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:
Occasionally I go on line to look for new clothing lines so I can stay wearing stuff that nobody else has. I like exclusive shit! So I came across a clothing Line called “American Rebel” on twitter about three weeks ago, I saw they had some tanks that were nice so I hit up the owner who goes by the name of Tony. I shot a few emails back and forth and in a couple days I had my Tank.
Little did I know that Tony does something else besides sell clothes. He raps, & well! After seeing a few tweets about his mixtape called Tony Bandanna, I thought Id check it out. They’re twitter page said they were from jersey and jersey being my 2nd home, I thought Id see what the Garden state been cookin up while I’ve been gone. When I heard this shit, I said Gotdamn this go so hard Ima have to write about it!
Black Pirate Entertainment is his Indie Label ( which is the way to go in Hip Hop nowadays), which I assume includes other artists and affiliates. His name is Tony Mike & his latest project is called Tony Bandanna. It was released on DatPiff.com, May 13th and its already got about 1600 streams and several downloads. Its definitely worth the listen and you might add another artist to your playlist like I did.
My favorite track on their is called “Do it Like Tony”. Its one of those songs that anybody can insert their own name & sing along too and feel like they’re the shit! I found myself saying “All All day long, Do it like Tosin, Get Get bankroll, Do it like Tosin….” You gotta listen to the song to know what Im talkin about so make sure you check this project out ASAP, TODAY, like RIGHT NOW ———————–> http://www.datpiff.com/mixtapes-detail.php?id=488361
One of my favorite songs on the project:
Follow Tony Mike on twitter: @TonyMike_
Check out the American rebel Clothing Line @ http://www.americanxrebel.com/
Check out the hashtag #BlackPirate on twitter to see what else is happenin wit Tony Mike & Black Pirate Ent. I think we will here from these guys real soon.
If you are an artist or promoter and want to get in touch with Tony Mike for entertainment purposes, here is his teams contact info: Booktonymike@gmail.com or text (856) 986-5993
So when yall playin this shit remember @Tosin_CKE put you on to it!…peace!
One of the cool things about being an artist is that you get to meet some of the most talented and creatively gifted people on the planet. In my case, I’ve been blessed to have had the opportunity of actually working with some of these artists and it’s an honor to now be on the other side of the entertainment industry conducting the interviews rather than being the topic of them. About 4 years ago, I met the very talented MC/DJ Oxygen in New York City and we instantly clicked. We have since collaborated on a couple of songs and also shot a video for a single that was released off of my “Lipstick n’ Microphones” Mixtape called “64 Bits”. Recently, I had the chance to catch up with the busy MC while returning from his European Tour. Check out what Oxygen has to say about what made him get into the business and his thoughts on the European Hip Hop scene.
DJ D.I.M.E.: How did you come up with the name Oxygen?
Oxygen: It was around the late 1990′s, and I had been out of the scene for several years. I was still doing some DJ’ing at the time while I was living in the south. I was also writing, but still hadn’t officially arrived as a recording artist. The situations that had fallen through for me during the early 90′s I wanted to wean myself from, and the start of that for me was to establish an attribute that was fitting. I came up with the name ‘Oxygen’ which served as a dual meaning. Refreshing myself, and bringing new life onto the scene with my new identity.
DJ D.I.M.E.: How long have you been in the business?
Oxygen: I recorded my first serious recordings in 1990, and my first record was released that same year. Back then, I was doing some recording down in Miami, FL with Bob Marley’s original chef and personal assistant named Gilly Dread. He had set up a meeting with Chris Blackwell at Island Records, but I didn’t have proper representation then so I never signed the contracts for a deal. That said, I never really “officially” entered the music business other than indy releases on smaller labels.
DJ D.I.M.E.: What was it like growing up in the Long Island area in regards to Hip Hop?
