Four Color Zack is your favorite DJ’s favorite DJ, and you probably didn’t even know it. As one of the few heads still practicing the art of “Real DJing,” alongside A-Trak and DJ Craze, the Seattle-based scratch champion—2012 Red Bull Thre3style world winner—is lauded for his technical performances, polished track selection, and high-energy party-rocking skills. He’s a sniper behind the decks, a true master of the DJ craft often forgotten in these digital days.

Earlier this year, Four Color Zack stepped out of the DJ booth and into the producer’s chair with his Slap It Down EP, a collaboration with fellow DJ vet DJ Scene. With M.O.P. and Mad Lion serving up fire on their guest vocalist spots, Slap It Down embodies the soul of classic hip-hop BBQs with today’s dance music phenomenon.

Practice makes perfect, and there’s no doubt Four Color Zack put in the hours at the decks to rise as the cream of the crop in the DJ world, just as his musical heroes did before him. Below, the DJ don lays out the artists, albums, tracks and mixes that inspired his future turntablism career.

DJ Shadow & QBert Camel Bobsled Race

A 20-minute mix of DJ Shadow tunes completely flipped to a new universe of dope from the king of AHHH and FRESH. I was already fully in love with Shadow’s albums, and when this came out as the bonus disc to his Preemptive Strike LP, my face melted before face melting was even a thing.

Kid Koala “Moon River”

A routine Kid K does that transcends into its own work of art. The one and only routine I know of that can and does make an entire room full of people openly cry. I know this because every time I see it, it’s the waterworks.

Common Resurrection

Hey, what’s this ‘90s rap album doing on this list? WTF? Well, I’ll tell you. Mista Sinista of the X-Ecutioners paired up with Common to do all the scratches on the album, and talk about carrying your weight. To me, that album would not be the classic it is without Mista Sinista, and that says a lot as it is also one of my fave golden era rap albums.

Cut Chemist Meets Shortkut ‎– Live At The Future Primitive Soundsession Version 1.1

A live mix from the two legends that was a great example of flexing, while still keeping the funk. Listening back now, you can hear all the mistakes and audibles that made it special. No preprogrammed USB set here; just some dudes making the vibes happen.

J. Rocc ‎Sex Machine Today

J Rocc Sex Machine Today by Jrocc on Mixcloud

While yes this was a live mix from a club, to me it is one of the cornerstones of great turntablism. J. Rocc—the funky president, the man with the plan—he is like funk royalty. This mix was the blueprint of how to rock a vibed-out party set, while flipping mad tricks and techniques.

D-Styles ‎Phantazmagorea

D-Styles is not only, in my opinion, the most dope scratcher on the planet, but also has a way of making the creepiest yet funkiest scratch music. The first track on this describes it all: “It’s the most beautiful ugly sound in the world.” And if you’ve seen how many times he’s gotten booted off Instagram, he’s the last person you wanna get picture text messages from.

Mr. Dibbs & Habitat Present Primitive Tracks

The soundtrack to the Habitat skate video, this was coincidentally also the soundtrack to drinking 40s and smoking poorly rolled spliffs on the couch of the skate house—like the crack house, but if crack was skateboarding. Dibbs was always next level when it came to turntable music.

The Allies D-Day

When the Allies formed, it was almost not fair for the game. It was like if G-Unit, Wu-Tang, and the Roc were putting out a collab project. Needless to say, I played that one ‘til the record melted. Craze, A-Trak, Infamous, Develop, Spictakular and J-Smoke, that’s a team.

Hollertronix Never Scared

While open format DJing had been alive and well for quite a while, when Hollertronix (DJ Low Budget + Diplo) put out this mix celebrating their party, it set the game on fire. It was like the hypercolor version of open format. It was like the six shots of espresso mixed with a cup of lean version of open format. Really paved the way for what became the norm.

The Slap It Down EP from Four Color Zack and DJ Scene is available now via Fool’s Gold Records.

John Ochoa is not, and never will be, a scratch champion. Follow him on Twitter.

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