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Spin '05 Finals: "The DJ is the Foundation"

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Photo by Anna Martino.

DMC would re-iterate that throughout the night as he hosted Guitar Center's Spin '05 Finals at the Wiltern this past Saturday. "The DJ is the foundation of hip hop. Without the DJ we wouldn't be here." The Fantastik 4 and Power 106's Mr. Choc tried to give him his own shine, "Without Run DMC, we wouldn't be here," he said but this godfather of rap wasn't having it. "It is all about the DJ!"

We're not sure if Jeremy Piven, Efren Ramirez and Andy Milonakis understood those nuances of the roots of hip hop but the crowd sure did. As the eight finalists took the stage one by one, the crowd oohed and aahed at the intrictate scratch techniques and beat manipulation. DJs Illtrax (of San Jose) and Spare Change (of Dayton, Ohio) stood well ahead of the pack. Spare Change was the true scratch master using his mouth, his feet and the decks themselves to cut the records back and forth. Illtrax, though, is a beat conductor. His was the only finalist set that brought both turntable skills and simple record mastery. While wowing the judges, he cold rocked the party and thus made it to the ultimate battle with last year's champion, I-Emerge.

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And then the favored son from San Jose (who had a huge fan base in the audience) got eaten alive. I-Emerge regularly wins DJ battles and it was obvious on this night why. He went through more records than any of the other DJs and was a true showman, smashing his final record on the Technics deck.

The only question after the battle was why so many DJs used Gwen Stefani's Hollaback Girl as the signature beat in their sets?