Oxygen: Long Island was lovely to grow up in. It wasn’t as fast paced as NY City. We were still exposed to everything culturally, and in my immediate area we had plenty of contributors to the craft. There would be lots of block parties, backyard parties, and street corner ciphers in addition to the various radio shows (mainstream and college) that kept us up to speed. It was all here though. The B-boying, the DJ’s, the writing, the emceeing, the fashion, the park jam tapes. It was great!
DJ D.I.M.E.: Which do you prefer rhyming or DJing?
Oxygen: I actually don’t have a preference. I love them both equally. I need to work more on my DJ skills though.
DJ D.I.M.E.: What made you get into MC’ing?
Oxygen: Coming up I was collecting records, attempting to DJ, and writing rhymes at the same time. Back then, it wasn’t out of the ordinary to be a DJ/MC. They kind of went hand-in-hand, especially when me and my little crew started getting into making our demo tapes. We would DJ while the next one rocked the mic, and vice versa. Around my way every summer, we had an event called “Wyandanch Day” which was essentially an anniversary party of the town held in the park. There would be a variety of DJ’s sound systems set up, and local emcees would get on and move the crowd. That was my first exposure to live MC’ing. I just liked the way the people responded and how they would freak the echo chamber. It’s a beautiful thing.
DJ D.I.M.E.: As a DJ who are your most influential DJs?
Oxygen: Wow. It’s hard to pick just one. There’s so many types of DJ’s, and I’ve been influenced by so many over the years. I can’t even say I have a MOST influential one though.
DJ D.I.M.E.: I know you just came off of an European tour; how does the European Hip Hop scene differ from the U.S. scene?
Oxygen: Definitely the appreciation level seems to be way higher outside of the U.S. My highest concentration of shows in the states have been right in New York. One thing I noticed about doing shows abroad, heads are more inclined to nod their heads & rock to your songs even if they aren’t familiar with them. I love rocking here at home for the natives too. It’s a bit more challenging, but those stone faces in the crowd help keep you on your square.
DJ D.I.M.E.: What was it like to tour with Hip Hop icons Public Enemy?
Oxygen: That was only just a spot date although they were on a full tour. That experience was awesome! I think the illest part was walking through the crowd before PE came on and noticing three generations of Hip Hop present. There will never be another group in this lifetime like Public Enemy. It was a great honor to share the stage with them, especially me being a HUGE fan and also from Long Island rocking out in another country. Very proud moment.
DJ D.I.M.E.: Who are your most influential musical artists?
Oxygen: Curtis Mayfield, Stevie Wonder, Billy Joel, Earth Wind & Fire, Nina Simone, Chicago, John Coltrane, Black Thought, Big Daddy Kane, KRS, Rakim, System Of A Down, Whitney Houston…….. the list goes on and on.
DJ D.I.M.E.: What new projects do you have on the table; any future projects coming up?
Oxygen: My group Soundsci just wrapped up an album with Ubiquity Records titled “Soundsational”. Still cooking up treats with my brother, DJ Spinna. Our next SPOX PhD single is just about wrapped up. A few features on deck too with Fabreeze Brothers (Paul Nice & Phill Most Chill), Live Percenters, and Wyld Bunch.
DJ D.I.M.E.: Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
Oxygen: Traveling the world with my daughter, 10-15 lbs slimmer, still entertaining in some capacity, and I do wish to go back to school at some point to get a degree.
DJ D.I.M.E.: Do you prefer being an underground artist or do you aspire to become mainstream?
Oxygen: Underground is cool. However I do aspire to have some of my music available for licensing in film or commercials. THAT level of mainstream is the dream.
DJ D.I.M.E.: How did you come up with the video concept for “Gone Diggin’”?
Oxygen: That was a collective concept between myself and the filmmakers, Fishing Cat Films. They were extremely pleasant to work with and did a fantastic job piecing all those parts together. I love watching that video still.
Images by: Stephen Collier
Oxygen ”Gone Diggin” video:
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”:
15 Years In The Trenches With DJ Innovation (Interview) DJ Innovation is getting a >>Read more..