The DJs come together to salute hip-hop pioneer Afrika Bambaataa at the House of Blues September 16.

dj shadow and cut chemist photo
By Joe Conzo

On the “Renegades of Rhythm” tour, DJ Shadow and Cut Chemist pay tribute to hip-hop pioneer Afrika Baambaataa. Shadow told Rolling Stone:

I would consider Bambaataa to be one of the three biggest musical influences in my life, along with Grandmaster Flash and Kurtis Mantronik. He was a DJ with a vision and a sense of purpose, with a desire for social change. He wanted to use the music to help foster a revolution, and the reverberations of this concept are still being felt today, and probably will be forever. His ability to embrace and incorporate all different types of music and art, and contextualize them with a hip-hop mentality, is what the entire culture is based on.

Shadow and Cut Chemist play the House of Blues September 16, and for the occasion they’re working solely from vinyl from Bambaataa’s collection of more than 40,000 records housed at Cornell University’s library. Bambaataa and Soul Sonic Force helped broaden hip-hop horizons when “Planet Rock” sampled Kraftwerk’s “Trans Europe Express,” and his collection includes African music as well as soca, dub, calypso and salsa in addition to funk and soul. Both Shadow and Cut Chemist have long, loving relationships with vinyl; DJ Shadow put himself on the map with 1996’s love letter to vinyl, Endtroducing.

Rolling Stone's David Fricke reviewed the opening night of the tour, writing:

the socio-political component of Bambaataa's importance to hip-hop – especially the emphasis on crossing borders and color in his mixing – ran through many of the records Shadow and Chemist pulled from their respective crates. That Kraftwerk piece, central to "Planet Rock," got an extended airing. There were dark materials from Public Image Ltd.'s Flowers of Romance. And Chemist didn't just play the key riff from Yes' "Owner of a Lonely Heart" – he let the track run into singer Jon Anderson's high, quivering vocal, allowing it to demonstrate how Bambaataa found momentum and unity in the least likely grooves. 

My Spilt Milk has a pair of tickets to give away for the show, and in the spirit of the tour, we want you to tell us what artist’s work affected your life. Register here for a chance to win. The most interesting, enlightening, and/or compelling answer will win a pair of tickets (assuming you’re old enough to go the show). The contest closes at noon Friday.