Dope Whites on Non-Punk

While most turntablists are peach-fuzz-mustached little funk-Trekkies hanging out in their parents' basements trying to perfect scratches, Arizona's Z-Trip and Springfield, Missouri's DJ P are instigators. Or at least they have a sense of humor: Z-Trip has scratched for Slayer side project Stormtroopers of Death and is prone to performing in superhero costumes, while DJ P famously turned the 1999 U.S. DMC Finals out when he abandoned the scratch trickery of the other 11 finalists to mix Tom Petty's "Don't Come Around Here No More" with a breakbeat, before segueing to Bruce Hornsby's "The Way It Is" (Tupac R.I.P.) and leaving the decks to go breakdance. He may have lost the battle, but he won the war; he was the only finalist to get a standing ovation.

It's this mix of B-boy pantomime and reinvigoration that makes P and Z-Trip's '80s-flavored, Internet-available mix disc, Uneasy Listening, so vital, and—more than most anything in today's overly skills-obsessed hip-hop world—fun. Just as Afrika Bambaataa chose to build hip-hop not on old James Brown rhythms, but on two wild-card Kraftwerk records, so do P and Z-Trip flip the script as only two hick white boys can, reimagining a house-party hip-hop where the Tubes' "She's a Beauty" mixes over Herbie Hancock's "Rockit" and Rush's "Tom Sawyer" gets torn apart, then cut back together over a Beastie Boys beat. The it's-all-good pan-genre embracing is admittedly shticky, but there's no denying the mix from Phil Collins's "In the Air Tonight" to Del tha Funkee Homosapien's "Phoney Phranchise" is dope as hell.


DJ P And Z-Trip
Uneasy Listening Against the Grain Vol. 1

While much of Uneasy Listening has a jokey factor just as capable of conjuring "Weird Al" Yankovic as Kid Rock, there's also a pure heart of hip-hop—one that's not afraid of self-criticism. When the finale, the Beatles' "Yesterday" getting sloppily marauded, kicks in, you can't help but feel Z-Trip and P are making the point that some things are better left un-funked-up. Because the Beatles are dope as hell too—with or without some idiot throwing a breakbeat over them.

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