Various Artists 

Scratch Attack Vol. 1

The undeniable kingpins of over-the-top DJ heroics and brain-boggling scratch music, Oakland's Hip Hop Slam has been giving shine to irreverent artists since 1986. Through guerrilla radio shows, a magazine, TV specials, independent records, and their own video series, Billy Jam and company have prolifically promoted fiercely experimental sounds from hundreds if not thousands of heads, both local and international. The latest release is a 25-track collection of DJ routines from Hip Hop Slam's Scratch Attack radio program, which broadcast thirteen episodes on KPFA between January 2001 and February 2002.

Scratch Attack Vol. 1 is a distinct blend of overflowing skills, creativity, and humor (don't miss the shout-out from downstairs sandwich mack/Letterman cohort Rupert Jee). Pioneering icons like Kool Herc, Afrika Bambaataa, and Grand Wizard Theodore provide some choice commentary and give props, while local legend Shortkut recalls the sad tale of his records getting jacked by an airline luggage handler. But the real meat here is the scratching, as more than twenty different (mostly local) turntable technicians get live on the decks.

Standout joints include Golden Chyld's "Sir Golden Chyld Boulevard," a sick megamix featuring bits and pieces from assorted old-school classics, merged with ever-changing beats and furious cuts. DJ Ngobility's "Turntable Nobility" makes excellent use of familiar TV theme music and booming horns, while DJ Stoic brings the mellowness on "Autumn Shuffle," flexing moody pianos and strings alongside a gang of diced vocals. Other bangers include DJ Platurn's ultra-funky "Meltdown," Kraftjerkz' furious, weed-scented "Canibinoidz," and Snayk Eyez' hometown anthem "Bay Area Skratch." Scratch Attack is inspiring, insane, intense, and just plain ill.

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