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  Offworld Music
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X-ecutioners
Built From Scratch (Loud)

Don’t miss the X-ecutioners on tour with Linkin Park!

The X-ecutioners’ debut release on Loud Records, entitled Built from Scratch, was three years in the making, and represents a ground-breaking leap for the art of turntablism (a musical genre centered around the use of turntables as the primary musical instrument). Not only is it a treasure chest of classic hip-hop quotables cut with all the latest turntablist precision, but the album as a whole represents a whole new level of songwriting. Vocal appearances by Big Pun, Kool G Rap, Pharaoh Monch, Xzibit, Everlast, Linkin Park, Tom Tom Club, Inspectah Deck, Mad Skillz, and beatboxer Kenny Muhammad give the album a wide reach, offering something for just about anyone. As Rob Swift puts it, “We wanted to make something different. We want to educate people about scratching. . . There’s so much going on in our songs that you gotta listen to it over and over just to catch it all. We’re like human samples.”

Having said that, samples are almost non-existent on the album. However, the guys did remake two old school B-boy classics: “Genius Of Love,” featuring The Tom Tom Club’s Tina Weymouth on vocals, and “Play That Beat,” featuring another X-men original, Hot 97’s Fatman Scoop, the hype master. Also rounding out the album are their West Coast counterparts, The Beat Junkies. Production assistance was virtually volunteered by cream-of-the-crop producers such as Dr. Butcher (an original member, also DJ for Kool G Rap), DJ Premier and Large Professor, who have been fans and affiliates of the X-ecutioners since they were called the X-men.

The album cover art for Built From Scratch brings everything full circle. Replicating Public Enemy’s classic Yo! Bumrush the Show LP cover, the X-ecutioners are joined by Kool Herc (hip-hop’s father), Grandmaster DST (responsible for popularizing the scratch and of Herbie Hancock “Rock It” fame), and Grand Wizard Theodore (the inventor of the scratch). The original photo shows a picture of Public Enemy in a basement, huddling around a turntable and mixer with Flavor Flav’s hand reaching out towards the turntable. Theodore plays the role of Flav, reaching out to scratch the record and directing us to the album’s title, Built From Scratch.

For Roc Raida, Mista Sinista, Total Eclipse and Rob Swift, getting behind the decks is an exercise in musical intuition, improvisation, and self-expression. It’s no wonder the X-ecutioners (formerly X-Men) are first and foremost known for their integrity. When they step up to their six-turntable live rig, they transport their audience back to a time when making music was primarily about performance, musicality, style, and flare. Coltrane would be proud.

 


The X-ecutioners’
debut release on Loud Records,
entitled Built from Scratch

 

 

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