DJ Innovation is getting a little too old for this shit. The damn rap music coming out these days sounds nothing like the soulful 90s beats from The Pharcyde or A Tribe Called Quest he still favors. Not to mention all these groups he keeps working with that don’t seem to consider the DJ an equal position as the other band mates.
“I’ve been grinding and grinding but it seems like when I stop grinding there are few people who will grind for me,” Inno confides, “They don’t ever seem to remember who put them on back when they were just starting out once they pass you in exposure and booking opportunities.”
Here is Innovation with Underated’s Heavyset on ‘Underated By Most’:
This topic came up numerous times in various ways during my recent interview with Innovation (aka Shawn Lynch) a Southside St. Louis resident DJ of both the record spinning and scratch crushing variety. Over a hard fought, tumultuous decade and a half Inno has worked with most of the influential Hip Hop and Rock bands in the STL music scene and performed with the likes of Wu-Tang, Gift Of Gab, Planet Asia, M80, & Kool Keith.
To call DJ Innovation a Marathon Man is an understatement. Inno is the DJ who is already up and spinning by doors at the club and stays on to scratch with every act that comes on that night. He’s right back up there in between sets throwing down dope mash ups of old classics mixed with the latest superfly instrumentals. Innovation is the last to leave the stage at the end of the night….continuing his onslaught of hot wax until last call at the club. DJing live for 7 hours straight on the 1s and 2s is nothing new to him.
Innovation has an ear for what’s good and isn’t afraid to speak his mind about whether he likes something or not. This has proved problematic on occasion when insecure rapper’s feathers get ruffled but he stands by his guns,
“I have this little pocket that fits in my ear and not much music fits in it….but it’s a pleasure when something does!”
Check out DJ Innovation scratching with Silly J Skills on ‘I Can Feel It’:
Speaking from personal experience I can attest that Inno rarely minces words. But isn’t that what we truly want from our DJ? Even when Innovation would criticize the mix on a song of mine or tell me he didn’t care for a certain verse on a record I knew it was coming from a genuinely passionate and constructive place. He was a behind the scenes string puller and ghost maven connector of the STL underground. He ran with St. Louis Hip Hop pioneers Midwest Avengers & helped DJ, produce, & promote The Red Sea Mic Fights which were my first serious successful foray into Battle Rapping. Inno was on the wheels when I won my first battle title. Then my second the following week. And my third the week after that. We’ve been cosmic allies ever since.
Over 15 years of hard work Innovation found a way to make his live DJ skills and his next level scratching ability open doors into numerous different entertainment arenas. From an early impromptu scratch battle in Puerto Rico Puma store with DJ Godfather to spinning a halftime set at STL’s Busch Stadium during a Cardinals/Cubs game he has been many places and slain many dragons. The list of local STL artists he has featured with includes Intellect Emcee, Core Project, Underated, Pandelerium, Mr. I, LK, So’N'So & Silly J Skills. He has M80 and RA the Rugged Man’s management info in his cell phone. He has collaborated with artists in Germany, United Kingdom, & Australia.
Here is Inno with Pandelerium on ‘Max Pain’ ft Tef Poe & Corey Black:
Innovation is married to wife Candace Lynch and the new father of a bouncing baby boy Logan Lynch. He’s still grinding but with a new sense of refinement. Club gigs are few and far between for the DJ who has toured all over the Missouri and Illinois college towns and blazed a path through the majority of the Midwest. From Minneapolis to Colorado Springs, Kansas City to Chicago, Columbus to Carbondale he has figuratively ‘been there and done that’ to the death.
Now DJ Innovation helps run the music programming for my internet radio show/podcast ‘Tucker Booth Needs A Job’ every Monday from 2-4 LA Time (4-6 STL Time) on www.killradio.org. Through his weekly segment ‘Pump It Or Dump It’ Inno introduces us to a wide array of music he knows and loves by artists he knows need the exposure. I am proud to say that Innovation and I are breaking new music each and every week now on Kill Radio. That may be the achievement of Inno’s I admire most.
DJ Innovation: Perpetual Tastemaker. Catlike Reflexes. Ear For Dopeness. Still Ahead Of The Curve. Headed For Greatness. What Are His Future Aspirations?
“I aspire to be on as many quality albums and works of music as possible. I aspire to keep doing music in the future and work with quality artists to reach new levels of artistic development.”
Classic Innovation Indeed.
Interview c/o Kill Radio and www.radio4all.net. Search the Podcast Directory on www.radio4all.net for over 60+ ‘Tucker Booth’ & Hip Hop related podcasts.
Audio Interview With DJ Innovation:
What can yet another Internet knucklefuck opine about L.A. Laker headcase Metta World Peace (aka Ron Artest) that hasn’t been opined before?
