For the purists in our midst, DJ Prime Minister has constructed an album so larcenous and unapologetic that it might tug at your music morals. The record jacks at least 15 samples per song, contains no original lyrics and its proud creator actually considers it to be art. Exactly where does this Prime Minister dude get the giant-sized gonads to make such a boisterous claim? Well, kids, he’s a scratchtracknologist, of course! And his debut, ScratchArt, is aptly titled — considering the capricious nature of a turntablist who scratches instead of rhymes on all of his verses — these 16 tracks are impressive.
Unlike many flash DJs who scratch to show-off, Prime is scratching to express. And though its been done in other forms before (think Babu’s Comprehension and Qbert’s Demolition Pumpkin Squeeze) with mixmasters showcasing the “super break” style of DJing, Prime is on a more simplistic tip with ill cuts that don’t overshadow production and meaning. What’s more, Prime isn’t afraid to champion innovative beat-jackers and samplers with lines like “How you gonna say that sampling isn’t creative? That’s like saying that a painter is more creative than a photographer/in actuality they both do the same thing … I’m kinda like a sound photographer.”
Near 30 years after the Bronx birthed Rhythm And Poetry (R.A.P.) it’s important to see a young DJ homage scratching forefathers such as Grand Wizard Theodore, Scott La Rock, and Cash Money. Plus, kid is nice with his hands, painting fingertip brushstrokes on the wheels of steel like a Downtown 81 Kool Herc-meets-Jean-Michel Basquiat canvas on wax!
Plain and simple, Scratchart puts pure turntablism at the forefront while leaving enough room on each track for other DJs to cop it, cut it up, and find their own space. But don’t take this word for it.
Jonathan Cunningham writes about music for Metro Times. Send comments to firstname.lastname@example.org.