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 DJs With Art And Culture?

Nicole Bennet

"Two turntables and a microphone" seem to be all it takes these days to be considered an artist. The days when being a musician meant actually playing a musical instrument are over. With the growing rave scene, disc jockeys are becoming the self-proclaimed artists of pop culture.

On February 8, Kurt B. Reighley, a.k.a. DJ El Toro, released a book entitled Looking for the Perfect Beat: The Art and Culture of the DJ with a little help from MTV Books. While many of us are still wondering how exactly art or culture seep into the insular world of the club DJ, ravers and club-bunnies are slowly pushing the subculture of underground music into the mainstream. The modern DJ is a far cry from the party music guy with the bad jokes that once defined the term DJ in most people’s minds. Now kids with candy necklaces and drug-glazed eyes groove to the explosive beats of DJ-styled remixes in clubs throughout the country.

Reighley’s new book is one more sign that DJs are becoming legitimate players in the music industry. A DJ himself, Reighley profiles the big names behind the turntables, including Limp Bizkit’s DJ Lethal, Paul Oakenfold, Afrika Bambaataa, and Juan Atkins.

While abounds with books about how to become a DJ, there are precious few (as in only one) that try to relate "The DJ" to "art" and "culture." To be fair, it may be that no one else has dared to find the courage to strike out into this uncharted literary territory. More likely there just isn’t much to say on the subject—in fact, even Reighley doesn’t have much to offer. With 40 DJs sharing everything they know about "art," the book is still only a pocket-sized 176 pages.

For those with the burning desire to unravel the sphinx-like mystery that is DJ culture, all your questions can be answered for a mere $12.95—and who wouldn’t pay twice that for a sneak peak into such high culture?

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