Audio Samurai Showdown: Cultural Architecture in Turntablism

The “Battle”, life’s constant companion, the deciding factor in determining who or what gets the privilege to evolve and grow and what gets swept under the rug and forgotten about. In the turntablism element of the hip hop culture it is no different. With the winning of a battle, a DJ gains status, recognition and power, which give sway and has weight over influence, leading to innovation, invention and building. This process of utilizing creativity and invention in battle is paramount in the foundation of cultural growth and evolution in hip-hop and turntablism. Due to these bouts being the proving grounds for superiority in turntablism, it is important to understand it in a cultural context to better grasp how the culture progresses and to understand the engine that drives that progression. In turntablism that engine runs on a high-octane battle cry.
It is essential to comprehend the magnitude and the significance of the battle in regards to it’s fertilization of the seeds in the hip hop turntablism culture. When one has to think about the way, and to the degree, of which the battle influences turntablism, you only have to relate it to the ancient Spartan of Greece or the shogun samurai of feudal Japan. Both were fierce warriors whose practices, achievement’s and dedication in battle helped in shaping the evolution of their entire cultures.   Although it is called a “battle” no actual physical harm is caused to the DJ’s involved obviously. Rather it is an audio attack aimed at one’s self image, status and skills. The weapons are break records, purpose made battle vinyl, with samples of insults, drum breaks and sounds, all used as ammunition in the battle. By having these battles, the cultural norms are always being changed and updated, what was good enough one-year will be outdated by the next. It is this constant competition in turtablism that drives success, to stride to win, and by doing so; it forces innovation and growth for the culture as a whole.