Monthly Archives: March 2010

Rob Threezy Interview

Here’s the latest Chase March exclusive for all of you. I just did this interview on Friday night and I’m posting it up on a Wednesday. That’s the quickest turn around so far. Anyway, I hope you enjoy this interview. Rob Threezy is a DJ, producer, and remixer. You can download this podcast for free and listen  as you read along. Enjoy!

Chase: “Alright everybody, this is Chase March and I’m here with Rob Threezy. How’s is going, man?
Rob: “It’s going good. Cold weather here in Toronto.”
Chase: “Yeah, it’s crazy. It was out for a run in shorts the day before but it’s hovering around zero today. What’s going on?”
Rob: “I don’t know what’s going on. It’s the Harp.”
Chase: “So tell us about what you do.”
Rob: “I’m Rob Threezy, DJ, producer, remixer, anything involving music, man. That’s me, just stay underground, that’s where it’s at, ya know what I mean. Commercial is cool but after a while, it’s kind of sad to sell yourself, ya know?”
Chase: “Definitely. I’m all about underground, underground hip-hop mostly. I just discovered you recently. Jessica hooked me up with your latest EP ‘Let’s Go Ravers’ and there are some nice tracks on there.”
Rob: “Thank you, thank you.”
Chase: “My name is Chase March and one of your songs is called ‘The Chase.’ That song’s not about me is it?”
Rob: “I didn’t even think about that. That’s good. It’s dedicated to you. ‘The Chase,’ that came out about two years ago. It was released on vinyl on Ol’ Head Records along with Sega, TiMeil, Tim Dolla, ya know, all the club heads from the East Coast, Jersey, Philly, Baltimore, ya know?”
Chase: “You’re from Chicago but it says on your bio that you are big into Baltimore Club. So was that a big influence for you?”
Rob: “Yes, I would have to say that. It just hits hard, ya know what I mean? It’s a different style of house music. It’s club breaks but it does hit hard. I don’t like any soft tracks. I like bangers. I like stuff that hits, that makes people want to dance not to go, ‘okay whatever, I’ll smoke a joint to this.’”
Chase: “So your music is all about getting people to dance. Do you do a lot of live shows?”
Rob: “Yes I do. Mostly in The States. I got booked on this Canada tour in Nelson, Toronto, and Montreal. I was supposed to do Ottawa but I guess that didn’t go through but it’s okay man. I’ll come back later and I can’t say I’m not having fun because Canada has been treating me really good.”
Chase: “Excellent. So I did a little bit of production myself back in the day. Do you mind telling us what kind of gear you use?”
Rob: “I use Logic, that’s my baby. I started off with an MPC. I actually did a couple hip-hop beats on the MPC, I’m not gonna lie. I use a lot of compressors. I use hardware. As far as my sound cards inside my Mac if you want to get into detail, I do have UAD cards. I use the Fuji Ensemble to record vocals. I do basically anything you guys want. I do have a lot of plug-ins. I’m investing in buying a couple synths even though people might say I’m wasting money. But you know there’s nothing better than feeling the gear and stuff.”
Chase: “Do you use samples in your production?”
Rob: “Oh yes, I use samples. Samples are good. Take a kick, sample it from another producer’s track, beef it up, do whatever you want with it, make it your own. I don’t think there is anything wrong with sampling. A lot of hip-hop guys sampled back then on old records, vinyl. I do the same. I’m pretty sure everyone else does it.”
Chase: “I love sampling. It seems that these days a lot of producers are getting away from it. They’re producing their own sounds or using live bands, and it’s a shame because I think that sampling is something that we should be able to do. It’s like taking something old and making something new out of it, which is a lot of what DJ culture is about.”
Rob: “Definitely.”
Chase: “Speaking of DJ culture, what do you think about DJ Hero?”
Rob: “I think it’s pretty cool. I’ve tried it. It’s a little hard, I’m not gonna lie. You get the hang of it but it’s cool. I like it. It’s entertaining. Sometimes I think it’s gonna take away from the real essence of deejaying on vinyl.”
Chase: “Yeah, that’s what I think to. I mean, I played in some bands before and Rock Band, the video game, doesn’t really simulate a rock band experience. You’re playing that, you’re only looking at the screen, you’re paying attention to what you’re doing, you’re not playing off of the other guys. And in DJ Hero, you’re not using the crossfader they way you’d normally use a crossfader. It’s kind of silly. I’m a teacher and some of the kids say, ‘I slide that thing.’ I bring in a record and they’re like, ‘Wow, that’s a big CD.’ So in some ways it’s not really doing its job. I guess for some, though, it’s an introduction to DJ culture, and maybe that in itself can be a good thing.”
