What does it mean to you?

topic posted Sat, January 31, 2004 - 1:00 PM by  albertoforer...
What You Know 'Bout CRATE DIGGIN'? Part 3
compiled by Stef

Inspired by the track, "Crate Diggin'," from the Lootpack's debut LP Soundpieces: Da Antidote on Stones Throw, in our last issue I asked a few of my DJ/producer friends "What does crate diggin' mean to you?" That article sparked more responses from our readers. Read on:

What does crate diggin' mean to you?

DJ Beatnick (Bristol, Great Britain):
Crate diggin' is a reciprocal process for me, an energy exchange. I invest my time, my sweat, and my back in the quest for that elusive ten seconds of dope break. In turn the crates reward me for my time. Some days you leave the store, market, attic or grandma's house feeling that the crates have denied you your dues. But when you finally find that amazing beat, sound, texture or loop and fire up the sampler it all makes sense. Then I twist up and enjoy the vibe. It's a unique creative process, it's organic, and you have to respect the bboy sampling code of conduct: no reissues, no compilations, no CDs, no Will Smith style 30 second disco loops. It's rewarding, it really is the genesis of the artform, and it's the reason why I do this shit.

Peace, and keep diggin'.

Christo916 (Sacramento):
Dusty boogers... A hunched back ... Eyeing a stack of un-priced records behind the counter and asking to get first dibbs on rummaging through them... Hangnails... Swapping price stickers on records to get better "deals" (shhhh!)... Making your girlfriend freak with impatience 'cuz you've been record shopping for two hours and she's just gotta get that Jamba Juice... Feeling gushy inside when you find some Chico Hamilton wax priced no higher than $2.99... Bugging out when someone you know gives away their vinyl without letting you go through it first.

Dice Bambu (Belgium):
Diggin'... What does it all mean... it means that for years and years your parents gave you a hard time just cuz you brought another bag of records into the house, it means sleeping in a room with nothing more than a desk, a stereo, a bed and a collection... it means getting your brain to act quick when you hear a dope track someone picked up --> what's that sleeve? It means looking at the back of records: who's the baddest drummer, who's on bass, who's producing... getting to know the labels and learn from the mistakes in the past. Being European, it also means trying to forget all the American stuff and go for the unknown territory of European and African jazz/funk/whatever. But most of all it means enjoying music and having an open mind when someone tries to school you. Over here we all try to school each other on the fat Polish, French, Russian, Greek or whatever else shit. It means that when you're having a BBQ with fellow heads out of the UK or elsewhere, every conversation begins and ends with music. Regardless of girlfriends' angry looks or people leaving the table :-) It's like going to school once again: you learn something and just can't wait to test your knowledge at the next fair or shop.

DJ Goods (Brooklyn):
To me, crate diggin' means spending a lot of your free time hitting up your parents' old record collection or stopping by that shady used record store somewhere in Greenwich Village in NYC or in some little ghost town in Massachusetts or Connecticut or somethin'. Once you get to the spot where you will begin your crate diggin', the main objective is to find that record with that tight bass line, that funkdafied guitar loop or that 70s porno type drum pattern that relies heavily on the high hats. After you find what you're lookin' for, the next step is to put the needle to these records and try to find that perfect break. Once you do, the next step is to remember where that break happens on the record and try and find some other beat that might complement this break. To me crate diggin' is more than just searching for that obscure Parliament or James Brown breakbeat; instead crate diggin' is about finding that track that hip-hop heads have never heard before, and when you play it for them they'll be like, "Whoa, that beat is kinda tight. I wonder who uses that beat?" and the answer is NO ONE... yet! The whole point in crate digging is finding that record that current hip-hop heads can get into like the next Puffy, Jay-Z or Nas record but the truth is that the beat is YOUR beat and NOT Puffy, Jay-Z or Nas' beat, know what I mean? It's about lookin' for those beats to sample that haven't already been sampled. That's what crate diggin is all about!

K.C. Masterpeace (Wichita, Kansas):
Diggin' is a reason to get up in the morning when everything else in life is holding you down. Diggin' is leaving a record store broken hearted cuz you didn't have the bones to buy that $45 gem you had your eyes on, only to stop at the Salvation Army two blocks away and pick up two copies of the same record for $1.70. Diggin' is infiltrating your college's LP collection in the library and spending more time scheming on how to jack the classic jazz from the second floor than on studying. Diggin' is coming across an immaculate $2 copy of the Black Caesar soundtrack to begin your career as a vinyl archeologist. Diggin' is paying $20 for the Johnny "Guitar" Watson joint you've been fiending for, only to dig up another copy in better shape at the local spot for under $1. Diggin' is ramaging through your old man's stash in the basement and coming up with copies of Weather Report, George Benson and Charles Mingus and saying to yourself "damn, Pops had it goin' on back in the day." Diggin' is finding that superdopealicious "Sesame Street" break that everyone else slept on as you reminisce about Cookie Monster and the crew. Diggin' is doing a final exam speech in college on why vinyl is hella better than any other music form and having the rest of the class stare at you like a priest at a breakin' competition. Diggin' is the preferred way to spend four or five hours on a lazy Saturday afternoon. Diggin' is a nonstop music history lesson.

DJ Money Mike (Detroit):
See, I'm a young turntablist, but I'm also like a vinyl aficionado. I love to dig for rare beats or forgotten gems, ya know how it be. It's funny 'cause when I'm on my hands and knees goin' through the bargain bins, I hear other people makin' comments and laughin'. ("Look at that kid... is he buying records? Ha ha! My parents used to have those things.") 'Cause a lot of the used record stores also sell CDs so you get "normal" people in there too. I think that's hilarious when people think I'm weird for only buyin' vinyl (and let alone the old shit) and I'm sure that's the attitude shared by all tablists and diggers alike. So in conclusion, very simply, diggin' takes heart and determination... ha ha! Well it's true. Peace to everybody out there like me and keep on diggin'!

