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DJ Krush

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Biography

Japanese turntablist and producer DJ Krush is one of the few island-nation throw-ups to be embraced by the global hip-hop world. Releasing material through Sony in Japan, Mo'Wax and Virgin in the U.K., and Axiom, Shadow, and A&M in America, Krush's heady brand of experimental, (largely) instrumental hip-hop has been praised by everyone from hardcore underground hip-hop 'zines like The Bomb to the speckless offices of Rolling Stone and Spin. Beginning as a bedroom DJ in the mid-'80s following the Japanese leg of the Wildstyle tour, Krush moved into mobile DJing, backing up rappers, and eventually solo production. Although his Japan-only debut freely mixed elements of R&B and acid jazz with the beefy breakbeat backbone of mid-tempo hip-hop, Krush's work has since tended more toward the abstract, applying heavy effects and sample manipulation to thick, smart breaks, layered, almost ambient textures, and subtle, inventive scratching. Krush came to larger acclaim in the mid-'90s through his association with the London-based Mo'Wax label, which released his Strictly Turntablized in 1994 and Meiso in 1996, both reissued stateside by A&M. While Turntablized is closer to a collection of DJ tools, Meiso is a return of sorts to his earlier work, including rappers such as Guru and CL Smooth on a few tracks and incorporating a wider variety of instrumental sounds and atmospheres. In addition to 1997's Milight, Krush also featured on a number of various-artists collections, including Mo'Wax's celebrated Headz, as well as Altered Beats and Axiom Dub (both out on Bill Laswell's Axiom label). Kakusei appeared on Mo'Wax/Columbia in 1999, followed by the mix albums Code 4109 and Tragicomic the next year. Zen from 2001 was filled with guest MCs while The Message at the Depth from 2003 featured far fewer and focused on instrumentals. Jaku landed in 2004, and two years later the Stepping Stones collection featured Krush remixing highlight from his back catalog.

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