dj shadow

DJ Shadow's Josh Davis is widely credited as a key figure in developing the experimental instrumental hip-hop style associated with the London-based Mo'Wax label. His early singles for the label, including "In/Flux" and "Lost and Found (S.F.L.)," were all-over-the-map mini-masterpieces combining elements of funk, rock, hip-hop, ambient, jazz, soul, and used-bin incidentalia. Although he'd already done a scattering of original and production work (during 1991-92 for Hollywood Records) by the time Mo'Wax's James Lavelle contacted him about releasing "In/Flux" on the fledgling imprint, it wasn't until his association with Mo'Wax that his sound began to mature and cohere. Mo'Wax released his longest work to date in 1995 -- the 40-minute single in four movements, "What Does Your Soul Look Like," which topped the British indie charts -- and Davis has gone on to co-write, remix, and produce tracks for labelmates DJ Krush and Doctor Octagon.

Josh Davis grew up in Hayward, CA, a predominantly lower-middle class suburb of San Francisco. The odd White suburban hip-hop fan in the hard rock-dominated early '80s, Davis gravitated toward the turntable/mixer setup of the hip-hop DJ over the guitars, bass, and drums of his peers. He worked his way through hip-hop's early years into the heyday of crews like Eric B. & Rakim, Ultramagnetic, and Public Enemy -- groups which prominently featured DJs in their ranks. Davis had already been fiddling around with making beats and breaks on a four-track while he was in high school, but it was his move to the NorCal cow-town of Davis to attend university that led to the establishment of his label as an outlet for his original tracks. Hooking up with Davis' few b-boys (including eventual Sole Sides artists Blackalicious and Lyrics Born) through the college radio station, Shadow began releasing the "Reconstructed from the Ground Up" mixtapes in 1991 and pressed his 17-minute hip-hop symphony "Entropy" in 1993. His tracks spread widely through the DJ-strong hip-hop underground, eventually catching the attention of Mo'Wax. Shadow's first full-length, Endtroducing, was released in late 1996; Preemptive Strike, a compilation of early singles, followed in early 1998. (See Also: U.N.K.L.E.)



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