Rob: “Yes and no. I say yeah because on there are some of the most demanding deejays. I’m pretty sure that David Guetta, Armand Van Buren and all the big name, star DJs. That’s pretty good because it opens kids’ eyes to the DJ world and that’s where it’s at, ya know?”
Chase: “Definitely. One thing I don’t understand because I’m not so into club deejays and the kind of music you do. I’m more into hip-hop and things like that. I was wondering how that music gets consumed because it’s more about what DJs used to do with hip-hop. It’s more about the live experience from what I understand. But you do have CDs out and how do those sell? Do people pick those up at your gigs or are they in stores?”
Rob: “Before I started actually doing tours and getting booked outside of Chicago, I had to build a following in my city first. I always made mixes ever since I started, ya know, classics from the 80s, 90s, and 2000s. I’m 21. People just follow you because they see that you’re doing something different and you’re not really playing what everyone else plays but you’re still kind of keeping it fresh, not too commercial, it’s good, it’s still underground. You kind of just have to build a following and if they’re dedicated to your music, they are gonna follow you regardless. As far as the whole Internet and people knowing who you are across the world, blogs are the ones that really put you on the map. They kind of give you the lead, and then from there on out, it’s whatever you make of it, and that’s how you distribute everything else.”
Chase: “Do you do much in the way of online promotion?”
Rob; “Yes I do. I don’t have a manager. I’m not under an agency, I don’t have nothing. I do all my bookings myself. Everything is me. 100% me.”
Chase: “Are there any artists you’d like to work with?”
Rob: “Artists that I’d like to work along side with? I would have to say Steve Angello, Afrojack, Chuckie, dude’s mainly in Holland cause they’re really bringing house music back up to where it supposed to be, where it’s supposed to have been a long time ago. They have a particular sound that a lot of people like. I don’t know what it is. It just hits harder, it’s bigger, it digestible. But yeah, it would have to be those artists. Maybe David Guetta, maybe, if he doesn’t go too, too commercial.”
Chase: “That’s interesting because to me it seems that house music is kind of buried. It seems that when I was a little bit younger that we actually had some dance stations. There was one in Burlington that was Dance 108 and then it became Energy 108, and then it became a Top 40 station, and then it became a country station. So where is house music these days?”
Rob: “I think there was a gap. I don’t know what happened. Really I don’t know. It’s good that it’s coming back up cause I see it coming up stronger than ever. Now all these guys are calling it Dutch House but really the sound that I listen to and when they put out their music, it kind of sounds like Old Chicago Art House. They say it’s Dutch House but it really isn’t, it comes from Chicago. Chicago is the Mecca of house music, it always will be. But they add their own little style into it and I like what they’re making right now. I love it, just don’t call it Dutch House guys, it’s house music, that’s it, not Dutch house.”
Chase: “I think a lot of my listeners aren’t really familiar, we used the term a little bit earlier Baltimore Club and I went to your MySpace page and I think it described your sound as Baltimore Club mixed with rave samples. So a lot of people, my listeners in particular, don’t really know what is Baltimore Club?”
Rob: “Baltimore Club, honestly, it is a mixture between hip-hop and house. It’s at like 128 – 135 – 140 BPMs. It’s really hip-hop influenced, I will not lie about that. A lot of samples, a lot of drum breaks, all about that. It’s hip-hop. It’s basically breaks, not funk or anything like that, just breaks and heavy kicks. A good example of who started this Baltimore Club would be Scottie B from Baltimore. He’s one of the pioneers of this. I even asked him what it was and he said it’s a mixture between hip-hop and breaks and heavy kicks and sampling everywhere.”
Chase: “Nice. I really like when we can get back to that because that is the essence right there. I mean, breaks really started the entire DJ culture and that kind of split of into the different genres of it. Even the early hip-hop stuff did have that house influence too like Afrika Bambaataa and where it branched off from there.”
Rob: “Yup.”
Chase: “I’d like to drop one of your tracks right now. So this is ‘Let’s Go Ravers,’ title track off of the latest EP from Rob Threezy. This is Chase March and we’ll be right back.”

