Hip-hop and (ugh) trip-hop heads alike know the name DJ Shadow. Whether he’s on the wheels of steel or cutting up samples for his own record, the man has built a formidable mini-empire in a sense. The groundwork was clearly his classic debut Entroducing, a groundbreaking epic. Since then, he’s walked the line between trip-hop and hip-hop while also releasing a slew of live albums and mixtapes. Most recently, Shadow liberated the soundboard recording of his all-vinyl DJ set at the 2009 Halloween Masquerade Benefit Ball in Los Angeles.
Armed with three turntables, crates upon crates of vinyl, and an obvious knack for spinning, Shadow killed it across an 80-minute set. He blends a classic mix of hip-hop, pop, and rock, which all makes for an unstoppable party atmosphere. What’s clear is Shadow still has it, with “it” being an ability to please the masses and live up to his “DJ” moniker. It also becomes clear by the 20-minute mark that if you’re not chugging a Red Bull or downing some booze, this mix isn’t really palatable beyond its first listen. That’s not a knock at Shadow, either; it’s merely the nature of releasing a mixtape like this. Also, it would be a crime not to mention that he deserves props for sticking to the source of what makes a real DJ a real DJ: He uses vinyl and turntables, two things many so-called DJs have replaced with playlists and laptops.