Despite the recent success of DJ Shadow, recognition of hip-hop DJs as artists in their own right has been less than forthcoming, with most of the attention going to rap and the MC. Om Records' recent release Deep Concentration celebrates the diversity, innovation, and various types of DJs, such as the studio producer, the battle DJ, the mix-tape DJ, the beat specialist, and the scratch specialist. Each DJ was chosen to represent a particular style, and is recognized as being at the forefront in what is collectively known as "experimental hip hop" (sometimes mislabeled as "trip hop"). Each DJ gives homage to hip-hop explorers of the past; hence, Deep Concentration is not only a showcase of styles, but a chronological history of the hip-hop DJ, from their roots as mixers to true artists, mastering the medium of the turntable. L.A. DJ Cut Chemist, who continues his running tribute to Double D. & Steinski, opens the CD with a beat-driven tempo-fluctuating masterpiece that's definitely the highlight of the project. For those seeking a more scratch-soaked sound, local S.F. battle DJ Eddie Def scratches live in the studio over a fluttering Fender Rhodes on "Poeisies, Scene 1 Le Blues" (produced by Ingrid de Lambre). Battle DJ collective the X-Men truly demonstrate the turntable as an instrument through their use of live drums and bass, foregoing samplers and creating everything with their hands and minds alone. Although almost all the tracks are noteworthy for the style they represent -- the CD is chock-full of DJ heavyweights, from Beyond There to Prince Paul -- the best way to experience any DJ is still live and freestyling. Luckily, two local DJs featured on Deep Concentration, Eddie Def and Peanut Butter Wolf, will be doing just that when they battle it out on four decks at the DNA's "Om Lounge."
-- Robert Arriaga
"Om Lounge," featuring DJs Eddie Def and Peanut Butter Wolf, will be held at the DNA Lounge (375 11th St.) on Thursday, May 29, at 9 p.m. Tickets are $5; call 626-1409.