That ends Part 1 of the interview. Please come back tomorrow to read Part 2. If you don’t want to wait until then, you can download this episode of The Chase March Show for free right now. You can also check out Rob Threezy on MySpace.  Thanks for tuning in! 

Teaching Tip – A Great Drama Rubric

Who has time for drama?
I have so much stuff I need to teach that I can’t afford to spend time letting the kids act out goofy little skits.
Have you heard these excuses before? Have you used them yourself?
I know that classroom teachers have a huge responsibility and that principals and school boards often focus on literacy and numeracy, so much so that the arts often get little or no attention at all. This really is a shame.
I must admit that I don’t find a lot of time for drama in my classroom. I’m sure I could do a lot more. However, I don’t just use the Christmas concert as my sole drama activity like some of the other teachers I know.
I typically use three Drama activities each year, one per term. I will cover these strategies in more detail starting next week for Teaching Tip Tuesdays. I have a great rubric that I use to assess all three of these activities and you will find it below.
In the first term, I do a unit on poetry. I teach the students how to use tone of voice, action, and props to present the poem dramatically in front of the class. This is a great assignment since I can use it for an Oral and Visual Communication mark as well as a Drama mark.
In the second term, I let the students work in partners or groups of three. I let them choose a comic strip from the newspaper to act out. They need to rehearse their performance and memorize their lines. Comic strips are great since they already are visual and don’t have a lot of dialogue. This allows the students a quick and easy skit to act out. They are funny as well which always helps.
In the third term, I work with small groups and guide them into cooperatively writing a radio play. This is much like Reader’s Theatre but since the students have a hand in creating the characters and the story, they are much more interested in it.
These aren’t the only things I do in the classroom for drama. I sometimes have the kids act out science concepts, social studies events, and health and safety situations. The students really respond well to drama activities.
Of all the drama activities I do in the classroom, I only need one assessment tool. I developed this rubric by taking bits and pieces of other rubrics that I liked and mashing them together. The book Drama Themes, which I highly recommend by the way, originally inspired me to create this rubric.
You will notice that there are a lot of things you can look at when assessing a work of drama; practise, use of voice, setting, action, comedy, role development, role portrayal, and the overall performance.
I wouldn’t try to assess all of these things at one time. I might only look at three things for a primary class. I tell my students that I will be looking for a good tone of voice, that they use some actions, and I will also be looking at how well them work in their groups.
I really like using this rubric and I hope it will help you in bringing drama into your classroom. If you have any questions, comments, or tips you’d like to share, please contact me. I’d love to hear from you. 
Don’t forget to check all the other great Teaching Tips as well. 
Teachers helping teachers is what it’s all about. 

Two Songs That Describe Me (Day 15)

Day 15 – A song that describes you

I’m cheating today. I’m going to give you two songs that describe me.

First up is David Myles “When It Comes My Turn”

“I’m getting old but I’m not old yet
I’m already worried that I might forget
How to laugh, how to love
How to live, how to learn
I want to die with a smile when it comes my turn

I don’t want to get weary, don’t want to get bored
Don’t want to get tired, walking down this road
I’ve seen that happen so many times
I just want to believe that its still worth trying

I’m getting old but I’m not old yet
I’m already worried that I might forget
How to laugh, how to love
How to live, how to learn
I want to die with a smile when it comes my turn

But I know that it’s easier said than done
And I ain’t that different from anyone
I worry about my money, got bills that I can’t pay
I swear I’m more like my father everyday

I’m getting old but I’m not old yet
I’m already worried that I might forget
How to laugh, how to love
How to live, how to learn
I want to die with a smile when it comes my turn

Maybe I’ll start bowling, maybe I’ll play bridge
Maybe I’ll join a band with my own grandkids
I don’t care if it kills me I’m gonna do what it takes
To keep some warmth in my heart and a smile on my face.”

– David Myles “When It Comes My Turn” from the album “Things Have Changed”

What a great song. I identify with it because although I am only in my thirties, I am starting to feel old. My memory has never been that great either, which is one of the reasons I write a journal and a blog. I also want to make sure that I continue to enjoy life and have fun with whatever I am doing. I may be getting older, but I refuse to feel old.

My second choice for today’s challenge is Goldfinger “Superman”

“So here I am doing everything I can
holding on to what I am
pretending I’m a superman
I’m trying to keep
the ground on my feet
it seems the world’s falling down around me
the nights are all long
I’m singing this song
to try and make the answers more than maybe

and I’m so confused
about what to do
sometimes I want to throw it all away

so here I am looking older all the time
growing older all the time
feeling younger in my mind

I’m trying to sleep
I lost count of the sheep
my mind is racing faster every minute
what could I do more
yeah I’m really not sure
I know I’m running circles but I can’t quit

and I’m so confused
about what to do
sometimes I want to throw it all away
controlling everything in site

I’m feeling weak
I don’t feel right
you’re telling me I have to change
telling me to act my age
but if all that I can do
is just sit and watch time go
then I’ll have to say good bye
life’s too short to watch it fly
watch it fly”

– Goldfinger “Superman” from the album “Hang-Ups”

I love this song. Could it be an anthem for who I am? Yes it could. I relate to it and it seems to be along the same subject matter was the David Myles song I played just before it.

Go to the Day 16 song – A song I used to like but not anymore

Happiest MeMe Isn’t So Happy

I found this meme on Calvin’s Canadian Cave of Cool and thought I’d give it a try.

1. How far away is the last person you kissed?

Too far. She’s geographically close but she’s now just out of my reach and it hurts a lot.

2. Has someone ever told you they would be with you forever?

Yes. I told her so too. It’s hard to believe that it didn’t work for us. I was so sure it would.

