Turntable titans DJ Cash Money and DJ Aktive throw a birthday party for hip-hop at The Mann - WXPN | Vinyl At Heart

Today my favorite music genre, hip hop, turned 50 years old. It’s crazy how a sound that has become so popular worldwide all started off in the Bronx behind a turntable mixing breakbeats of popular songs. That’s why yesterday at the Mann Center was a perfect way to bring in hip hop’s birthday by being able to witness two West legends – DJ Cash Money and DJ Aktive – show off their skills as turntable technicians.

The event was held at the Downtown Stage of the Mann. You could see DJ Shorty Wop spinning to the left, two DJ stands in the middle,  a white Cadillac truck tagged by North Philly artist Gianni Lee in the back and a bar section on the right. The event was hosted by West Philly hip hop artist Chill Moody who, like many of us was, bopping his head to some of the classic hip hop tunes DJ Shorty Wop was playing like “Ten Crack Commandments,” and “Roc Da Mic.”

photo by Rahman Wortman

Up first was DJ Aktive, and I kid you not, you could feel the bass moving under your feet when he took it back to 80s and played “Top Billin” and “The Bridge Is Over.” I guess that’s one of the perks of having a party on the stage. I enjoy going to events where DJ Aktive plays hip-hop music because he usually has it in his bag and yesterday was no different. He was skillful on the turntables, smooth with his transitions, and bounced around from different decades’ worth of hip hop joints to play. During his set a group of b-boys called Project Positivity broke out and started freestyling to the breakbeats that were being played. Aktive was so nasty he even had the OG Cash Money impressed.

photo by Rahman Wortman

It was then time for me to witness DJ Cash Money spin for the first time. I learned that night that Cash Money was the first DJ to be inducted into the DJ Hall of Fame, and he showed why he earned it. What made Cash Money’s set interesting was the different ways he played a song. On my DJ app, I like to experiment with mixing songs to find different ways to enjoy a song I like, and Cash Money’s set gave me that same feeling. His set was so old school you would have felt like you were riding in your Pop’s old school Cadillac with the Diamond in the back with the sunroof dropped sitting with a gangsta lean. It was one thing to see Cash Money and Aktive do their thing individually, but together they fused into the ultimate scratch warrior.

photo by Rahman Wortman

The craziest part of the night was seeing Cash Money, Aktive, and DJ Swift, another OG of Aktive’s, take turns cutting over breakbeat. Like seeing swordsmen at their finest and hearing what a three sword style sounds like on turntables. Then finally they had the crowd moving to old school joints from the 80s and 90s, letting the rhythms take control of the footwork of those who couldn’t help but dance the night away: a great way to start off the celebration of hip hop’s 50th birthday.

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