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DJ Cash Money shows off the "transformer scratch" and other turntablist tricks

Wednesday, Feb 20 2002
Philadelphia's Cash Money hails from an earlier age of turntablists, when spontaneity, versatility, and showmanship were as crucial as raw dexterity. Incorporating his microphone and body into his routine as much as his cross-fader, Money has been known to cup an ear and bark to the crowd, "You ain't heard this record sound like this, have ya?," before juggling the cut's beat into something nearly unrecognizable.

Born Jerome Hewlett, Cash Money came of age in the same early-'80s suburban hip hop scene that produced Jazzy Jeff and Will "Don't Call Me Fresh Prince" Smith. (Money was such a rube that he showed up to his first New York gig wearing an Izod sweater.) He began his career as a member of the Franchise Dancers, a junior high crew that performed a routine called "stepping," which he describes as "Fred Astaire-type stuff." The group's DJ, Grand Wizard Rasheed, showed the young Money basic blending and cutting techniques, and soon he was playing his own parties. But even after developing his own trick -- the "transformer scratch," a herky-jerky effect created by rapidly wiggling the cross-fader -- and winning the DMC's World DJ Championship in the late '80s, Money was often overshadowed in Philly by Jazzy Jeff. Though Money grumbles that he taught Jeff many of his chops -- including the latter's patented scratch technique, which Jeff recorded on the flip side of the corny hit single "Parents Just Don't Understand" -- there is no bad blood between the two.

Today, as the first inductee into the DJ Hall of Fame, Cash Money travels the globe, judging turntablist competitions and making the occasional party appearance. No doubt the World's Greatest DJ -- a title that's been thrown his way on a few occasions -- will have some love to share with the city that cherishes the DJ more than any other.

About The Author

Darren Keast


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