Throwback Thursday A-Trak

It’s no secret that many of today’s biggest electronic music acts – even superstars like Steve Angello and David Guetta – started out as hip-hop-based turntablists. DJing for many, after all, is principally rooted in hip-hop culture, and hip-hop (until recently) was unprecedentedly more accessible than electronic music. Many of these DJs, however, didn’t really gain ground-breaking notoriety until they started crafting the types of EDM tracks that made them household names today. What some often forget (or simply didn’t know), is that – before EDC, Electric Zoo, Tomorrowland and Ultra – some of your favorite main stage artists actually got their first breaks (pun intended?) as world-class turntablists and battle DJs competing on the stages of the inimitable DMC World DJ Championships.

Possibly the most famous example of the turntablist-turned-rave-heavyweight is the Fool’s Gold don himself, A-Trak. Buying his first turntables with his Bar Mitzvah money, Canadian-born Alain Macklovitch quickly proved himself as a DJ savant, winning the DMC World Championship in 1997 at the tender age of 15 (the youngest winner of all time). We all know what happened next (touring with Kanye, being a general hitmaker, etc).

Just one year after a young A-Trak’s record-breaking DMC victory, a Miami-based DJ named Aristh Delgado emerged on the scene. Delgado, a/k/a co-founder of Slow Roast Records a/k/a the legendary Craze, would go on to win the World Champion title three times in a row, from 1998 through 2000. While he is possibly still most remembered for his turntable work, it should be noted that A-Trak and Craze joined forces in 2000, conquering the newly minted “World Team Champions” title as The Allies.

In 2003, a young DJ Itchy came on to the scene at 15 years old, landing himself a spot in the finals of the UK’s DMC Championship. DJ Itchy is, of course, better known today as Hudson Mohawke (Kanye may have a thing for ex-DMC competitors). Can you even recognize him?

Just a few years later, from 2006-2009, a Norwegian turntablist Magnus August Høiberg appeared in the finals of the DMC World Championship under his DJ Final moniker. While he never quite won the title, three years and a change in alias to Cashmere Cat, the former competitive DJ is probably quite happy with the way things turned out.  (Coming full circle, the cat drops “Pro Nails” by Kid Sister in this set shown below, which was co-written by A-Trak.)

Next time you’re at EDC, HARD, or EZOO (or any similarly PLUR’d out event), remember that while some choose to press play, throw their hands in the air for an hour and still call themselves DJs, others earned their stripes – truly showing themselves as DJs in the rawest form (and sneaking a few scratches in along the way).


  • trilbo Swaggins

    UZ is DJ Troubl too

  • teck


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