The second of the four original elements of hip-hop, Disk Jockeying-aka DJing aka [later] Turntable-ism, originated in the South Bronx in the mid 70’s. Hip-Hop DJing in the mid-70s was the nucleus from which all of modern-day Hip-Hop Culture has emerged.


During the late 70s/early 80s, highly skilled technical DJs began experimenting with the many procedural methods of DJing. The invention of break-beat DJing is generally regarded as the foundational development in hip hop history and out of this came turntablism, which was the first musical/instrumental form of hip-hop. The architects of this technical art-form (now referred to as “pioneers” for having pioneered the Culture) gave birth to the Culture by way of house and block parties within various neighborhoods around the Bronx.  As the notoriety and popularity of DJing grew during this time, so too did the different forms [elements] of hip-hop. Through the instrumentalism of the DJ, the final elements of hip-hop were born: b-boying (breakdancing) and emceeing(rap).  Throughout the early/mid 80s, Hip-Hop Culture and all it's elements were growing at an alarming rate-around New York City, the USA and the world. In particular, rap was growing at super speeds and because during this time every bona-fide rapper had to have a DJ counterpart, such was djing. The early pioneers cemented the fundamental practice that would later become the emerging turntablist art form, called scratching. Scratching would, during the 80s and early 90s, become a staple of hip-hop’s musical elements, being used by producers and DJs on records and in live shows. During the late 90s, however unfortunate, the rap industry had changed drastically and the role of the DJ as pertinent to any and every MC had all but diminished. Nonetheless, djing as bona-fide hip-hop art form continued to grow and flourish around the world.


DJing was responsible for bringing sound, rhythm, and reason to Hip-Hop Culture; without which there would have been no rapper and/or no b-boy-and no Hip-Hop Culture. Accessed 1 May 2017.

Call for Artists

Elements Urban Arts Collective is interested in developing partnerships with DJs with a specialty in urban/street music for upcoming arts projects.  For consideration, please send press materials (YouTube, Facebook, SoundCloud, etc.) to