The Most Influential DJs

By Nick McMaster,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 21, 2009 5:19 PM CDT

(Newser) – With the release of "DJ Hero" upon us, it's a good time to honor the true masters of turntablism. IGN lists the most influential:

  • DJ Kool Herc. He invented the “breakbeat” by using the two-turntable style of disco DJs to play two copies of a funk record, switching between the two to elongate the instrumental break section.
  • Afrika Bambaataa. He took Herc’s breakbeats further and coined the burgeoning musical movement “hip-hop.”
  • Grandmaster Flash. Flash pioneered the “cutting” technique, which later became refined into scratching. He released the first record with scratching on it, and his Furious Five group was the first hip-hop band inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame

  • Grand Wizard Theodore. Building on Flash’s “cutting” technique, Theodore added his own style of rhythmically manipulating the fader to give scratching its percussive effect—essentially, turning the turntable into a drum.
  • Jam-Master Jay. As the DJ for Run-DMC, Jay’s signature sounds helped push hip-hop into the mainstream.
  • DJ Qbert. A later addition to DJing’s luminaries, Qbert has pioneered countless scratch and turntable tricks to become known as the Jimi Hendrix of turntablism. Check out his skills in the video at left.
For the full list, click the link below.