3. Last person you were in a car with?

My mother. I drove her to go buy a Wii. I still can’t believe that my mom has a video game system. I don’t even have one. I hooked it up for her though and we had a blast playing it on the weekend.

4. Any plans for tomorrow?

I want to transcribe the interview I did this weekend with DJ, producer Rob Threezy. I also need to write a lesson plan for a teacher upgrading class I am taking online. I want to go for a run as well. Should be a good day.

5. How long does it take for you to take a shower?

Probably too long. Sometimes I just don’t want to get out.

6. Best friend or close friends?

I have one best friend.

7. Is tomorrow going to be a good day?

Yes it is.

8. Did you kiss anyone Friday?


9. Ever thrown up in public?

Ah, why are you asking me this? I think I probably did when I was a kid.

10. What’s on your mind RIGHT NOW?

Not much. I’m just relaxing doing a silly meme. But it’s good to get my mind off of what I’ve been feeling lately.

11. Who was the last person you talked to?

Daddy J from DOPEfm. Really cool guy running a great hip-hop show on 93.3 CFMU.

12. What is the WORST subject they teach at school?

Daily Physical Education. Teachers are supposed to make sure that kids get physically active for ten minutes each day. Can’t parents do that? After all, the kids have gym and recess.

13. Have you seen anyone lately that you don’t get along with?

No comment. Because I really don’t want to get into it. Okay, YES!

14. What is your favourite colour top to wear?

I have a few orange shirts that I really like.

15. Have you ever been in a car accident?

Three times. Thankfully each time there we no injuries other than the cars. Also none of the accidents were my fault. One was when I was just a kid. One was when somebody slammed into the back of us while we were waiting to go into a roundabout. And one time time it was just a mechanical failure and I slammed into a curb.

16. What’s the closest thing to you that’s green?

The table cloth that I cut and put across the top of the entertainment stand.

17. Where would you like to be right now?

Right here.

18. Write down some lyrics to the song you’re listening to?

“Ain’t no sunshine when she’s gone.”

19. How many dogs do you have?

Zero. I think I’m past the pet-owning stage of my life.

20. Is anything bugging you right now?

Lots of things but I don’t need to drag all that out on the blog.

21. Is life going right for you now?

No it’s not. There have been quite a few bumps in the road. This has been the worst year of my life. But it can only go up from here.

22. Is there someone you care about more than yourself?


23. What made you laugh today?

A conversation on the phone. I said something that wasn’t supposed to be funny but we both ended up laughing because it was.

24. What was the last movie you watched?

Goal! It’s a soccer movie and it’s pretty cool.

25. Whats the last conversation you had about?


26. What were you doing at 7:00 this morning?

Sleeping. I really needed it. Normally I’d be up by then.

27. Do you like your hair long or short?

Short. I’m overdue for a haircut.

28. Do you want to see somebody right now?


29. Do you like the rain?


30. Did you have a valentine this year?

No. I was so sure I’d have one too. I hate Valentine’s Day. Never really had a good one.

31. The last person you kissed needs you at 3 am, would you go?

Yes I would. I hope she knows that. I’d do anything for her at any time. I’m not holding out any illusions that we will get back together though.

32. Would you honestly say you’d risk your life for someone else?

I would. I’ve always thought about having a heroic death.

33. Honestly, if you could go back 1 month and change something would you?

One month isn’t far enough.

34. How do you feel about boys smoking?

Smoking should be banned, that’s just my humble opinion.

35. Could you see yourself with someone forever?

I could. I’m a romantic at heart and believe in soul-mates. Hopefully I will find mine one day.

It’s Crazy that I Like This (Day 13)

Day 13 – A song that is a guilty pleasure

This was a tough category for me. I don’t often subscribe to the thought of a song being a guilty pleasure. I am usually upfront about what music I do and do not like.

I went on the air last night for DOPEfm and talked about this 30-day song challenge and my difficulty finding a song to fill today’s challenge. Fellow co-host Gamma Krush, reminded me of how I really liked Britney Spears when she first came out.

I remember really enjoying this album cut. I liked the use of the cowbell and the energy the song had. They remixed the song a little when it was released as a single. I much prefer the album version.

Truth be told, I haven’t listened to this album in years and I don’t own anything else by Britney Spears. That’s why “Crazy” by Britney Spears is my choice for Day 13 – A guilty pleasure.

Go to the Day 14 song – A song people wouldn’t expect me to like

The Poet Alone… Fails.

city by the bay
Originally uploaded by 4PIZON

He’s trying to forget you,
it’s harder than he’d imagined
because he’d seen a future with you
as clearly as this view
of the city from across the bay
on a perfect spring day.

Low clouds, fog, and smog
had other plans and descended,
perhaps inevitably
but even the haze,
has no power of memory.

There are moments where he completely forgets.
He feels guilty when they pass
and cannot fathom why.
This is how it must be until things align.

