Late-70s. Summer vacation boring so far. A DJ acquaintance invites me to a party. Disco sucks, but it's not like I've got anything else going on this night. I accept, and get deputised to help him bring his disques and turntables to the party. After he gets off work (the 9-to-5 variety), a group of us meet at his apartment to get high and start organizing the stuff. He meticulously puts records in various milk crates.

I suppress my punk rock elitist sneer, scanning the covers: generic disco, LPs, 12" singles, George Duke here, Evelyn King there... and Herman Kelly and Life. Who? What a stupid name! "Dance to the Drummer's Beat"? How generic! He plays another copy of it on the stereo. Boring! Then he puts that second copy in the crate too. Why? Some of the records have damaged or taped-over labels; he must work some wild parties!

So I'm at the party. Much time spent outside the house, doing stoner stuff with others, some cheeba, a shared bottle of Malt Duck, stoned bullshittery, good clean fun. We hear the music from where we are. But it gets louder. The DJ's playing "Dance to the Drummer's Beat" and it goes on for about an hour. How? And that break keeps coming back. How? Is this good dope or what?

It wasn't until later that I learned what was up. Two copies of a record, two turntables. Mix yourself silly; turn a cheesy five-minute funk tune into War and Peace. Hip-hop 101. The bomb. Good dope.

It caught on: eventually WKTU-FM used pop-ified "Mastermixes" to regain its ratings footing against WBLS in New York. Meanwhile, in anonymous basements and houses, folks were scratching and rhyming...