Anyone familiar with the last decade of National Basketball Association action will most likely flashback to Artest’s 2004 punching of a Detroit Piston’s fan while on the Indiana Pacers that incited a full scale riot in The Palace Of Auburn Hills. As the near folk tale goes Ron Artest (who was currently the reigning NBA Defensive Player Of The Year and brick wall busted bad boy) set things off late in a garbage time drubbing of the Pistons. Piston’s center Ben Wallace was on his way to the hoop for a routine lay up when Ron gave an unnecessary hard foul based on the all but insurmountable Pacer lead.
Wallace retaliated by hard shoving Metta/Ron before both benches cleared to defend their respective teammates. This is where the story goes from average to insane: Artest went over to the sideline and laid down on the scorer’s table before being hit in the head by a full cup of beer….instantly drenching him.
Before taking the time to scan the stands for the culprit Artest charged headfirst into the crowd and punched the first irate looking fan he could find flush in the chops. Unfortunately for Ron he decked an innocent bystander who had not been the source of the brew battery. The fan was literally knocked off his feet by the blow and from there a full scale riot ensued in The Palace. The victim sustained enough physical damage to file a massive lawsuit against Ron Artest and the NBA.
Peruse the riot carnage here:
As a result of his retaliatory misstep Artest brought serious embarrassment to the NBA became one of only 2 players in League history to receive an full year’s suspension for violent behavior (rivaling only former Golden State Warrior Latrell Sprewell’s choking of coach P.J. Carlesimo). It also solidified Ron’s reputation as the League’s new Dennis Rodman….the nut job hatchet man enforcer who always seemed to be one step away from losing his shit. Artest also remained the man an opposing player least wanted to lock horns with on the court.
Even after a concerted media campaign to smooth over his tarnished image Artest came back to a closed door in Indianapolis. After the Pacers cut him Ron bounced around the NBA for a few forgettable seasons before getting a shot at rewriting his NBA story when the Lakers signed him after their 2009 championship season. Artest spent much of the first part of 2010 searching for a suddenly absent offensive game while morphing into the Lake Show’s most fierce defender.
When the Lakers made a return to the 2010 NBA Finals Ron battled injuries throughout the playoff run before coming up huge for L.A. in Games 6 & 7 of their eventual title defense against the Boston Celtics. Artest’s unexpected 20 point offensive outburst in Game 7 (including a clutch 3 pointer in the closing minutes) became one of the most entertaining subplots of the series. Afterward Laker head coach Phil Jackson dubbed Artest the team’s most valuable player of Game 7.
In his post game interview with ABC’s Doris Burke after clinching the championship the soon to be artist-formerly-known-as-Ron Artest uttered one of the most authentically unfiltered lines in sports history “I’d really like to thank my doctor….my psychiatrist….she really helped me relax a lot!” He also unceremoniously plugged his upcoming rap song ‘Champions’ which he confessed was penned and recorded over the previous year when he was still in the hunt for a championship. Doris Burke threw her hands up and said “I’m just going to let him go, Guys!” and then watched Artest start squealing ecstatically like an adolescent….Cheshire Cat grin tattooed on his mug. His childlike joy and lighthearted megalomania were enough to satiate any lover of sports goofballs the world over.
Check dig the interview clip:
Little did the public know that Ron Artest’s wacky behavior was about to ratchet itself up to a whole new level of laughable. Within weeks of being crowned an NBA Champion Artest sent a press release to the media informing the public that he had legally changed his name to the artistically cryptic moniker ‘Metta World Peace’. When asked about the significance of his radical name swap Metta told reporters it was in support of his fledgling rap career. He also spoke of a mystical vision of influencing social change with the words ‘World Peace’ emblazoned on the back of his jersey. I recall cracking endlessly wise with my friends imagining NBA commentators exclaiming “World Peace FOR THREEEE!!!!” or “World Peace with the BIG BLOCK AT THE RIM!!!”
Over the next 2 seasons Mr. World Peace came back to the Lakers out of shape and was demoted to a back up role by new Laker coach Mike Brown. By around 2011 the man who had rehabbed his image from riot inciting stooge to J Walter Kennedy Citizenship Award Winner for his community work seemed to slip back into old negative patterns. More fights on the court (including a celebratory elbow after a dunk that caught OKC Thunder guard James Harden upside the skull causing him a concussion). Metta also began consistently releasing his rap singles to mass ridicule and critical savagery. Vice Beta summed his lyrical talent up this way:
“Not to get all “Professional Rap Critic” on you, but the song sucks a gazillion dog dicks. It sounds like he’s trying to be a different rapper every single bar (He’s rapping too fast on purpose like late-90s Cam’ron! Now he’s some generic Atlanta rapper! Now his inflection’s making him sound like Vast Aire!?!?), which is usually a thing that happens when you write your verse and try to match it to the beat once you’re in the studio. Oh, and the beat itself sounds like a barely-warmed-over Zaytoven leftover. This is not, unfortunately, Metta World Peace’s first foray into the music world. He also put out a really dumb song called “Champions”.
