DJ Shadow & Cut Chemist's The Renegades Of Rhythm Tour + Afrika Bambaataa's Impact On Electronic Music

When the word dropped that DJ Shadow and Cut Chemist would be taking to the road for another of their jaw-dropping  2 x 4 DJ routines, and that this time they would be using strictly vinyl pulled from the prodigious collection of hip-hop pioneer Afrika Bambaataa, it was our mothership connection Okayplayer that eagerly posted the news.

No surprise either, as each of the artists involved is primarily associated with hip-hop, and hip-hop and OKP go together like hot butter and your breakfast toast. But Bambaataa’s gargantuan influence isn’t limited to hip-hop (nor Shadow and Cut Chemist’s for that matter, as OKF founder Dantana pointed out in a Throwback Thursday post), and the Renegades of Rhythm tour should be a landmark event for fans of electronic music as well.


Bambaataa is most familiar today for his monumental 1982 single with the Soul Sonic Force, “Planet Rock.” Produced by Arthur Baker, the song marked a shift in Black American music, moving away from familiar disco jams and drum breaks toward sleek drum machines and synthesizer funk. The impact of “Planet Rock” on American underground dance music as a whole is difficult to over state. In fact, according to the liner notes of the landmark Techno!: The New Dance Sound of Detroit compilation, the experience hearing “Planet Rock” sent a young Juan Atkins (who had released a classic of his own with Cybotron’s “Clear” in 1983) back to the studio inspired to step his game up.

Portions of Shadow and Cut Chemist’s set will undoubtedly focus on the electro-funk era ushered in by “Planet Rock,” and subsequent singles like “Looking For The Perfect Beat.” But they’re also sure to touch on the block party era of the mid to late 70s, when hip-hop existed only as a live phenomenon, consisting of energetic masters of ceremony hyping up the crowd over DJs doubling up two copies of popular disco and funk records.

During this time, Bam was known as the “Master of Records,” known to seek out off the wall and overlooked vinyl, from TV themes to children’s records to international music, that nevertheless would rock the party. There’s an element of Bambaataa’s influence when a producer like Ninetoes samples a steel drum band, or a DJ like Four Tet trots out an edit of an African chant during a disco set.

The Renegades Of Rhythm tour comes a year after news spread that Bambaataa had donated his record collection to the Cornell University Hip-Hop Collection, opening the door to a library of music of which Bam had previously been so protective that he was known to soak the labels off of his most treasured records. The sharing of the contents of this library at the hands of two master DJs is a historic occasion. The second of two New York shows is at Irving Plaza tonight, and the full tour run is below. Don’t miss it.

9/5 – New York, NY – Irving Plaza
9/6 – Philadelphia, PA – Theatre of Living Arts
9/8 – Washington, DC – The Fillmore Silver Spring
9/9 – Baltimore, MD – Baltimore Soundstage
9/11 – Charlotte, NC – The Fillmore Charlotte
9/12 – Atlanta, GA – The Loft At Center Stage
9/14 – Orlando, FL – House of Blues
9/16 – New Orleans, LA – House of Blues
9/18 – Austin, TX – ACL Live
9/19 – Dallas, TX – House of Blues
9/20 – Houston, TX – House of Blues
9/22 – Louisville, KY – Mercury Ballroom
9/23 – Chicago, IL – House of Blues
9/24 – Minneapolis, MN – Skyway Theater
9/26 – Denver, CO – Ogden Theatre
9/27 – Aspen, CO – Belly Up Aspen
9/29 – Las Vegas, NV – Brooklyn Bowl Las Vegas
10/1 – San Diego, CA – House of Blues
10/2 – Anaheim, CA – House of Blues
10/3 – Los Angeles, CA – Hollywood Palladium
10/7 – Portland, OR – Roseland Theater
10/8 – Seattle, WA – Neptune
10/9 – Vancouver, BC – Commodore Ballroom




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