Try as he wants,
He can only shake up the box.
The picture cannot possible assemble inside from the motion,
it’s for naught.

All the pain he holds, he treasures
just to know that their moment
was something that he can’t ever describe
in words alone
so they’ll understand.

The words alone can’t do the job.
The poet alone
failing at his craft
even shaking up the dictionary
can’t have the words fall into place,
it’s for naught.

He just can’t write today.
The creativity has been sucked away.

My Favourite Band?

Day 11 – A song from your favorite band

This is a tough one too. It’s a toss up between Buffalo Tom and superGARAGE but since I am playing a Buffalo Tom song later in this 30-day challenge, I think I’ll have to play a superGARAGE track today.

I really love this group. Check out the interview I did with them if you like what you hear.

superGARAGE “Post Teen Crisis”

Day 12 – A song from a band (rapper) I hate

Script Frenzy

I’m in.

I’ve always wanted to try the novel writing month that happens every year in November but as a teacher, it is such a busy month for me that I simply cannot. Instead of writing a novel, I’m writing report cards.

April is a much better month for writing. So when I heard about Script Frenzy I was immediately intrigued. I think I can write 100 pages in 30 days. So today I signed up for the challenge.

Now all I need is a good story idea.

I’ve think I might tell a love story that starts and ends at a blood donor clinic. It would be a sad story where the guy metaphorically gets sucked dry by the girl. It could work. The theme would be about how much of ourselves we give to those around us. Giving too much can be counterproductive and this poor guy is going to learn that the hard way.

Well, wish me luck and if you have any good ideas, feel free to share them.

Go to the post Started Script Frenzy Furiously.

Know Your History: Episode 3 part 2 – The DJ

Welcome to Know Your History,  your monthly dose of hip-hop knowledge. This is the place where we get to celebrate all that is the rich, cultural history of hip-hop. This is Part 2 of the transcript of this month’s show. The show is aired on 93.3 CFMU in Hamilton, Ontario and it just one segment of DOPEfm. You can download the podcast of this show for free and listen along as you read.

If you missed Part 1, go read it here. Without further ado, here is Part 2.

Let’s take it back. Back to the defining moment when the DJ created what is hip-hop. It’s hard to define the exact time that hip-hop was created. There are so many influences that came together to form the culture and many of them far predate hip-hop.

So where did it come from?

It was born out of dancing and the love of music. DJs began to play parties and realized that partygoers liked dancing to the breakdown of the record. A break is a part of the song where there is no singing and the rhythm is stripped down to a simple drum pattern and some backup sounds or instruments.

DJs soon learned that they could use two record players playing the same song in order to prolong the break. As soon as the break ended on one record, the DJ would time it so that it would immediately play again on the second record. This way, the DJ could extend a 30 second break indefinitely. Thus, break dancing was born.

I want to show you a little bit about how that works. I’m going to play a song by James Brown called “The Funky Drummer” and I’ll point out where the break is. You’ll probably recognize that you’ve actually heard this break in quite a few rap songs. It’s probably the most sampled break in hip-hop so here it is, listen to it, and I’m gonna break it down for you.

You will have to listen to the podcast since I can’t really point out the break here in this transcript. But here’s the song nonetheless if you want to try to find the break beat yourself.

Notice how the song played for quite a long time until we came up to that break. Also notice that he talked over it so really it wasn’t a 30 second break. It was really about 10 seconds. So what DJs would have two copies of that record and they’d let that really dope drum solo play for ten seconds. They’d have it set up on the other turntable and they’d then let that play for ten seconds right after and they’d keep going back and forth between the two records.

So deejays using turntables used to do what we do with samplers now. Now I could just take that loop, put it right into my computer, and have it keep playing over and over again. But back in the days when hip-hop started as a culture, we didn’t have the technology to do that. So deejays just being ingenious figured out that two records could do the same thing. Amazing, amazing, amazing stuff. I can’t say that enough.

So let’s go back in time right now and talk about when hip-hop was born. For all intents and purposes, the godfather of hip-hop culture is a man known as DJ Kool Herc. His real name is Clive Campbell and he was originally from Jamaica but he came to settle in The Bronx borough of New York City.

Now here’s where the legend begins.

He held a block party in 1973 that is considered to be the birth of hip-hop culture.

Why? What was so special about this point in time?

Like I said before, a lot of things about hip-hop predated this time. But this is when the culture began to solidify and form. What he did is set up his turntables outside and invited everyone to come party with him. It was a block party; it wasn’t a club party. You didn’t have to pay to go there. It was a poor community. Not everyone couldn’t afford to go to the clubs, so he brought the music to them. Historic address, 1520 Sedgwick Avenue.

He played the breaks of the records and extended them when he realized that that was the part of the music that people liked dancing to the best. So that really was the birth of hip-hop culture right there. He also took it a step further and introduced a reggae style known as toasting. Toasting is when a deejay would speak in short pithy rhymes just to hype up the crowd.

