Producer and video director extraordinaire QD3 has partnered with video game developers Genius Products to develop “Scratch: The Ultimate DJ.” Alongside Mixmaster Mike from The Beastie Boys, the veteran West Coast boardsmith will help supply instrumentals and song selections for the new gaming endeavor. QD3 recently checked in with HipHopWired about his latest venture and bringing Hip-Hop’s pulse back to the forefront.
HipHopWired: First of all, how did you become involved with the development of “Scratch: The Ultimate DJ?”
QD3: I was working with Genius Products on the home video front. We’re doing some films with them and they suggested that I take a meeting with the gaming division. They invited me down, we played one of the rhythm based games that’s out on the marketplace right now and they were like we’re basically planning on doing an urban version of “Guitar Hero.” They basically told me that the difference between what they were doing and what a lot of other people were doing in the music video game space was that in this game you can actually win the game by adding your own creativity instead of just following exactly what the songs were.
HipHopWired: Sort of like in Hip-Hop, originality stands out.
QD3: Exactly. I thought that was real conducive to how Hip-Hop works which is that everybody wants to show people what they can do their way. I thought that was a really unique approach because in this game you can actually upload your own sounds and add your own flare with the scratches and stuff and get extra points instead of just having to do exactly what the game is telling you to do. I thought that was really cool and immediately became very interested in getting involved.
HipHopWired: You’re a consultant on this project but did you produce beats for “Scratch: The Ultimate DJ” as well?
QD3: I’m doing a few beats and it’s a couple of songs I did with some artists like Ice Cube and other people are in the game also.
HipHopWired: When is the game expected to be released?
QD3: We’re looking at the first of the year between January and February but we’ll be announcing a date real soon.
HipHopWired: How will “Scratch: The Ultimate DJ” showcase the once focal point of Hip-Hop?
QD3: I think one thing that people forget is that the DJ was really the first person to bring attention to Hip-Hop. Before the MC, I’m pretty sure even before the break dancers, the DJ was the star. Kool Herc was the big guy and Flash was the guy and then rappers were sort of MCing and doing what they were doing. So I think that’s an interesting thing so this list is really a celebration of that time and sort of bringing the love back to the DJ because they actually helped usher all this off from day one.
HipHopWired: Do you think games like this allow novices to believe that they can become a real DJ. In today’s times, some think that all you need to do is have MP3s and hook it up to a computer and some speakers and all of a sudden they making the crowd move and forget about the science involved in it. The same theory applies to many of the DJ video game users.
QD3: I think DJing is kind of hard to do no matter what. Even if you got an MP3 Player, it just makes it easier to travel. You don’t have to carry your crates. I still think there’s a craft involved in it for sure. Like putting the right songs together and scratching is a type of hand movement that you don’t just pick up out of nowhere. It takes skill to do it, no matter what. I would say it’s definitely easier and it’s definitely a little more pre fab but I think to be good, it’s hard to do anything good so it’ll still require work.
HipHopWired: What will separate “Scratch: The Ultimate DJ” from other DJ video systems?
QD3: The difference between this game and a lot of other games is our controller. Plus we were able to do this game in a really authentic way but we didn’t really have a lot of filters. The song selections were all songs that we felt were like the best songs from everything from Whodini to Lil Wayne to Kanye. Run DMC, The Beastie Boys…we were able to really create a song list that I feel is non-filtered. It’s commercial but it’s still very authentic. In terms of the controller, it’s the only game that I’m aware of that actually has two brand names involved. We have Akai who makes the MPC sampling drum machine and they made the drum pads on the controllers. So it’s just like an MPC where you’re hitting the sample pads.
HipHopWired: What’s the other brand name involved?
QD3: On the DJ side, the turntables and the fader are made by Numark so those are the number one companies in each of those categories for drum machine and DJ equipment. When you play this, it’s the closest thing you can get to actually using the real equipment and plus having the MPC factor in there where you can trigger actual samples from the songs. So what we did, we basically licensed the multi tracks for this game so that people can manipulate the kick, the snare, vocal samples, the chorus, keyboard parts, and guitar parts. You really have access to all the separate elements to the song for the first time that I’m aware of in any game.
HipHopWired: So you’re kind of creating your new competition and inspiring new producers.
QD3: It’s really like a mini production studio so if you’re an aspiring DJ or an aspiring producer or someone that just loves music, you may get turned on to being a producer through the game. I think this is a cool way for a little bit over $100, you basically have a production suite where you can trigger samples and manipulate original sounds and DJ all in one box. On top of that you can upload your own sounds through a USB port into the game. Basically if you wanted to, you can upload your own vocals saying your DJ name and you can go back into the game and win with your sounds.
HipHopWired: So you can’t win if you’re biting what everyone else is doing which is sort of like how the actual music is. The video game tip sheet won’t work here.
QD3: So to me that’s the spirit of Hip-Hop. You can do it your way. That’s what’s kind of unique about this, you can win the game with your sounds, you don’t have to follow any molds. I think a lot of people will have fun just basically remixing songs that they like and two adding their own flavor to those songs. That’s a stand lone entertainment value and on top of that you have the game aspect where you can battle each other. I think it combined a lot of different things that people will like that’ll enable you to enjoy it for a longer time and in a deeper way than just playing a “Simon Says” game where you hold your hand over what someone else is doing.
HipHopWired: That sounds dope. I can’t wait to play it. Before we wrap this up, you also sent in a play list for HipHopWired “Wired Mixtape” to give a feel of what to expect in the game. A lot of the tracks are old school so is that how “Scratch: The Ultimate DJ” is gonna be set up?
QD3: The play list that I sent is basically my favorite DJ-inspired cuts so either they’re songs where the DJ is really doing his thing or songs where DJing has been used in creative ways. Some of these songs, like “Nuthin But a g Thang” and a few others are in the game also. But the tracks for “Wired Mixtape” is a mixtape to me that’s like the best of the DJ songs where the DJ may not be doing his thing all the way through the song, but the MC might be talking about the DJ in a way that celebrates the DJ and puts the focal point on the DJ.