For nearly four decades, Technics has remained a favorite of DJs looking to push the envelope across every genre of music. In particular, The SL-1200 series remains a foundational tool amongst turntablists looking to introduce new scratch and sampling techniques into modern hip-hop culture.
Scratching his first turntable at age 11, Cut Chemist has remained active in the DJ/producer community for nearly 30 years, including an expansive list of collaborative projects with the likes of Jurassic 5, Ozmatli, Deantoni Marks of Mars Volta and more. He’s opened for Shakira and DJ Shadow, and his 2006 track “The Audience’s Listening” was featured in the first global Apple iPod Nano campaign. When not working on new tracks, you can catch him sharing his thoughts on cassette culture, deep funk 45s and more on his bi-weekly dublab radio program A Stable Sound.
We caught up with Cut Chemist to capture his first impressions on the Technics SL-1200MK7, a modern upgrade to the classic Technics SL-1200 line initially adapted by Grand Wizzard Theodore, Afrika Bambaataa and Grandmaster Flash in the late 1970s.
“Hip-hop changes the rules. It turns a spray paint can into something you can make a mural out of. It takes a drum machine and makes it something you can compose an entire song out of. It takes a turntable and makes it an instrument.”
“Hearing the scratch solo on ‘Rockit’ by Herbie Hancock - that changed the world for a lot of people, not just myself,” muses Cut Chemist. Combining the familiar features made popular by the SL-1200 line, the Technics SL-1200MK7 includes an updated coreless motor, customizable torque and brake speed, plus a slightly more refined all-black design. “The new 1200 has variable torque, meaning you can tune the motor to your liking. It’s not as heavy as the original, but feels just like the old turntables.”
From Grand Mixer DXT to Jazzy Jeff, we asked Cut Chemist to walk us through some of hip-hop history’s most iconic scratch techniques popularized throughout the 1980's and beyond, including the “baby scratches,” “stabs,” “chirps”, “transforms” and more. Watch until the end for his extended demo using his own beats on the Technics SL-1200MK7.
Learn more about the Technics SL-1200MK7 here.
Keep up with Cut Chemist here.