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DJ Hero- A Message from Shadow
Now that DJ Hero has been officially announced, I feel it appropriate to make a few (overdue) comments.
Firstly, I would like to thank the Activision and Freestyle team for reaching out and asking me to be involved with the game. I suppose I don't immediately spring to mind when "party-rocking DJ" is the prerequisite, although throughout my career I have strived for the opportunity to demonstrate my versatility. In any case, I appreciate them taking the chance, and have been thrilled with the fruits borne of the relationship thus far.
As a DJ I have accomplished many things, from clubs to radio, television and beyond. I have made bedroom mixes, and worked in the most elaborate studios. I have demonstrated scratch solos in front of disinterested, if not hostile picnic-goers (as a sophomore in High School), and co-headlined the Hollywood Bowl (with Cut Chemist). I have performed on both "Top of the Pops" and the David Letterman show. I have imitated my heroes, and watched with quiet satisfaction as others have imitated me. I think it's time I recognize publicly what even my most ardent critic would concede: I have paid my dues.
So after 25 years as a DJ, both bedroom and professional, I have come to terms with a few facts: I cannot scratch like a master turntablist, and have never won a DJ title. Nor can I effortlessly make people bang their heads in rock 'n roll abandon or send 40,000 beach-goers on an acid-fueled high. And no matter how much I admire those DJs that can, I can't be what they are. I can only be me. And what matters to me is, plain and simply, MUSIC.
Sharing music with others is all I've wanted to do, as long as I can remember. Playing songs on the piano to my parents. Recording "Rapture" off the radio to memorize the rap portion for playground recitals; ditto "Jam On It" Creating a master-mix for 7th grade music class. Trying to expose a school full of metal-heads to the genius of the Jungle Brothers and Ultra-Magnetic MCs. Driving around Davis, California in my friend's mustang and borrowed house speakers blasting NWA and De La Soul to bemused passers-by; and later, with the same friend, Timothy McNealy and Carleen & the Groovers (not to mention Three 6 Mafia and David Banner.) Whatever feels unappreciated or neglected, I want to shine the light to as many people as possible. There's no better feeling than dropping the needle on "Come Clean" circa 1993 to a club that hasn't heard it yet, or being the first to expose Neil Landstrumm to sleepy LA-based video game convention attendees (sorry, couldn't resist!) It's the look of surprise, then wheels turning, then eyes closed and smiling, while head and hands keep time. And if you can't get with it, then hey, there's no accounting for taste. When music is good, it's good, and no rock critic, know-nothing blogger or dead-ass crowd can tell me otherwise.
I realize that some of my fans might have reservations about the game, and on some levels, I'm sympathetic. So I'd like to address those fans by saying simply: If my involvement with DJ Hero concerns you, it shouldn't. I don't see this as my ticket to the mainstream, and I'm not going to be playing the Pussycat Dolls anytime soon. Despite the title, I don't consider myself a "hero," nor do I get some kind of ego boost from seeing myself represented in digital form. This isn't "the big crossover," any more than "The Outsider" was.
What is, it then? It is, pure and simple, the biggest potential audience I've ever had the opportunity to share the music I love with. Imagine thousands, maybe even MILLIONS of people around the world, waiting for someone credible to tell them what good music is supposed to sound like; what a DJ does, what a scratch solo sounds like, the art of a masterful blend. Do I tell them, or wait for someone else, possibly less qualified, to do it instead?
Not this time. Thanks to Activision and Freestyle reaching outside of the box and plucking me from relative isolation here in the Bay Area, I have been given the immense opportunity to represent DJ culture to the masses. I relish the chance to demonstrate my vocabulary as a DJ, and I pledge to do so with my hard-fought identity and credibility intact.