After Empire: Profile of DJ Scratch

Call ’em what you want: contagious, infectious, soulful, whatever. If you can appreciate good beats, you probably know Brooklyn’s DJ Scratch. He’s been dropping them for decades.

On this day, the international DJ and beat doctor is sharing his knowledge and love of the music that’s given him so much with the world. It is ScratchVision, an online platform curated and cut by Scratch broadcasting to far corners of the globe. Class is in session.

To know Scratch and appreciate his journey you have to come here. You can’t romanticize the place. Typically the projects are synonymous with abject poverty, unemployment and crime. Most of its true. What you don’t hear enough about is the beautiful souls that call it home.


It was here and places like Albany Houses that music became the escape for a generation of young people. The sound was raw, unapologetic and often times an open diary about life in the struggle. They called it hip hop.

As the story goes, times were tough. Another long and hot summer without much to do until Albany Days, a yearly community get together, and it included a DJ competition for the kids. So a 12-year-old known only as “Junior” at the time entered as the man he wanted to be, writing “DJ SCRATCH” on the signup sheet.

There were 4 core components of the movement: B-boys, MC’s, Graffiti Artists and DJs — and he wanted a piece of it.

His world would never be the same. Jay Z, Biggie — Let me back up — Jam Master J, Run DMC,
Hit Records. Banging Beats. The world over. From, well, the ‘hood.

The seeds for Scratch Vision were planted on the road — Germany to Japan, Miami to Madrid — now, Scratch is offering a resource: to teach, educate, preserve, if you will, the sound of his childhood.

The world has changed since the early 1980s. Scratch has found a way to embrace the new technology and also remain true to his roots. Dropping beats. Dropping knowledge.

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