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Artist///Skratcher Guam

Hip Hop Hooray These DJ’s have a serious itch to skratch Story and photos by Wayne Chargualaf

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ip hop is said to be comprised of four elements — rapping, DJ-ing, breakdancing and graffiti. Although all four elements have had a persistent influence on the popular culture, a specific type of DJ-ing — turntablism, which is primarily thought of as cutting and scratching with vinyl records — tends to be closely associated with old-school hip hop and as such has seen its popularity wax and wane over the years. Nevertheless, a group of DJs on Guam have committed themselves to preserving and spreading the art form and the culture that is associated with it. Skratcher Guam, the local chapter of a global, Vancouver-based turntablist organization called Skratcher, was formed by three local DJs — Junior Corpuz, Paul-Myer Basilio and Jeff Tseng. Although they had discussed joining the organization as early as August 2017, it wasn’t until October of that year that they became official and held their first open DJ session as Skratcher Guam at Kreem X Butter, a barber shop located in Harmon. “We get our haircuts here, and they asked us if we want to have our sessions here because these guys scratch too,” Basilio says. “It was perfect because they support the culture, so from there we asked them to sponsor Skratcher Guam and the rest is history.” The exact definition of turntablism is somewhat up for debate, according to Corpuz, who has practiced the art for more than 20 years. “There are a lot of different types of DJs who do different things,” he says. “To me, turntablism is using the turntable as an instrument.” The members of Skratcher Guam meet on the first Tuesday of every month at Kreem X Butter for their open sessions. They set up their turntables in a circle and invite people of all levels of experience and skill to drop in and try their hand at cutting and scratching with vinyl records, most of which have beats and musical tracks specifically designed for turntablists. As a single beat plays over a speaker, the people in the circle take turns demonstrating their creativity and skill, with newbies often hesitantly moving the record back-and-forth trying to create their first scratch. “We’ll start off doing four bars each,” Basilio says as a session starts. He frequently offers cheerful encouragement to less experienced DJs. “That’s great, you’re really making it talk,” he tells a DJ after they’ve taken their turn. “It’s all about practicing every day, even if it’s just 15 minutes a day practicing your coordination, your combinations and things like that,” he says. Although they say they’re just in the beginning stages of building a foundation for Skratcher Guam, Basilio says the group hopes the trickle of people they see dropping in during their open sessions and returning are a sign of things to come. “We’ve had people who tried it out a couple of times and one day they come back with their own portable turntable,” he says. “They say, ‘I had to get my own turntable and come back, I’m hooked now.’” 14

Buenas - August/September 2018  

Meals on Wheels: "Fast food" has a new meaning | Travel: Kanazawa | Artist: Enzo & Skratcher Guam | Business: The Great Dame| Essence of Gua...

Buenas - August/September 2018  

Meals on Wheels: "Fast food" has a new meaning | Travel: Kanazawa | Artist: Enzo & Skratcher Guam | Business: The Great Dame| Essence of Gua...

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