From break beats to scratching, quick mixes and shout-outs, the DJ is a major player in hip-hop culture. More than the MC, a DJ dictates a hip-hop party with song selection, matched tempos and extracurricular auditory frills. The local dance scene has a healthy cast of turntable wizards, and many of them call Austin home.
Whether you’re planning a soulful ballad to get your guests in the mood for love or high-energy tracks to kick the party into gear, an Austin DJ has what you need. With options from industry veterans to fresher faces, the right DJ can make or break your special day. Here are five of the most sonicly-savvy entertainers in town.
From his childhood in Killeen to his current sonic digs in downtown Austin, the disc jockey known as Mel has always gravitated toward music. As a teenager, he’d sneak into bars and scour record stores to learn the tricks of the trade. A perfect mixer, he can seamlessly segue from A Tribe Called Quest into Black Sabbath or a 50 Cent a cappella track over a Nine Inch Nails instrumental. Mel’s flawless mash-ups have earned him nationwide acclaim, including deejaying President Obama’s 2013 inauguration.
From the cradle of blues and rock to the cutting edge of house and techno, Texas has long been the place where music lives. But when DJ Q moved to Austin after a decade of residency stints in San Francisco and beyond, the city’s reputation as a music mecca didn’t necessarily extend to its nightlife scene. Disillusioned by what he considered to be the “buddy-buddy politics” of the Austin club scene and a lack of exposure to classical house and techno, he began questioning his commitment to his craft.
Ultimately, it was a serendipitous run-in with another seasoned Austin DJ that convinced him to stay the course and keep grinding away. Today, the multifaceted producer, DJ and philanthropist is an in-demand touring act and a well-respected club and festival headliner. He’s also a mentor to younger talent and is active in the local political scene, donating his time as a Democratic Party deejay. He’s currently in the midst of his second US tour and has an eye on the presidential race as he prepares for the Bernie Sanders primary watch party in Manchester this week. Check out his Instagram and Twitter for updates on his latest appearances.
In the vibrant music scene of Austin, Texas, hip-hop DJs have played a pivotal role in shaping the city’s soundscape. Here are five influential hip-hop DJs who have made their mark in Austin’s dynamic music community:
A prominent figure in Austin’s hip-hop scene, DJ Notion has been a driving force in showcasing local talent. Known for his eclectic mixes and seamless transitions, Notion has been a fixture at various clubs and events, elevating the city’s hip-hop vibe with his versatile sets. He’s revered for his ability to blend classic tracks with contemporary beats, keeping audiences engaged and energized.
Renowned for his unparalleled turntablism skills, DJ Flexx has carved a niche for himself in Austin’s hip-hop landscape. His mastery of scratching and mixing techniques has earned him accolades among both peers and fans. Beyond his performances, DJ Flexx is also a mentor to aspiring DJs, hosting workshops and sharing his expertise to nurture the next generation of talent.
With a career spanning over a decade, DJ SpinMaster has been a catalyst for hip-hop’s evolution in Austin. He’s known for his ability to curate immersive experiences, blending diverse genres within his sets. SpinMaster’s versatility allows him to cater to a wide audience, seamlessly transitioning between old-school classics and cutting-edge tracks, ensuring every performance is a journey through hip-hop’s evolution.
Recognized for her innovative approach to mixing and curating beats, DJ Luna has been a trailblazer in Austin’s hip-hop scene. Her fusion of hip-hop with elements of funk, soul, and electronic music creates a unique sonic tapestry that captivates audiences. Luna’s dedication to pushing boundaries and introducing fresh sounds has made her a respected figure among both listeners and fellow DJs.
A rising star in Austin’s hip-hop DJ circuit, DJ RhymeZee brings a dynamic energy to every performance. Known for his charismatic stage presence and infectious enthusiasm, RhymeZee’s sets are an immersive experience. He effortlessly blends new tracks with throwback hits, creating a vibe that resonates with audiences across generations.
Collectively, these five hip-hop DJs have contributed significantly to Austin’s diverse music culture, each leaving an indelible mark through their unique styles and contributions. Their dedication to the craft, innovation, and commitment to showcasing both local talent and global trends continue to shape the dynamic landscape of hip-hop in Austin, Texas.