This may be one of the nicest critiques there is online of his rap songs.
World Peace responded to the haters in XXL by stating “My music is strictly for the fans” and then defending his Hip Hop street cred by referencing his Queensbridge, New York upbringing and rap allies:
“The rap game is definitely something that I idolize,” he started “I always thought it an honor, growing up in the same neighborhood as Nas and Mobb Deep. One of the major reasons, probably the only reason I wanted to rap, was because of Nas and Mobb Deep. They also pushed me to become great on the court, because in the hood, in our neighborhood, it was all about who is hot. Who has the flyest kicks? Who is popping right now? Who is shining? That’s not the proper way to be raised, but that’s how we were raised. I wanted to be one of the people from my hood that was shining, and I knew that basketball was going to help me shine in my hood. I couldn’t compete with those guys rapping, but I knew basketball wise I could definitely shine and land. But with that said, paying homage to those guys, Nas and Mobb Deep, I’m proud to say Capone is my cousin, proud to say CNN is damn near family, CNN. I’m proud that Rashan Shante used to babysit me when I was a baby, one of the first rappers. I’m proud to say that Nature’s mom had me over for Thanksgiving every year. I was raised with his little brother; Nature was older. Just hanging out with the whole block family. These famous rappers I used to wake up to kill mice for me in my apartment back in the day. Tragedy dated my sister when I was a young kid; it just goes on and on.”
Recently while ambling through my Facebook news feed I perchanced upon an update from Metta’s music page advertising a new free download called ‘Point Of No Return’ featuring Kansas City rap legend Tech N9Ne. Even though I was amused by the thought of World Peace attempting to trade bars with the mighty Tech I had to know if Metta Ron Artest’s flow was truly as dog dick deep throat worthy as the cyber trolls claimed.
Turned out the peanut gallery blew things out of proportion. World Peace isn’t super awful. Just awful enough to be snubbed by former Pacers teammate Stephen Jackson when he put out his own rap record a few years back.
The music I’ve heard made me smile, laugh, bob my head, and gave me much needed perspective on the rascally baller. While he obviously pails in comparison to ringer rap guests like Tech N9Ne, Prodigy, and Jim Jones he has an authentic voice/flow that doesn’t contrast much from his natural cadence and vocal tone. He makes some foolish style choices (including a poor man’s Lil Wayne meets T-Pain Auto Tune chorus on ‘Point Of No Return’) but like his Game 7 postgame interview he was absolved of this author’s scorn due to his transparent enthusiasm and lyrical earnestness.
In other words: Metta World Peace is not afraid to drop tracks with titles like ‘Get Like Me’ and ‘Blood In My Gatorade.’
Any pragmatist reading this write up is encouraged to take World Peace’s records with a grain of salt. The only way one can become as jaded as the Vice Beta bloggers is if they purely analyze Metta’s music based on his reputation and other legit artist’s work.
There is an obvious rap learning curve Artest has been ascending with relative quickness. My prediction is that World Peace’s next album may even have a pop hit or two on it. Even being as average rap wise as many instinctively assumed he would be in 2010 Metta is learning on the fly and seemingly getting to know himself through the process.
Will Metta ever become the champion he rightfully became on the basketball court in 2010? Most likely not. Is he better than 50% of the mush mouthed so-called emcees masquerading on commercial radio and MTV2? Mos Def. Is Metta a better rapper than Mos Def? No fucking way.
Ironically World Peace does possess the one intangible most rappers can only fantasize about: Genuine Superstar Status. And actual improvement potential. World Peace’s deep voice is strong and engaging. His bars are intentionally and accidentally amusing. Metta makes the rap offerings of Shaquille O’Neal, Allen Iverson, & Tony Parker look like brain dead drivel.
I know what you’re thinking….Not Shaq Diesel! Alas even Kazaam gets eclipsed by his mentally colorful contemporary. Plus who else has ever rap battled Arsenio Hall?
Stephen Jackson eat your heart out.
Metta World Peace ft. Tech N9Ne – “Point Of No Return”:
I got a chance last month to chew the fat by phone with Hip Hop Superman M80 on L.A.’s own www.killradio.org. Beyond being a Freestyle Rap Phenomenon who holds the Guinness World Record for World’s Longest Freestyle (9+ hours straight) M80 may be one of the toughest white rappers on the planet. He has battled many men who have wished death on him and he has prevailed. How many of you would have the nuts to battle Canibus?
