Party rocking Tag

Black Is Beautiful 2020 – Uncle Jamm’s Army

The first time I heard the name “Uncle Jamm’s Army” was in 2005. I was reading “Can’t Stop Won’t Stop” by Jeff Chang. They mentioned in the book and in the accompanying Dj D-Sharp mixtape. The Army is one of the most influential DJ crews in Los Angeles, California, and the US. Originally called Unique Dreams Entertainment, the crew was founded by DJ/promoter Roger Clayton. The crew would only consist of a handful of members at that time including Dr Funkenstein, Bobcat, Gid & Tony Martin, Les Sounds, and Egyptian Lover. But it would go on to have at least 15 members. Some of them did security, promotions, sound, or business. But most were professional party rockers. They DJed house parties, high school dances, prom’s, and would later throwing their own parties. They competed with other crews around at that time such as “World Class Wrecking Crew” (Lonzo, Yella, Dr. Dre) and LA Dream Team (Snake Puppy, Rudy Pardee).

The records and style of playing music later became the blueprint for one of LA’s first stations to play hip hop, KDAY. Founded in 1977 and existing until 1988 formally, the crew grew so popular that they packed arena’s meant for super stars with thousands of young people. The Army’s sound mixed Electro, New Wave, Funk, Techno, Rock, and an exploding new genre called Hip Hop. In fact, ask any DJs from LA or Cali and they will tell you what an impact they had on DJs generations after them. They’d hook up a dozen amplifiers, over 30 huge Cerwin Vega speakers and subwoofers, and eventually cats like Egyptian Lover started incorporating live drum machine beats and 808’s. They even put out their own records. And in the midst of rapidly growing gang war between the Crips, Bloods, and many other sets their dances provided a space for young people of all types to dance, socialize, be creative, and have fun.

Recently the crew was officially honored by the City of Los Angeles with October 28th becoming “Uncle Jamm’s Army” day. I want to give a shout out to its members, fans, supporters, and the DJs who were influenced by them including The Mixmasters and The Beat Junkies. I hope that Black History Month recognitions in the future will include them, the scene they created, and the sound they made flourish. Rest In Peace to its founder Roger Clayton.

In this image I wanted to portray just a few of guys as a representation of group which was much larger than 5 men. I also wanted to picture an analog record since that was the foundation of their sound. And lastly, I illustrated people dancing and having fun.

Sources: LA Weekly, Red Bull Music Academy Documentary, Cant Stop Won’t Stop

Wanna see more? Check out  this illustration about Camp Atwater HERE.

Kindred Journey 9 – Invisible Skratch Piklz

The “Invisible Skratch Piklz” are DJ D-Styles, DJ Mix Master Mike, DJ Shortkut, DJ Apollo, and DJ Qbert. There are more members, but I’m listing the ones I’ve seen perform together mostly as a crew or band. I cant remember the first time I heard of ISP, but I knew who DJ Apollo and DJ Qbert were when I was entering high school. They were famous in the Bay for mix-tapes and ripping shit up in battles like the DMC, ITF, New Music seminar, and more. Later, when I got into bedroom DJing and collecting I caught word of battling, the infamous X-Men vs ISP battle at Rock Steady’s anniversary, and a re-emerging culture. As I was getting into scratching, so was the whole Bay! Many continue to scratch , rock parties, weddings, your corporate event, classroom, or the lunch hour on your local radio station. 
It is important to note that this crew made history because of millions of hours of practice, performance, and and building community with so many other DJs. They innovated so many aspects of performing, equipment, music, and learning because they shared their knowledge. Before people were really using the internet crews like ISP, Beat Junkies, and the X-Men were making VHS tapes with instructions.  I’m sure many entered the class just by listening to them. They’re still rocking, still teaching, still touring, and when many left the underground culture of “turntablism” they kept going,; returning to party rocking roots and expanding to other crews and opportunities. ISP, a mostly Filipino American group is a pillar in the hip hop community and an timeless part of the Bay/LA music scene and Asian American history as a whole. Salute! 
Oh and if you’re looking for that scratching itch, look up “Skratch Pad”!
Sources: Memory, Life, Experience