The Beat Junkies / DJ Babu

The World Famous Beat Junkies, Vol. 1

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Turntablism: at times, extraordinary. At others, kind of like watching a musical circus act. Luckily, the first mix album put out by the Beat Junkies collective gives the reigns to International Turntablist Federation world-champion (and Dilated Peoples member) DJ Babu with very few moments of stylistic silliness. This turntablist mix simply knows when to let the actual tunes take center stage. So, while there is more than enough deck trickery, Babu lets songs such as Kool Keith's "Lovely Lady" or the De La Soul, A Tribe Called Quest, and Jungle Brothers collaboration "How Ya Want It" play out with little overbearing technical wizardry. Which isn't to say the mix is lacking in skills. He also consistently adds unobtrusive layers of background scratches and beats as he lets Beat Junkies founder J-Rocc chime in every once awhile to praise the laid-back party. Babu even takes a segment in the middle of the mix to show off a drunken, sultry flurry of fantastic beat-juggling that should impress even the most trainspottery of turntablism fans. If his style could be described, it would include the fact that he uses a much more soulful and collaborative effort with the original recordings instead of a reliance on lightning deck-blaze aesthetics, which can only be good. Because this first volume in the World Famous Beat Junkies series proudly shows off skills that adhere just to the grooves themselves -- and even the biggest opponents to "style over substance" would have to applaud that.

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