KEXP Documentaries: Masters of Turntablism – DJ Kool Herc

photo by Devon Akmon

Even though their parents said “Don’t touch the turntable!” these DJs, including the Founding Fathers of Scratch — Kool Herc, Grandwizzard Theodore, GrandMixer DST, Grandmaster Flash, Afrika Bambaataa, The X-Ecutioners, Mix Master Mike, Q-Bert, Cut Chemist and DJ Shadow — used their hands to change the speed and volume of records, playing the turntable like a musical instrument.

I’m producer Michele Myers and this is our fourth official KEXP Documentary series: “Masters of Turntablism”

This 10-part series of short radio documentaries airs on KEXP every Thursday at 3pm and Saturdays at 2pm. All KEXP Documentaries, once they’ve aired, can be heard in the LEARN section of

The first episode aired today: In the early 70’s in the Bronx, Jamaican-born DJ Kool Herc used two turntables to extend the instrumental part of records. This instrumental part, called the “break”, was the part where the dancers on the floor went crazy. This gave birth to a craze called “breakdancing.” It also was the start of a billion-dollar industry called hip-hop.

Listen now to Part 1 of “Masters of Turntablism”:

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

This entry was posted in KEXP, KEXP Documentaries. Bookmark the permalink. Post a comment or leave a trackback: Trackback URL.


  1. Posted February 12, 2008 at 12:03 am | Permalink

    bringin it back!!

    keep it up…


  2. steph
    Posted February 17, 2008 at 11:53 pm | Permalink

    Just after I heard this interview, my friend’s cousin’s record store re-opened (post Hurricane Katrina). It looks like Shadow’s wet dream! SO MUCH VINYL take a look:

Post a Comment

Your email is never published nor shared. Required fields are marked *


You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>

Donate Now!

Donate to KEXP Today!

Donate to KEXP Today!
where the music matters

The KEXP Blog

Sponsored By
Become a KEXP Sponsor!
  • KEXP Post Categories