Kool moves

Kool Mixx 2000's lukewarm reception

I've been going to a lot of hip-hop events recently because sometimes I don't want music to speak for itself. It's great to hear a perfectly beat-matched set of builds and breaks and emotional journeys and all that, but a lot of the time those perfect sets are so pristine the only thing building in my night will be an emotional breakdown over the sameness of it all.
No, I want to see a DJ with some personality, and I'm OK with a set that's not perfect. And I've got the perfect example.
On Thursday, Dec. 14, Club 112 played host to this year's Kool Mixx 2000, sponsored by Brown & Williamson Tobacco and Lifted Gear. Well, make that Club 112 played host to a roomful of DJs, though only three of them were on the stage. Unlike last year, when the Roots and Grandmaster Flash hosted Kool Mixx at Vegas Nights to a packed house, you could almost count the people up in 112 on both hands and a foot.
The event was emceed by Hot 97.5's DJ Will, and attended by what appeared to be three competing DJs (four were expected) and their crews. Casual onlookers were few.
DJ Will made the most of it, though, cracking jokes and playfully ragging on the audience as the first DJ, Paralax, tested his turntables — the night was expected to be a showcase of Technics techniques.
Paralax started off lyrical enough, scratching samples together to try to send a fond "fuck you" to the other DJs, but pretty soon he was the one fucking up, his records skipping. Paralax is right. DJ Will pretty much called his set doo-doo when he told DJ Ex-Lax to move on.
Next up was DJ Major, standing in for absent DJs Jay-Cee and Logic. Compared to Paralax, Major pulled out a set like something straight off "The Sopranos" — his set was a made killer, mixing in a little bounce and some transformer tricks. But Major himself didn't have as much flair as his scratching.
Last up was Public Enemy's DJ, Lord, who lived up to his name, being called the victor by DJ Will before he even started his set. Lord, at least, realizes that, sure, you need big guns, but you also need a battle face. He flicked the other DJs off before he rocked their bells with an LL Cool J routine complete with body tricks and pitch shifting, winning the competition.
Though the point of the event was to showcase the three competing DJs and guest performing artist Prodigy of Mobb Deep, the two best performances of the night came from others. DJ Klever, recent winner of the DMC U.S. championship, and last year's Kool Mixx winner (for a reason), took two of the house DJs' records, two records he'd never seen before that night, and managed to do a quick set that sounded perfectly rehearsed, the best set of the night. Then, while waiting for them to prepare the stage for Prodigy, DJ Toop came up to the stage and showed the crowd how DJs do it old school, before being joined by Lord for a two turntable, knob-twisting quick mix session.
Sometimes honesty is preferable over being on it. The evening was far from perfect, but sometimes that's perfectly fine.