Dj Nikoless Skratch – This Is Where You Got It From

4 out of 5

Label: Rhymesayers

Produced by: DJ Nikoless Skratch

Heads up to my billions of dedicated followers: in my responsibilities as your foremost educator on all of the music that’s since either become a fixture in your catalogues or kicked out on the street due to a deleterious review, while I know I can speak on some subjects with authority – like, at least 2, maybe 3 – one those things is not hip-hop mixtapes. I don’t know what to say an audience is looking for in such a mix, nor am I at all familiar with the tracks DJ Nikoless (and others) are bringing in to this extensive 2-CD set, which the liner notes and album title suggests is a tribute to the history of turntablism.

How stepped on are these songs? Dunno. Is it a good selection? I mean, I recognize many of the names – Jam Master Jay, DJ Jazzy Jeff & Fresh Prince, X-Ecutioners, plenty of others – but that recognition doesn’t extend to knowing eff-all about their actual catalogues.

Going off of electro mix tapes, with which I’d have slightly more experience, the source material maybe doesn’t matter so much as theme and flow, so that’s what I’m going off of, and This Is Where You Got It From is damned impressive in both regards. Though the sampled material would appear to extend from the 70s to the 00s, Skratch milks out a particular beat-based, old school sound from everything, and undoubtedly keeps the party mostly going across almost 60 tracks of material, scratching and mixing things together seamlessly. Both discs, to my ears, follow a flow from old-ish to newer-ish sounds – roughly rapping + simplistic beats to more complex layering – linked by some turntable trickery-focus past the midpoints of each; and while those links are impressive from a skills perspective, it’s also maybe the only times where the consistent head-bobbing is somewhat interrupted for stops and starts and flashiness. Since I have trouble listening to this beyond background beats, that interruption is a hiccup for me, but more attentive listeners may enjoy the break to appreciate the showmanship.

Ultimately, even as a noob, Skratch leaves me with no doubts as to his bona fides regarding this material, and I also feel like if it were more my scene, I’d find a lot of stuff to dig into here; even with it not being my scene, it’s a really fun listen, mixed and produced up to modern standards that sound great while also maintaining a very warm and loose old-school vibe.