culture. No one--and here I would include outsiders, passing fans, hardcore hip-hop heads as well as seasoned DJs--will come away from this book without learning something new." --Dancecult

"A valuable resource...Highly recommended." --Choice

"A crucial addition to the discourse surrounding hip-hop, utilizing a strong ethnographic framework to provide the most concise survey of hip-hop DJ communities, performance techniques, and technologies of production to date...The author>'s sensitivity to the cultural concerns of hip-hop artists, as well as the precise and accessible manner in which the research is presented, make Groove Music necessary reading for anyone interested
in the topic." --ARSC Journal

"DJs, researchers working in various areas (popular musicology, cultural studies, American studies, etc.) and the casual reader with an interest in hiphop will all find much to engage them in this book. Katz's fanatical enthusiasm permeates the work's scholarly tone, producing an informed narrative which remains vigorous at all times and leads the reader through almost 40 years of musical evolution with great momentum yet careful control." --Journal of Music, Technology & Education

"A well-researched historical account of the legacy and cultural influence of hip-hop DJs that will prove useful to any scholar or student of popular music. Not only is Katz's book a compelling contribution to hip-hop scholarship, it is witty and accessible enough to serve as inspiration for future turntablists and current practitioners discovering their own roots." --College Music Symposium

"Should be considered a foundational reading for anyone wanting to understand the context for the hip-hop's historical emergence, evolution and contemporary position in American musical culture...Groove Music is to be lauded for supporting the legitimacy of hip-hop DJ culture--something that hip-hop DJs have struggled to educate music listeners about
since hip- hop's beginnings." --Journal of Popular Culture

"A thoroughly researched, comprehensive, and well-written narrative history of [hip-hop's] practices...Katz's book is an important contribution towards our understanding of the many facets of hip-hop culture...Groove Music's insightful and intelligent consideration of the world of the hip-hop DJ will be a landmark for years to come." --Notes

"Katz provides a masterclass on how to write an academic book that is rigorous but has a wider appeal beyond the ivory tower." --Music & Letters

"Mark Katz's Groove Music: The Art and Culture of the Hip-Hop DJ is the first book devoted to chronicling the rise and evolution of the hip-hop DJ as a new kind of musician. Combining ethnography, archival research, and musical analysis, Katz condenses a mountain of research into a rich, compelling narrative. Beautifully written, the book makes an important contribution to hip-hop and popular music studies, and can serve as a model of how to navigate complex and contested creative terrains for scholars working in musicology, ethnomusicology, and other related disciplines."--Journal of the Society for American Music

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