Big Boi, Jermaine Dupri and DJ Drama Talk DJ Hero
Paparazzi snapped celebrity photos on a red carpet. Inside, dapper waiters bounced around the lobby with miniature lamb chops and crab cakes. A movie premiere? Nope. This was the recent scene at Atlanta’s 595 North club at the premiere party for a video game. How the times have changed.
The game is DJ Hero, the latest innovation from Activision, the folks who brought you Guitar Hero, and some of Atlanta’s finest names in hip-hop came out to show their support.
Paste caught up with Outkast’s Big Boi, Jermaine Dupri and DJ Drama for their take on the game. “Back in history, you see the importance of music in video games—with Grand Theft Auto, you had the radio stations in the cars,” DJ Drama said. “But for people like Jay-Z and Eminem to have exclusive music on this game, it's a whole new avenue for us to show off our music and get to a grand market.”
If those two names caught your attention, that’s exactly the point—DJ Hero’s track list (93 separate mixes in all) is packed with some of the biggest names in hip-hop and electronic music, with tracks old and new mashed together. David Bowie, 50 Cent, Blondie and the Beastie Boys all show up. Daft Punk even produced a handful of new mixes exclusively for the game.
We tried our hands at the Xbox (who co-sponsored the party) DJ Hero on one of the club’s many consoles to, well, limited success. Like an alternate universe Guitar Hero, the game puts a miniature turntable in your lap with a spinning record adorned with multi-colored buttons, to be tapped with each song’s rhythm. The game also requires cross-fading and "scribble-scratching."
“DJing is one of the forms of our craft," Big Boi said shortly after playing the game alongside DJ Hero producer Will Townsend. "You’ve got dancing, graphic arts, beat-making and rhyming. The game is one big step for hip-hop."
But he wasn’t totally satisfied. “How the fuck do you have a DJ Hero game with no Outkast?" Big Boi said. "We need some ‘Kast on that."
Star producer and sometime MC Jermaine Dupri shared the feeling. Both feelings, actually. “This game confirms that all those people who said hip-hop was a fad in the '80s were wrong," Dupri said. "Hip-hop is one of the most popular art forms to ever hit life. Still, they gotta put me on the next one.”
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