In our second edition of URB Mixtape Series, we enlisted the help of a little known DJ out of Buffalo, NY named DJ Cutler (who would then enlist help from Tone At and DJ Bobby Cousy*). A household name in Buffalo, chances are you have never heard of him unless you’re from the area, but his quality of work speaks volumes. A true student of music and art of DJing, Cutler has performed alongside some of the biggest names in hip hop such as Rakim, Kool G Rap, Pete Rock, Biz Markie, LL Cool J, Snoop Dogg, and The Wu Tang Clan. In 2006, he was chosen as a national winner of Scion’s Free Up Your Mix DJ contest, in a competition selected and judged by legendary DJ’s Tony Touch and Jazzy Jeff. He also serves as one-third of the Pseudo Intellectuals and he frequently builds with the homies Scott Down (Blue Collar Funk), Optimus Prime, LoPro, Daringer, Eric Crittenden, Brownman (of Guru’s Jazzmatazz), and your mother.
Here’s a few words from the talented DJ in regards to this mix:
Piano Rap. Some of the finest raps in human history have been fashioned upon piano beats. From NO ID’s bed of Ahmad Jamal finery beneath Common Sense’s magnum opus Resurrection to DJ Premier’s bevy of gritty reconstructed piano keys lent to the likes of Jeru the Damaja and Group Home, hip hop owes a lot to the 88 black and ivory keys. This mix is a homage to the elegant emotion of the piano, and the raps that have been inadvertently inspired by it.
Who is DJ Cutler?
DJ Cutler is some asshole who spends most of Mike Butler’s hard-earned money on records.
How did you get into DJing?
I honestly got into DJing in the late 90’s because all of the music I wanted to listen to was only available on wax. I bought turntables to listen to such records, next thing you know I’m trying to blend and cut.
Explain your creative process in creating Piano Rap and past projects.
I like having themes or “rules” in mixes. Piano Raps is a quite obvious theme (rap music with piano-based beats), and my other most recent mixes also follow themes. 1994, and Newer Sounds for Older Souls, the latter of which only uses recent releases.
Where can we find your past work?
A lot of my past mixes are at mixcrate.com/cutler
What musicians inspire you right now?
I just got back from New Orleans, that whole city and culture inspires the shit out of me.
Do you have favorite record you like to play in your set?
I have lots of favorite records that change pretty often, but recently I’ve been playing Jungle Fire’s “Chalupa” damn near every night. Huge shout out to Colemine Records.
You only DJ with records. Why have you stuck to analog and not conformed to the Serato culture?
I just never got into accumulating or playing digital music. I love records. I’ll download something to peep it out and if I like it I’ll cop the wax and use it.
What can we expect from you in the future?
Right now my group Pseudo Intellectuals is about to release a new, self-titled EP via Druh Slawek Records out of Poland (on wax, obvi), and I’ve got my fking hands full with two more volumes of 1994 music, which will be released on 90 min cassettes later this year.
If you had to condense this interview into one pull quote or idea, or choose one takeaway that anyone reading this would find, what would that one thing be? (Doesn’t have to be serious either)
Bad artists imitate; great artists steal.
1) Intro — DJ Cutler
2) Dolphin Dance — Ahmad Jamal
3) Resurrection — Common Sense
4) The World is Yours — Nas
5) I Love Music — Ahmad Jamal
6) Me or the Papes — Jeru the Damaja
7) Folks — McCoy Tyner
8) Me, Not the Paper — Jeru the Damaja
9) I Got Some — Sugar Billy Garner
10) B.Y.S. (instrumental) — Gang Starr
11) D. Original — Jeru the Damaja
12) ’92 Interlude — Gang Starr
13) Up Against the Wall (Getaway Car Mix) — Group Home
14) Red Sails in the Sunset — Young-Holt Unlimited
15) Strangers in the Night — Young-Holt Unlimited
16) Yesterdays — Clifford Brown
17) Get Out of My Life Woman — The Thad Jones/ Mel Lewis Big Band with Joe Williams
18) Ill Street Blues — Kool G. Rap & Polo
19) Hard to Handle — Otis Redding
20) The Symphony — Marley Marl
21) Stiletto — Billy Joel
22) Road to the Riches — Kool G. Rap & Polo
23) Hyperbollicsyllabicsesquedalymistic — Issac Hayes
24) Filthy — Encore featuring Evidence and Babu
25) 1,2 Pass it — D&D All-Stars
26) Say it Twice (instrumental) — Defari
27) Respiration (remix) — Black Star
28) 2000 Seasons — Reflection Eternal
29) On the Occasion of Wet Snow — Pseudo Intellectuals featuring Definition
30) Hope — Pseudo Intellectuals
27) Big L freestyle
28) Respiration (remix) — Black Star
29) 2000 Seasons — Reflection Eternal
30) R.S.V.P. — Nat Adderley
31) What I’m Here 4 — Gang Starr
32) Solitude Part I–Pseudo Intellectuals
33) Hope–Pseudo Intellectuals