In his own words on his Twitter profile M describes himself as an “A&R Extraordinaire with 15 Billboard Hip-Hop & R&B Top 200 releases for clients including Wu-Tang, Kurupt, Canibus, Redman, Keith Murray, Planet Asia, & more!” @almightym80
From the sound of things his life is on a continuous uptrend and we should expect to see big things from M80 in the summer months including stops at Coachella and Hempcon L.A. Check out his smoking hot website & accessories at http://www.glasscity419.com.
On this episode we caught up fresh off of M80′s recent tour with Wu-Tang’s Cappadonna. As per usual awesomeness ensued.
In case you couldn’t tell from my profile pic I am a white boy from the suburbs. This does not mean I am a narc, mark, or oligarch but it does make me innately square. Face it: what kind of Honors English Dork drops ‘oligarch’ in their first 4 stanzas? The prosecution rests.
Born on the tail end of Generation X I scarcely recall a time in my life where I didn’t feel compelled to fight the power while simultaneously aligning myself with the power source and benefiting from its’ amenities. With this scurrlious and hypocritical game plan came opportunities to subvert my surrounding conservative compatriots’ social values, ideals, & biases. These countrified folks wanted no part of anything even remotely “urban.” Trips to the city were made for work or to enjoy the entertainments within but there was never any thought of emulating their aesthetic surroundings. If anything the litter and graffiti that strafed our city blocks became a bitter reminder to the suburbanites of not only why they didn’t want to live in the city…but what was wrong with human nature. Graf had no artistic value in their eyes. Bombing & Tagging pieces were no more than unsightly vandalism that deserved to be taken down ASAP.
As I referenced earlier I had a healthy compulsion for breaking the rules as a youth. If you made a list of all the ‘bad’ things I did I’m sure crudely scrawled chicken scratch graffiti made it on there occasionally. That said I never fashioned myself much of a visual artist so any sort of painting (spray can regardless) was daunting and seemingly unmasterable to me. I did have friends who made amazing graf pieces in their sketch books and on canvass who would go on tagging & bombing missions in the wee hours of night. I definitely was thrilled by the cloak and dagger appeal of these outlaw Hip Hop Rembrandts and their dangerous pastime but knew better than to think I was either talented or slick enough to get away with joining in the subterfuge. Thus I took my appreciation for all things creative and illegal & relegated myself to the role of sideline appreciator & constant noticer of all things Graf.
Every Monday I take the Vermont/Sunset Metro Bus into the heart of Hollywood. I start out 20 miles away at the Metro Link station and make the hour long trek to my radio show going right by the USC campus & football stadium. Even out here in my current L.A. suburb of Redondo Beach the neighborhoods I span on my Monday bus trip are considered ghetto. Burnt out buidlings, package liquor stores, & check cashing shops line each and every street. Graffiti, impressive and shitty looking, drenches every conceivable square acre of space. Every wall a mural meets message board for taggers to battle & communicate. Since I am a relative novice I look at it with the same wistful ignorance as many of the urban campers who live in tents down by the Metro Link tracks. I am drawn to the naughty nature of the act itself but have no idea how to personalize the stark information I’ve been directly presented. Since the nature of this type of artistry has to be protected for obvious there are few glossaries to consult when trying to sort gang code banter from authentic bombing artisanry.
As if on cue I was hipped to the least square website I may have ever peeped. Bombing Science (www.bombingscience.com) is a graffiti culture megasite complete with a plethora of great pics of Walls, Freight Trains, Street Art, Tags, & Bombing from all over the world. Graf geniuses spanning from Paris to Montreal to Barcelona to Panama City to New York City & L.A. are being featured in a variety of forums with expert layout and analysis.
Bombing Science features in depth interviews with a revolving door of dope dudes including Tox, Omen, & Joe Volt. Their blog section is also impressive with an active assortment of articles on all things graffiti such as debates on the merits of graffiti vs. street art. I dare think you may be able to dig add infinitum and never run out of tantalizing images to enjoy. There is also a full service shop that sells spray paint, markers, tips, books, movies, magazines, shoes, and Graf/Hip-Hop clothing accessories.
Nearly everything I’ve laid my eyes on so far is quintessentially “Sick.” Even as square as I know I am it would be out of character to demand you do anything I recommend. If I were to be that obtuse I would so totally force you to go immerse yourself in the fine art of Bombing Science. You wouldn’t regret it.
15 Years In The Trenches With DJ Innovation (Interview) DJ Innovation is getting a >>Read more..