Grandmixer D.S.T.

b. Derek Howells, 23 August 1960, New York City, New York, USA. Born and raised in the south Bronx area - the tough spawning ground of many of the finest first-generation hip-hop artists - scratch DJ…
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Artist Biography

b. Derek Howells, 23 August 1960, New York City, New York, USA. Born and raised in the south Bronx area - the tough spawning ground of many of the finest first-generation hip-hop artists - scratch DJ DST was a member of Afrika Bambaataa’s street gang/sound system crew the Zulu Nation, before quitting to carve out a solo career in 1982 with the single ‘Grandmixer Cuts It Up’ on French label Celluloid, backed by the Infinity Rappers (KC Roc and Shahiem). With a formidable underground reputation behind him, he achieved international breakthrough in 1983 as the scratcher on Herbie Hancock’s ‘Rockit’, and was prominently featured on other tracks from Hancock’s album Future Shock the same year. It was the first collaboration between jazz and hip-hop, until then seen as mutually exclusive forms. In 1984, he enjoyed an international dancefloor hit with his own single, ‘Crazy Cuts’. He raised his profile further with a series of collaborations with avant-funk/jazz producer Bill Laswell, producer of Future Shock and ‘Rockit’, appearing on a wide range of Laswell-produced tracks by Deadline, Manu Dibango, Foday Musa Suso and Material. A supremely talented, musical scratcher, DST’s star faded in the late 80s as new generations of DJs replaced him in hip-hop’s notoriously short-shelf-life marketplace. (DST derived his tag from the New York garment district’s Delancey Street, where the young DJ was often to be found in the late 70s adding to his collection of fashion wear.)