Interview with DJ Terry Urban

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Representing Cleveland hip-hop DJ crew the League, Terry Urban spins at 107.9 FM, Sirius Radio, and the Warehouse District's Cloud 9. So profound are the mixmaster's insights that they couldn't be contained on the printed page, so the Scene Music Department hereby offers an expanded version of his recent interview. What music do you listen to that would surprise fans? A lot people just think I'm a hip-hop DJ. I listen to old punk rock like the Germs or even a little old country like Hank Williams or Crosby, Stills and Nash. I wish I could play a variety of music like that in the club, like mixing Thin Lizzy with N.W.A. Unfortunately, that shit never happens because this city is so radio driven and there's not a lot of artistic thinking anymore. Although Mick Boogie and I have been trying to pull these kinda mixes of monthly at Touch Supper Club and it's working. First hip-hop song to really get a hook in you? I memorized every word to Eric B and Rakim's "Paid in Full." It was on this NYC Hip-Hop Hits tape that I had gotten from a friend. I think I memorized every song on the tape including Boogie Down Productions' "My Philosophy," which is the reason why my life is so involved in hip-hop. That song will teach you anything you need to know about hip-hop. Best hip-hop remix? It's a toss up between Mobb Deep's "Shook Ones, Part 2" and Tribe Called Quest's "Scenario" remix. What party track always works? Rob Base's "It Takes Two," or maybe even "Ain't No Fun," by Snoop Dogg. Bell Biv Devoe's "Poison" is great, too. Best braggadocio song? I think Jay-Z is the king of bragging, and Right Said Fred's "I'm Too Sexy" is up there as the most braggadocio song. Jay has the right to brag, though. Best rap feud? Jay-Z and Nas is up there as best rap feud, but that beef was squashed. Best feud would have to be the NYC boroughs. People are still fighting over who is the first to start hip-hop, and its been over 20 years now. A lot of people might ask, What about 2pac and Biggie? I don't think a feud is the best when people die over it. We lost two great musicians over that West Coast-East Coast bullshit. Any dap for rap-rock? It's a love/hate relationship for me when rap and rock combine. I love that Gorillaz song with Del, but hate Aerosmith and Run-DMC's "Walk This Way." What beat do you most wish you'd made? Anything by Pharrell or Premier is up in my top 10. I have to say the best beat ever is "PSA" by Jay-Z. Biggest turning point in hip-hop? When N.W.A. made it to the hip-hop scene. Everything before that was happy party raps. You spin great old-school sets. Is hip-hop better, worse, or just different now? Hip-hop is the same as it ever was. MCs bragging about what we don't have. B-boys still breaking. DJs still scratching records and graffiti artists still writing. The only problem is that hip-hop is so commercial now, and the industry is flooded with a bunch of amateurs. Best rapper nobody knows about? Garbs infinite is a great emcee and producer. When he gets discovered he will smash the hip-hop scene. He's got a great distinctive voice and a well rounded vocabulary. He just needs to quit smoking. The next big thing? The Kickdrums are gonna be the next huge thing. They have such a good fresh sound. Very clean and their samples are ridiculous. I also think Mick Boogie is about two mixtapes away from being the next DJ clue or Whoo kid. Best summer jam ever? "Summertime," DJ Jazzy Jeff & the Fresh Prince. Now that autumn is here, what was the summer jam of record for 2006? Young Joc's "I Know You See" or Fergie's "London Bridge." --D.X. Ferris

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