Vive La Revolution – DJ Cut Killer
December 5, 2006, 2:47 pm
Filed under: A DJ Saved My Life, Album Reviews

Really pleased with the comments so far – keep them coming people! Going to stick with Sendspace for the moment but let me know if you are experiencing problems downloading.

Wanted to switch it up with this next post so have turned my attention to the other side of the big blue expanse that separates the US from Europe. DJ Cut Killer is a stalwart of the French hip hop scene and was first brought to my attention in a film called ‘La Haine’ that was originally released in 1995. The film follows three french youths of varied racial/cultural descent and documents their lives in the wake of riots in the outskirts of Paris. It is wonderfully shot and heavily ingrained in hop hop culture featuring breakdancing scenes and a mysterious DJ scratching the shit out of KRS’ ‘Sound of da Police’ vocal over a beat that samples Edith Piaf’s ‘Je Ne Regrette Rien’. That DJ is Cut Killer. Needless to say, it left a distinct impression upon me and I consider the film to be a must-see.

Cut Killer began as many scratch DJs do: battling hard on the DMC circuit. From here he progressed to some of his own production work and is probably the most prolific of all French turntablists in terms of mixtape output. These are of a variable quality (not as a result of his skills which are unquestionably deep) due to some strange track selections which often feature the more commercial side of American R ‘n’ B. If that’s your thang then cop his ‘Cut Killer Soul Party’ series as they are dedicated to exactly that style of content but they have never really drawn my interest. The two albums featured today however are prime examples of a highly skilled DJ blending, juggling and scratching classic beats with the added intrigue of French joints that would otherwise have escaped my attention.

The beauty of these mixes is that they have a live feel. They seem raw and spontaneous: no post-production fiddling here. There is a cohesive mix of the styles from either side of the Atlantic although some of the freestyle sections lose impact after the first couple of minutes. Generally speaking, Cut Killer knows when to stop and let the music speak for itself. Particularly impressive is the Das EFX section of ‘Menage a 3’ that features a variety of boom bap classics linked by lyrical references that hint towards the next beat.

France has always struck me as a country that easily embraced hip hop culture without the crisis of identity that I believe has affected other nations outside of the US. I intend to post other French hip hop in the future: keep me bookmarked ‘mes amis’.

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