So from these humble beginnings, hip-hop was born. DJs would play records, get the crowd dancing, and talk a little bit. DJ Kool Herc wasn’t the only DJ who was doing this though. Afrika Bambaataa and Grand Master Flash quickly became legends. They all wanted to improve their DJ skills, and soon they employed emcees to help them. You have to remember, at his point that MCs didn’t exist. The culture was just beginning to take shape and it all started with the DJ.

Another DJ that we need to mention here is Grand Wizard Theodore. In 1975, he is credited with inventing the scratch. The story goes that he was praticising deejaying, doing a set in his basement and his mom yelled at him. He didn’t want to lose his place so he put his hand on the record to stop it so he could hear her and it made an interesting sound. He then experimented with that some more and he cut the record back and forth, moving the record with his hand so that he record when back and forth and back and forth against the needle. That gave us that duffa-duffa sound.

So right there, we have all the elements we need. We have deejays playing music, speaking in rhyme, and we’ve got the scratching musical element of turntablism starting to take effect. Now this is a lot to cover in one half hour segment, to talk about what encompasses all that a DJ does and their importance in hip-hop culture. But the last point we really need to make in this show is that the turntable itself became an instrument. What DJs can do with it is incredible. Grand Wizard Theodore kicked it off with the scratch and just cutting the record back and forth. But then we had mixers and all these different things that could really manipulate the sounds on the record. So you can actually use a record player as an instrument.

This kind of started with a DJ mixing championship, which is the DMC. DMC, again, started as just a mixing championship but now it’s become the birth of turntablism, where DJs just use the record players as instruments and it’s not so much just mixing any more.

I want to play something for you. This is Rob Swift. It’s off his new album called “The Architect” where he takes classical music and does some amazing things with it. This is an album that needs to be listened to straight through and in order because it’s been purposely designed and put together using sounds from a turntable to create something brand new. Brilliant, brilliant stuff.

Once again, this is an art. DJs are artistic. DJs put together sounds purposely to make something new. They take a break form a record that is well known and play it over and over again. Or they can use different sounds and scratch to put together beautiful sonic landscapes. So we’re really going to have to touch on this some more in a further episode of Know Your History.

This is Rob Swift, who used to be in a group called X-ecutioners and this song is called “Rabia Second Movement.” Enjoy!

Wow, that’s all I can say there. Rob Swift, nice job! That just goes to show you what deejays are capable of doing. Not only can we take a break and extend it however infinitely long we want to get people to dance and have a good time. Not only can a DJ speak in rhymes to hype up the crowd. But a DJ can take a turntable and use it as an instrument to create sonic landscapes and amazing things.

We really have to credit some amazing DJs here. To reiterate, Kool Herc birthed hip-hop culture when he started playing his block parties in the early 1970s. Grand Wizard Theodore is credited with creating the scratch. And then we had the DMC, the disco mix championships which elevated turntablism and turned it into a complete art unto itself.

What we really need to give credit to is that deejays just create something out of nothing, which is pretty amazing if you think about it. I mean, hip-hop culture started with somebody playing a record, realizing that people like to dance to the break of that record, then hooking up a second turntable so he could let the break play on one record and then have another record playing on a second turntable to let that break play and just keep going back and forth to extend the break. And then with Grand Wizard Theodore inventing the scratch and bringing that in made the turntable an actual instrument to manipulate all sort of different sounds with. Pretty impressive.

That’s what we are trying to do here with Know Your History. We are celebrating this rich cultural landscape that is hip-hop. I hope you have been enjoying the series so far and I hope you’re going to continue to tune in because we are going to bring you the hip-hop knowledge each and every month here. My name is Chase March and you better know your history.

Don’t forget to download the podcast of this show for free.

If you cannot see the audio controls, listen/download the audio file here

I Don’t Fall Asleep to Music (Day 10)

Day 10 – A song that makes you fall asleep

I have never used music to help me fall asleep. I’m not sure what to post for this one.

I really love the band Belly and the lead singer, Tanya Donelly. She’s put out some really great solo albums as well. Her solo stuff is a little more laid back than her work with Belly so I guess this is a good one for this challenge.

Belly “Sweet Ride”

Go to the Day 11 song – My Favourite Band

Know Your History: Episode 3 – The DJ

Welcome to Know Your History,  your monthly dose of hip-hop knowledge. This is the place where we get to celebrate all that is the rich, cultural history of hip-hop. This is the transcript of the monthly radio segment for DOPEfm. You can download the podcast of this show for free and listen along as you read.

I hope you’ve been with us for the first two segments so far because we’ve covered a lot of ground. In the first episode, we talked about how hip-hop is indeed a culture and a way of life for those who are participating and contributing to it. In the second episode, we dealt with the four elements that comprise hip-hop culture. We discussed how some people might think there are more than four but how those four are the foundation of what built hip-hop.

