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Local Music

The sum and its parts

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Published 3/10/1999

From city to city and state to state, Detroit’s Combined Individuals DJ crew is making its presence felt in the relatively new musical genre known as "turntabilism." Simply put, DJs use turntables to play music while turntabilists use ’em to make music. Manipulating records, turntabilists can create bass lines and more while interweaving complicated scratches and cuts.

After some prodding by Detroit native DJ Shotgun of the Goodie Mob, six of the area’s most skilled DJs got together to form their own turntable collective and have nearly monopolized the metro Detroit area since. Last year they swept "The Turntable Warz" at the University of Michigan, as well as the battle at DJ Supply in Warren. Member Len Swann also placed second in Vestax’ "Vinyl Wars" in Los Angeles and won Source magazine’s DJ battle – held right here in Detroit – while other member DJs Crucial and G-Swing have both placed in battles throughout the country, including the Source battle in Chicago.

Beyond DJing, C.I. also has production experience in both techno and hip hop. Swann’s credits include work on Chris Webber’s upcoming projects and an appearance on Eminem’s platinum debut. B.A.K. Spin, founder of Real to Real production company, touts a résumé that includes the underground hit "The Leaves are Changing Colors." DJs Magnetic and Big Daddy Riff stay busy working with the likes of Las Wunz Out, Elzhi and Riff’s 12 Tech Mob crew.

’99 looks to be the breakout year for the crew, including inking a sponsorship with the DJ equipment manufacturer Rane, a forthcoming breakbeat record release, and an upcoming show with Rob Swift of the infamous X-Ecutioners and DJ Spice of the Ear Wax Crew.

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