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History of DJ KRUSH [review]

Of all of the mid-90s Mo' Wax producers, DJ KRUSH was the first I was truly into (DJ Shadow eclipsed him, but was not the first). I remember copping Meiso and being in awe at the mixture of deep, moody atmospherics and the unabashed love for Hip-Hop (lyrics by CL Smooth, Black Thought and others never hurt!) that sucked me in, and made me realize: Hip-Hop is bigger than the US, bigger than basic 16s and a hook, and it was something that was NOT going away. 12 years later, I was right on the money, and when I heard that there was a 3(!) DVD set giving you previously-unseen footage of one of my musical idols, I promptly fell out of my chair, running to relisten to his older CDs, like KRUSH or MiLight, trying to remember how I felt the first time.

Turns out I didn't need to... this DVD is all you need. A perfect addition to the collection of the true KRUSH fan, and a great primer for those who want to know what all of the fuss is about. Over the 3 DVDs, the first of many truths came clear: DJ KRUSH is a master of mixing. His DJ sets are more performance than selection, as I've only heard him drop a mix of his own tracks, but he will start to drop the echobox on his tracks, and then on top of all of that, grab a piece of wax and cut some slick sounds over top - nothing that overpowers the mood or track, just a perfect accent to the live mix. In watching DVD 1, A-Un, you get to peek at a previously-unreleased-on-DVD promo video done for Japan that seems to have been a project done FOR MiLight that encompassed KRUSH's travels up to that point. It included a lot of the "messages" from MiLight, and also showed KRUSH on tour and in the studio, working on the tracks. This lead to my second truth: "Kemuri" is such an anthem, no matter when/where he drops it, the crowd goes crazy. It's sucha hypnotic track, it's kind of wild when you realize the cut is 13 years old... but I put it on today, and it smokes a lot of the drivel that's out now!

Disc 2 is the real treat, though: Ko-no-Michi goes from Meiso to 2006, showing in depth footage of KRUSH all over the world: on tour, in the studio, on the streets, and on the rooftop. A performance on the rooftop in Tokyo is the true treat here: just KRUSH, lights and his setup, and you get front row seats to see him GO OFF! A few highlights: the scene where KRUSH and Shadow were working on "Duality", and the proceeding interview - you could tell the language barrier was there, but it wasn't: it was Hip-Hop; DJ KRUSH and ILL-BOSSTINO speaking on the making of "Candle Chant (A Tribute)" - ILL was on some other shit, really deep about their meeting, and KRUSH was kind of silent - just lighting a candle (and a boagie) and letting the track play; KRUSH in Jamaica with Sly & Robbie, grooving to the ill sounds... there's just so many awe-inspriring things caught on video that ended up in this documentary. The only thing I didn't like was that, sometimes, the footage got chopped. For example, in an interview with DJ Shadow, they were interspersing his words with footage, but his words would get clipped; it wasn't that big of a deal, but it happened a few other times. No harm, no foul, though, for the real gems of this disc are the performances, and KRUSH himself speaking on his journey. Disc 3, Clips, is just that: a 9-video compilation of DJ KRUSH's music videos. You can tell the progression: "Only The Strong Survive" has a really fuzzy quality to it, but with all of the quick cuts, you can tell something else was going on. It's good to get a lot of these videos in the States, because I think, before this DVD, I had no idea he MADE music videos!

It felt awesome to hear some of these fans, producers, DJs, MCs, singers... everyone on this set perfectly understood what KRUSH was about: his initial timidness around American rappers in NY; his samurai-like precision (and mood) when it comes to providing atmosphere and vibes into his tracks; his beautiful ear for sound; his warm heart, buried behind a darker past, that continues to come forth; and the sense of "how do we get to that next level", which always seems to underly everything he does. As Hip-Hop fans, DJ KRUSH fans, and just fans of great music, you will be silly to sleep on this DVD set when it drops. Grab it, then go through his catalogue and grab what you can find. KRUSH will go down in history as one of the premier producers and artists. And only then will his true genius be understood...

rock the dub gives History of DJ KRUSH a 4.6 out of 5 stars: classic footage, great performances, and a glimpse behind the mask show a truly unique human being and producer.

essential links:
DJ KRUSH's website
rock the dub: History of DJ Krush 3-DVD Set to be released!
Pre-order at CD Universe

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