Today, I want to dive deeper into the original element, the one that birthed hip-hop culture, and I hope that you know what it is before I even say it. Hip-hop started with the DJ. That’s right. It wasn’t always about the MC. It was more about the DJ and I want to talk about that in detail today in this half hour.

I can’t think of a better track to start of with than this one. It’s DJ Revolution featuring Krs-One, it’s called the DJ. We’re going to drop the track and talk about it when we come back. Stay tuned.

That is such an awesome track. Krs-One really drops the knowledge on there and I think that’s why he’s known as ‘the teacher’ in hip-hop. He really breaks down what the art of modern DJing is all about, not so much about the history that DJs started this culture. He does talk about the breaks, break beats that we will talk about later. He talks about classic samples and loops and we’ll get into that a little later as well.
I like how he says, “The beats in the street and you’ve been elected to carry the tradition of records being selected.” In other words, DJs really control the crowd and they should be picking the music and hyping up the crowd.
He talks about 10 things that DJs should have. It’s pretty interesting that Number 1 is that the DJ is not an iPod or jukebox so don’t make a request, you’ve come to see the DJ, it’s not about you, it’s about the DJ hyping up the crowd.
He also tells us to be selective. If you’re a DJ, don’t just play anything. Play what you like. Play what you’re bumping in your ride, make sure you play that on the station, and make sure you play music that you love. Key points right there. I think DJs really need to do that because there is too much stuff on the radio right now that I don’t think DJs like. They’re handcuffed and they kind of need to play that for certain reasons. There’s playlists and things that need to be followed.
Real hip-hop DJs and the ones on underground stations like this and college radio are the ones who are keeping it alive. DJs in the club that are playing real hip-hop and stuff that they like are the ones who are keeping this alive and what this culture is about.
I like Number 6 on his list too, “cutting and scratching is like seasoning when you use it,” like it just gives it that extra flavour. I don’t want to hear deejays just mix. I want to hear some cutting and scratching but like he says, don’t overdo it, people want to hear the music.
Turntablism is when you take the turntable and you turn it into an instrument and you do some really wild and crazy stuff with that. But for the most part, when people think of DJs, the think of the DJs playing the music and hyping up the crowd. And when you do that, a little bit of cutting and scratching is good but make sure you don’t go overboard.
Also, don’t quit once you start your set, don’t shout over the lyrics, of course that’s a major faux pas. You shouldn’t shout your name all over the tracks. Come on deejays, stop doing that, please!
So I hope he schooled some wannabe DJs out there or some DJs who are doing some of those things that don’t quite follow with hip-hop tradition. And, of course, his last point in the top ten is “find an emcee,” one that you really connect with because as he says, “DJing and MCing together is hip-hop’s true fusion.”
Nice points, very nice points from a great song. Gotta really give it up to Krs-one and DJ Revolution fro coming through there. I like at the end there when Krs-one stays, “Stand up for the culture” because we need to remember that this is not a business. I mean sure, hip-hop creates a lot of wealth for a lot of people and it is part of the music industry, but we have to remember that hip-hop is a culture and that we transcend the music industry. Please don’t forget that.
Stay tuned for Part 2 of the show tomorrow. If you can’t wait until then, please download the show for free right now so you can listen to the whole thing.  

If you cannot see the audio controls, listen/download the audio file here

Teaching Tip – Improvisational Stories

I tell improvisational stories to my students every year. I like that we can have fun creating something together. The students always seem to enjoy it as well.

Here’s how to do it.

1) Get the students to draw pictures. Don’t tell them why they are doing this either. Just let them know that everyone in the class will see their drawing and that we will be using it for an activity later. The drawings shouldn’t be too complex. They can be a single object or setting.
2) Take the drawings and put them into a bag.
3) Have the class sit down on the carpet and tell them that you will now tell them a story using their pictures.
4) Randomly pull out a picture from the bag and begin to tell a story using that picture as a starting point.
5) Continue telling the story by pulling out pictures to add to the narrative.

The best thing about this is that the students are involved in the creation of the story. The students take a lot of pride in their picture and the role it plays in shaping the narrative. Since we are in the process of figuring out the story together, I find that the students are always attentive.

This activity also shows that stories can be fun. They can be spontaneous and that you can take inspiration from the things around you. Hopefully this is a lesson that the kids will take with them and will inspire them to write and create their own stories.

Day 8 – I know all the words to this one (and many more)

Day 08 – A song that you know all the words to

Wow, this one is so vague. I know all the words to hundreds of songs, including pretty much every song Run-DMC has ever released. I used to play a game with friends where we would just start rapping and the other people would have to identify the song. We also did it the other way around by challenging each other to say any lyric from a certain artist.

