It’s pretty hard to make a name for yourself as exclusively a DJ in hip-hop, an industry dominated by producers and rappers ever since the “mixtape” has fallen out of fashion. But to have some of the most universally known and respected turntablists, all in the same group no less, make music is a sign of true virtuosity and ability.
Invisibl Skratch Picklz, consisting of DJs Qbert, D-Styles, and Shortkut,helped lay the foundation for inventive techniques on the decks, and took their skills to the masses and carved out their place in hip-hop history, all without releasing a single full length album. And now, after 16 years apart, they have resurfaced to release their “debut” LP, The 13th Floor, set to be released on September 9.
Originally formed in 1989 along with DJs Mixmaster Mike and Apollo, the San Francisco-based collective has always remained in touch. The collective has gone through many various DJs other than the founding members, including the ever popular DJ A-Trak and DJ Disk. While Mixmaster Mike juggled his work behind the decks with the Beastie Boys, Apollo was also immersed in other projects. While noticeably absent from the project, D-Styles offers a simple explanation for that — they were “busy.”
QBert, D-Styles and Shortkut were finally able to line up their schedules to start recording. After working together for so long, the project came together organically.
“To start off the album, we all linked up one weekend in San Francisco and recorded ourselves jamming,” D explains. “We took the session of that night and picked the best moments, and restructured some of them into songs. After that, we would email each other sketches of songs for a good two months. We had five days to record at the Red Bull Studios in Tokyo, Japan, so we did the album in five days.”
The album, featuring 35 minutes of live scratching spread across 9 tracks, showcases the trio’s innovative ideas and their legacies. The title is a reference to the trio’s goals in creating this record.
“In a lot of buildings and hotels, you rarely see a 13th floor due to bad luck or whatever superstitious reasons,” D says. “It’s the same for scratch music. Rarely do you come across an all scratch album, especially one performed live. So that’s what our album represents.”
Ultimately, the Invisbl Skratch Piklz want The 13th Floor to influence future turntablists to honor Hip Hop culture the same way they do.
“Hopefully this album brings the spotlight back to real DJing and scratch musicians,” he says. “I hope it inspires a new generation of kids to study this music and continue this art form.”
Check out the album cover and track list here:
The 13th Floor Tracklist
1. Holy Crap… Who Goes There?
2. Fresh out of Fvcks
3. Kenny G’s Perm
5. Black Hole vs. Brown Hole
6. Reverse Cowgirl
7. Polka Fist Pump
8. The Freestyle Fanatic
9. Bobby Trap