Blackout Top News

Following the recent release of DJ Semtex‘s book Hip Hop Raised Me, BlackoutHipHop conducted an interview with the English DJ.

I’ve worked with a lot of great artists, witnessed a lot of great moments, and I feel that the very least I can do is document the culture from my perspective. This is our history, the book is a future artefact. A time capsule that details what we have witnessed, what we have enjoyed, and what has edutained us so far. Hopefully years from now people will look at this as a snapshot of how we lived.

Hit Continue Reading to check out the full interview and make sure to cop Hip Hop Raised Me via Amazon.

Props to Jamie Drew for the photos.

DJ Semtex, thank you for taking the time for this short interview. We at BlackoutHipHop.com value the Hip-Hop origins and support all efforts to keep the legacy alive. I’d say that Hip Hop raised all of us, too. How did the idea for such a book come to you on the first place?

Simply because there wasn’t anything like this. I’ve worked with a lot of great artists, witnessed a lot of great moments, and I feel that the very least I can do is document the culture from my perspective. This is our history, the book is a future artefact. A time capsule that details what we have witnessed, what we have enjoyed, and what has edutained us so far. Hopefully years from now people will look at this as a snapshot of how we lived.

You have such a diverse background and have interviewed so many legends in the game. How did you decide which material should eventually make it to the book?

The material kind of found its own way to the surface and told the story itself. I’ve done over 600 interviews, but there are some that stand out more than others. There are some areas that I wanted to focus on and discuss that have never been written about before, it really was an organic fluid process. The individual stories of the artists, producers, and DJs are amazing inspiring moments that form the foundations of the culture.

The book features more than 1,000 photographs, some of them published for the first time. How did you get these? Did some of the artists provide them directly to you?

They say a picture tells a 1000 words…I wanted pictures that visually defined the specific moments in time. The pictures visualize society, the fashion, artwork, covers, and steady ascension of Hip Hop as the most innovative exciting Art form.

I contacted some artist camps directly for images. For instance I reached out to Macklemore’s camp as they have their own photographers, and Nabil works closely with Kanye West, but the majority of shots came from photographers that were working within key scenes across different eras.

The book starts with a foreword by the legendary Chuck D of Public Enemy. What’s the background story for having Chuck have the opening?

Public Enemy changed my life. ‘It Takes A Nation Of Millions’ and ‘Fear of a Black Planet’ opened my mind. Both albums played a role in defining who I am today, so who else could I ask? I had previously interviewed Chuck D, then Public Enemy backstage at the Brixton Academy so he was aware of who I was. I reached out to him, I explained what I wanted to do with the book, and he kindly agreed to write the foreword which I still find very mind-blowing. I never thought the ‘Hard Rhymer’ that I grew up listening to would eventually write something for me or about me. He referred to me as a “Generator of generations”…I now have an even greater responsibility to amplify the work that I do and help move things forward.

There have been so many milestones for Hip Hop in the last 40 years and Hip Hop Raised Me is like an encyclopedia through this life cycle. Which are the 3 most influential moments from your perspective?

From my perspective there are 3 specific years that were the most influential moments; 1988 was the year that caught me. Albums by Public Enemy, The Jungle Brothers, BDP, and Ice T gave me the necessary higher learning. It was the same year that artists levelled up and entered the international stage. The sound got bigger, the art work was more detailed, this was the golden age of rap.

1994 is probably the most significant year within the 90s Hip Hop era. It was the year that established genre defining artists such as Nas, The Notorious B.I.G., Outkast, Bone Thugs & Harmony, Warren G, Coolio, and many more artists that propelled the Boom Bap and West Coast sounds.

2003 was the year that preceded ‘College Dropout’ and set the stage for Kanye West to change everything with his Good Music movement. It was the year that Dizzee Rascal dropped the genre defining ‘Boy In Da Corner’ album, and the moment when 50 Cent dominated the clubs and airwaves with the G Unit/Shady Aftermath era.



Comments are closed.


0