Always taking the opportunity to pay homage to influential forces in our sphere, we have put together a capsule inspired by A Tribe Called Quest’s classic album Midnight Marauders. Created in recognition of the 20th Anniversary of the timeless record, we wanted to create pieces that captured the look and feel of the legendary music that Tribe produced, spawning the name “Moreland Marauders.”
In creating the “Moreland Marauders” capsule, it also gave us the opportunity to examine the ways that Hip Hop has progressed and changed in the last 20 years. To get a better viewpoint of Hip Hop in today’s culture, we took a look at three of Hip Hop’s core elements, The MC, The DJ, and The Street Artist, hoping to get a more in depth perspective of how Hip Hop manifests itself not only in today’s music world, but also today’s art and fashion world. So we enlisted three individuals from here in Atlanta that operate in each sphere to help us on our search.
Our first subject is DJ Baby Yu, a DJ originally from Toronto that moves crowds anywhere from Atlanta to cities across the globe. When not busy touring around the country with Young Jeezy as his official tour DJ, Baby Yu can be found spinning daily on V103 or at the hottest Atlanta nightclubs on any given night. Take a look below as he gives us a first-person perspective on his craft and shows off one of the looks from the “Moreland Marauders” capsule:
Explain what doing your craft is like in today’s society with the advancement of technology, the internet, digital downloads, availability of information etc.? Do these elements prove as aids or obstacles?
I remember when the “internet” became commercialized. I would be playing multi-player computer games on a 14.4 dial-up modem, and yell at my mom not to pick up the phone because the connection would interrupt. I was able to connect with other players in the U.S., which I thought was totally cool. Understanding this, it has made it easier for us DJ’s and artists to promote our music more efficiently to the world over the internet. When I check my stats on my podcast I’m happy to see downloads from places like Iraq, New Zealand, and Russia. I’ve never been to these places, so it amazes me.
Advancement of technology has made it easier for new DJ’s to start up, but it also gave a lane for established DJ’s to become greater. I’m known to do live remixes while I DJ, and technology has given me the power to do things I couldn’t do with my vinyl. Til this day, some people think that all my mixes on the radio are pre-recorded because they don’t understand how I do some of the remixes live. With all the DJ programs and production tools, it allows me to be more creative because resources are unlimited. If I needed a rare sample, well in one click I can get it and make a song out of it. If i was missing a song for the night, I can actually download it then play it while I’m DJing. Even when I’m stuck on something, I could easily look it up on the internet, and most likely there would be a step by step tutorial on it. With all the time I save with the work load I have, it gives me more room to think as an artist to prepare myself for my next project or venture.
How has your craft changed since the inception of HipHop?
Other than converting from vinyl to Serato, I’ve become more open as a DJ since the inception of Hip Hop. We have to remember that “Hip Hop” was originally a hipster movement in a sense. Music in general was so segregated back then. Til this day, I can count all the great R&B and Hip Hop records that weren’t recognized because it wasn’t global enough. I mean, whoever was indulged in to the culture knew about what’s new and hot, but to the rest of the world, “Hip Hop” was in its own world. So because of this, I was just considered a hip hop DJ. Remixing was nothing new since the start of my career, but I would only use Hip Hop records with R&B songs, or other Hip Hop vocals. Now that Hip Hop is popular, it gives me more room to work with other genres and to mesh it with other genres of music. Because of it, I am a DJ, not just a Hip Hop DJ.
How does your craft influence HipHop today and vice versa?
I love music, and I still have joy learning about the Hip Hop culture…This song used this sample, this artist is the next big thing, this DJ produced this song, all these things inspire me and motivates me with my craft and projects. In turn, I hope my craft has made Hip Hop more open minded with all the crazy remixes I do.