Soulfinga (Milwaukee):
Oh shit!! Crate diggin'?? First of all we crate diggers are a dying breed in hip-hop!! Word up!! Think about it... it seems like them record companies got hip-hop producers scared shitless to sample an ill break and actually use it!! I don't know 'bout y'all, but if I hear another "synthesized beat" (y'all know what I'm talkin' about) with all them crazy ass high hats, weak snares and thin bass drums, I think I'm gon' strangle a muthafucka. I mean, it's cool to try and take this hip-hop music to the next, or get the most money you can for your record (i.e., not pay out the ass for a dope sample), but this shit is gettin' fucked up... it's even startin' to make the rhymes unbearable. I think that if you know how to sample and crate dig wisely these bitch ass record execs will stay out your pockets. Nuff said on that!

Crate diggin' to me is snatchin' a record out the crate or rack and lettin' that muthafucka spin while I clean up the crib, or on the net, etc. That's when I'll hear the illest break or sound. Then, when I hear that ill sound, it's time to fire up that MPC or ASR and get busy!! You heads know what I'm talkin' about... get that shit soundin' the way you want it, then get them drums smackin' to it... that's bliss for a muthafucka right there... no doubt!!

Steven Flex (San Diego):
Crate diggin' to me means being on a constant hunt for vinyl. And if you're not looking for vinyl, you're always thinking about vinyl (well most of the time)! It means having an overdrawn checking account because you sent your car payment, and then ended up spending the majority of that money on records. Crate diggin' is finding that diamond in the rough, that dope record that stands out of the hundreds of wack records found in your local record shop. Doesn't have to be rare, doesn't have to mean anything to anyone else but you. One thing though: MAKE SURE you have enough room to store all of your wax.... I'm working on that next.

DITC is the essential DNA of a producer. The numerous components accumulated through the time consuming exercise symbolically constructs the identity of the crate digger. Those jackets with scantily clad fifties and sixties men or women, the enticing titles that reel you in -- that part is specifically attractive to YOU as an individual in this whole crate digging culture. Your collection becomes synonymous with those dirt ridden fingertips that lose their blueprint; identity is not so much DNA in the modern world, but constructed and accumulated. When you dig crates it's different from having so and so 12 or rare ish, it's those obscure, subconsciously attractive records that set your voice apart from the others when touching a beat. Crate digging is also the theory of excavating. F' all that typical ish! The reason for all that eBay trippin' taking ours is a sign that we as artists of crate digging must be able to work pastiche-ism to its contemporary extent, i.e., sampling cross referentially with as much objectivity as possible. In the 2G, crate digging is a move toward the essential elements in between the skips and the dope breaks, digging farther into the realization that we as hip-hop producers have been blessed with the power to displace-and-reorganize, crush those B.S. ideologies that had scattered all those old records out in the first place. Like the many different cultures and ethnicities that have been affected by exile immigration etc., we can choose our own path and ultimately decide where our history belongs; excavated and exposed in its nakedness.

I want to know what Crate Diggin' means to you. Type to me.

DJ Beatnick
Dice Bambu
DJ Goods
K.C .Masterpeace
DJ Money Mike
Steven Flex

  • Re: What does it mean to you?

    Sat, November 12, 2005 - 5:21 AM
    What's wrong with turning people on?

    I collect records in Russian, Portugese, Italian, Polish, French, German, Spanish, and Japanese. All I know is what it means to them! Most of the time they are blown away that you are so funky ( right?!). Cratedigging refers to the act of being a miner. Poor yet willing to work hard enough for the big pay-off ( in record geek terms- the ultimate super-song!). Go to garage sales, meet an guitar player from a 70's band, visit e-bay on a chance what the fuck!, you'll suprise yourself at how dirty your fingers can get !!!!!!!!!!!
    • Re: What does it mean to you?

      Mon, April 2, 2007 - 6:15 AM

      CRATE DIGGIN' MEANZ SPENDIN' LOND HARD HOURS BENT OVER HUGE PILEZ OF WAX..............................................

      Till I'm Hungry and Thursty AND I STILL DON'T EVEN CARE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

      I Must PLANT MY SEED IN FERTILE SOIL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! LOLOLOOOLOLOLL

      Crate Diggin' Is Lookin' In That Dollar Bin Full OF Oysters For That "PEARL OF SOUND"..........................................................

      Crate Diggin' is Not Having A PROBLEM WITH THE PRICE OF MY STACK BUT ITS WEIGHT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! WHOA!!!!!!!!!!!!

      Crate Diggin IS Carefully Slidin' Past My Girl with At Least 50+ Pieces So She Won't Complain' HEY RECORDS ARE TAKING OVER THE HOUSE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! NO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

      Crate Diggin IS ----

      Studyin' The Groovez and Visible Pattern On The Actual WAX

      Checkinm' For Scratches And Being Able to know If They Are just Cosmetic Wear OR Actual Needle Skipz................

      Crate Diggin' Is Not What I Do But MO' A LARGE PART OF WHO I AM and -- Nothing will Change That --

      NO New Production Style or NEW Piece OF GEAR!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!



      If you have not seen this^^^^ what Are You Waitin ON THIS IZ A DIGGERS PARADISE................ENJOY..................