My pick for this challenge is “Trapped” by 2Pac

“You know they got me trapped in this prison of seclusion
Happiness, living on the streets is a delusion
Even a smooth criminal one day must get caught
Shot up or shot down with the bullet that he bought
Nine millimeter kicking’ thinking about what the streets do to me
Cause they never talk peace in the black community
All we know is violence, do the job in silence
Walk the city streets like a rat pack of tyrants
Too many brothers daily heading for the big pen
Niggas coming out worse off than when they went in
Over the years I done a lot of growing up
Getting drunk throwing up, cuffed up
Then I said I had enough
There must be another route,
way out to money and fame,
I changed my name and played a different game
Tired of being trapped in this vicious cycle
If one more cop harasses me I just might go psycho
And when I get ’em, I’ll hit ’em with the bum rush
Only a lunatic would like to see his skull crushed
Yo, if you’re smart you’ll really let me go ‘G’
But keep me cooped up in this ghetto and catch the uzi
They got me trapped….”

They got me trapped
Can barely walk the city streets
Without a cop harrassing me, searching me, then asking my identity
Hands up, throw me up against tha wall
Didn’t do a thing at all
I’m telling you one day these suckers gotta fall
Cuffed up throw me on the concrete
Coppers try to kill me
But they didn’t know this was the wrong street
Bang bang, down another casualty
But it’s a cop who’s shot, there’s brutality
Who do you blame?
It’s a shame because the mans slain
He got caught in the chains of his own game
How can I feel guilty after all the things they did to me
Sweated me, hunted me
Trapped in my own community
One day I’m gonna bust
Blow up on this society
Why did ya lie to me ?
I couldn’t find a trace of equality
Work me like a slave while they laid back
Homie don’t play that
It’s time I lett’em suffer the payback
I’m trying to avoid physical contact
I can’t hold back, it’s time to attack jack
They got me trapped

Now I’m trapped and want to find a getaway
All I need is a ‘G’ and somewhere safe to stay
Can’t use the phone ‘cause I’m sure someone is tapping in
Did it before, ain’t scared to use my gat again
I look back at hindsight the fight was irrelevant
But now he’s the devil’s friend
Too late to be telling him
He shot first and I’ll be damned if I run away
Homie is done away I should of put my gun away
I wasn’t thinking all I heard was the ridicule
Girlies was laughing, Tup saying, “Damn homey’s dissing you”
I fired my weapon, started stepping in the hurricane
I got shot so I dropped, feeling a burst of pain
Got to my feet, couldn’t see nothing but bloody blood
Now I’m a fugitive to be hunted like a murderer
Ran through an alley, still looking for my getaway
Coppers said Freeze, or you’ll be dead today
Trapped in a corner, dark and I couldn’t see the light
Thoughts in my mind was the nine and a better life
What do I do?
Live my life in a prison cell
I’d rather die than be trapped in a living hell
They got me trapped.”

– 2Pac “Trapped” from the album 2Pacalypse Now

2Pac is a brilliant lyricist. He is one of the best emcees to ever touch a mic.

This song is off his first solo album and it was released in 1991.

Just check out the multi-syllabic rhymes.

“do to me” – “community”

“concrete” – “wrong street”

“irrelevant” – “devil’s friend”

There are a lot more in this song too. See if you can pick them up in this video. Enjoy!

Go to the Day 9 Song – I Can’t Dance, well maybe

Life Gives You 3 Answers

My neighbour gave me some advice yesterday that really spoke to my situation. He said that life gives you three answers,
“Yes, but wait.”

“No, there’s something better.”
When the love of my life left me in August, it nearly destroyed me. However, we remained friends and it gave me hope. I was always felt that we would get back together again and that we would find our happily ever after together. So for months and months, I was stuck on “Yes, but wait.”
Of course, the waiting was killing me. I wanted her in my life so bad. It hurt every day to think that she was out there living her life separate from me.
I don’t want to get into any of the details, but it is over now for sure.
I’m just scared to death that I will never feel that strongly again. I’m scared that she was “the one” and that for reasons beyond my control, we can never be together.
It hurts now and the future seems gloomy. Is it possible that there is someone out there who will love me as much as I love her? Could my neighbour be right?
I believe that things have a tendency to work out and if that’s the case, then surely there must be something out there that is better. My neighbour must be right. This 3 Answer Philosophy is pretty inspiring. It’s brilliant in it’s simplicity and it has really given me a good perspective on all of this.

Ya Down with O.P.P (not really)

Day 06 – A song that reminds of you of somewhere

Naughty by Nature “O.P.P”

The weird thing about living in Ontario is that O.P.P. also stands for “Ontario Provincial Police.” This song has nothing to do with the cops.

This reminds me of high school. Such an inappropriate song for us young kids to be listening to. But we did. It was like an anthem for all of us back then. I didn’t really get it then and don’t identify with the message even to this day. But it’s a fun song.

Go to the Day 7 song – a song that reminds me of skateboarding