Turntablism -- the late-Nineties hip-hop subgenre that showcased technical wizardry behind the ones and twos -- was in many ways doomed from the beginning. It was too esoteric, too exclusive, and most turntablists prioritized difficult routines and out-of-print records that impressed only fellow practitioners, not audience members. But Arizona DJ Z-Trip is different. Whether mashing up Led Zeppelin with Etta James or paying tribute to cock rockers such as AC/DC, Z-Trip isn't afraid to throw a few cheap tricks and musical puns into his set. He prizes familiarity over obscurity -- he doesn't want to impress you as much as get you on the dance floor. His recently released debut for Hollywood Records, Shifting Gears, has a similarly silly streak running through it. Indie hip-hop all-stars such as Lyrics Born, Jurassic 5, and Aceyalone make appearances, but the real draw of the album is Z-Trip's stuttering rhythms and oddball samples.
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