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Invisibl Skratch Piklz

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Invisibl Skratch Piklz

Turntable missionaries DJ Q-Bert, Mix Master Mike, D-Styles, Yogafrog and Shortkut have taken their brand of turntablism around the world performing both solo as well as in the touring unit known as the Invisibl Skratch Piklz. Fans of the Beastie Boys were perhaps some of the very first people outside of California's turntable scene to follow the exploits of Mix Master Mike's crew, although now it would seem that everyone has jumped on the bandwagon. Whether you were aware of it or not, ISP (Invisibl Skratch Piklz) was not exactly the first formation of this famous turntable troupe.

Back in 1990, DJ Q-Bert, Mix Master Mike and DJ Apollo formed the first all turntable skratch band, Shadow of the Prophet. The three of them were the DJs for an Oakland/San Francisco based bay area rap group named F.M.2.0. For awhile they performed on various radio shows and at a few smaller venues, but it was evident early on that they had the talent to take it to the next level. In 1991, Q-Bert captivated audiences and judges as he won both the 1991 West Coast Technics' DMC Championship as well as the USA Technics' DMC Championship. Although Q-Bert was the first, Mix Master Mike followed right behind him and brought home the 1992 NMS Supermen Battle for World Supremacy Championship. By now it was clear to the world that both Q-Bert and Mix Master Mike had proven themselves as innovators and true champions, but the winning did not stop there.

Fans of the Beastie Boys remember the impact Check Your Head had on their lives in 1992. At the same time, a few hundred miles away from the Los Angeles G-Son studio home base, the ISP crew were continuing to sharpen their skills as they prepared for world domination. Part of this preparation included the introduction of the "Flare" scratch, thanks to honorary ISP member DJ Flare; shortly thereafter the world was turned upside down when this technique was released. A name change also took place in 1992, when world famous Rocksteady Breakdancing Crew member Crazylegs, dubbed the trio of Mix Master Mike, Apollo and Q-Bert as the "Rocksteady DJs." Performing as the Rocksteady DJs, they continued their winning streak and became the first team to win both U.S.A. and World titles at the Technics DMC World DJ Championships in 1992. This memorable appearance was videotaped and has surfaced on an official DMC video tape; it also can be found on pirate copies circulating amongst ISP collectors.

In what would later become viewed as a catalyst in the formation of the Invisibl Skratch Piklz, DJ Apollo chose to leave the ranks of Q-Bert and Mix Master Mike to become the DJ for jazz saxaphonist Branford Marsalis (1993). The remaining duo of Q-Bert and Mix Master Mike did not let Apollo's departure slow them down any - the two DJ's returned to the 1993-94 DMC competition and regained their world title. However during the competition a great deal of confusion was created when the duo was mistakenly introduced by DJ Red Alert as the "Dream Team." Red Alert made the statement as a compliment, not as a label - the result of this misnomer led to the labeling of the competition's performance as "the Dream Team set" by collectors and tape traders.

By 1994 Mix Master Mike had moved back to Sacramento and upon his arrival, Q-Bert along with Shortkut and Disk formed a turntablist group named "Tern Tabel Dragunz." This name seemed to serve them well for a limited time as they performed at hip-hop shows around the California bay area during the summer of 1994 (this was just as Ill Communication was tearing up the charts, backed by that summer's anthem "Sabotage"). ISP finally came into being in 1995 almost by chance - the story goes that Mix Master Mike and Disk unknowingly created the name "Invisibl Skratch Piklz" for the crew one day while jokingly throwing out hundreds of goofy names.

The name seemed to stick and thus wanting to claim their spot on the internet, the crew registered the domain name skratchpiklz.com the following year. It would not be long until the entire world would come to know the names of the most talented DJs on the planet. Sadly, DJ Disk was the first to break the bonds of the tight crew. He left ISP to pursue a career in more mainstream music, and went on to DJ for Giant Robot, Primus, MCM and the Monster, & Stew. His departure sort of set the stage for Mix Master Mike's collaboration with the Beastie Boys on their 1998 release Hello Nasty.

During his May 31st, 2002 appearance on KROQ's Kevin and Bean morning show, Mix Master Mike retold how he went on to become the Beastie Boys DJ: "I've know them for a while. Ever since 1994 when I used to leave these crazy messages on their answering machine and bug them and stuff. They called me back and said 'Yo! We're working on a new record and we want to fly you out to New York,' and that is how that whole thing happened." In part due to the amount of time Mix Master Mike dedicated to recording and touring with the Beastie Boys, the decision was made in June of 2001 that the very last Invisibl Skratch Piklz performance would occur at the July 2000 Skratchcon conference. In ten years time, the California turntablist movement went from being a local scene to worldwide phenomenon.

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