DJ Q-Bert

Demolition Pumpkin Squeeze Music

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The format of choice for a hip-hop DJ wanting to establish a reputation has long been the mix tape. Production cost is minimal, and while distribution may be limited, it's sufficient for creating a local following. Many well-known rappers and DJs began their careers with this medium. While they may seem like relics these days, cassette tapes continued to thrive in the underground rap world long after the advent of the CD. Along with Invisibl Skratch Piklz performances and The Shiggar Fraggar Show releases, the Demolition Pumpkin Squeeze Music tape established Q-Bert's reputation on the wheels of steel. A continuous mix of cobwebbed breakbeats, highly inventive scratches, and an endless array of hilarious samples, it begins on page one of a fantastical Buck Rogers/Spiderman serial, followed by extended use of Rush's "Tom Sawyer." Before you can check to make sure you put the right tape in your deck, however, the mayhem begins. A chattering beat starts up which Q-Bert repeats (looping manually on turntables) and rearranges. Just when you begin to settle in, he drops a sweet slice of funk and you can feel the party vibe. Only moments later, however, he's off again on another tangent. The results can be daunting at first. He never heads too far into any one direction before bringing out another rhythm, but of course, that's the idea, and after a while the tape's internal logic begins to make perfect sense. It's a valuable look into an often ignored and maligned subculture. Included are lessons on graffiti art, a seminar on the tonal possibilities of the turntable, and a veritable breakbeat primer. All of this is merely a byproduct of a highly entertaining non-stop mix.

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