It happens every third Sunday in downtown Columbus Ohio. The music lovers and hip-hop snobs from all over the city gather at a place called The Avalon to celebrate the essence of true DJing skills and raw music. The name of the event is called The Redo Day Party. But the movement didn’t start downtown. Let’s take you back a little bit…. Columbus, Ohio definitely has a very strong DJ culture. It is a city where the DJ may have just as many fans & groupies if not more than the singers and rappers. Celebrity DJ status can be traced back to legends such as Les Brown, K.C. Jones and Blue Monday’s Kurt Bishop. But people like DJ Wiz, Dewayne Cupe, and Tall Paul paved the way for actual club DJ’s to get just as much star power. But as Hip-Hop became the dominating force in the early 90’s, this gave way to a bunch of tried and true DJ’s that had to go no further than Ohio State University’s campus to build their reputations.
The mid 90’s would bring about a little record shop in the short north of Columbus called The Groove Shack that would birth the DJ legends you hear about today such as DJ Drastic, DJ Bombay, DJ Prime, DJ Boogie, J Rawls, and even visited by The Legendary Mix Master Ice of UTFO (Brooklyn NY).
However, right after the turn of the century, two hometown DJ crews would dominate the club scene in the capital city for over a decade. On one side of town you had The Usual Suspects Crew (RIP King 7even) and on the other end you had The Alliance DJ’s. Ironically, while these DJ crews should have been fierce rivals, they’re actually good friends which led them to start doing events together. Thus, the joining of these wonder powers to form The DJ Super Group…The Usual Alliance.
Somewhere around 2010 the popular lyric by Drake was synonymous with the capital city’s DJ culture:
“I know way too many people here right now that I didn’t know last year…who the fuck are y’all?”
DJ’s were popping up everywhere bringing the price and quality of the DJ down. Coincidently, it was the perfect time for a fresh and new ideas. Technology was taking over and anyone with a controller started doing gigs and calling themselves a DJ. The original promoters of the hottest spots were either locked up or just didn’t carry the juice they once had. T-Pain, Drake and Rick Ross slowed Hip Hop down to 75 bpm and it alienated a lot of the patrons that liked to dance. And that’s just what the problem was! Nobody wanted to dance anymore.
Enter a guy by the name of DJ Kornbread.
“The Redo was really started by an in and out member of the Alliance DJ’s which means if Kornbread is actively DJing or not, but you know how connections go, The Alliance then reached out to myself and Rich NYCe. The idea was taken from and event in San Francisco called the DoOver. Every Sunday, the DJ’s out there, come together and have a big party, playing records from 70’s, 80’s and 90’s genres. We too, wanted to have a venue just for DJ’s to really get to those songs you never get to play when you’re doing a set in the club” says DJ O Sharp of The Usual Suspects Crew. DJ Osharp goes on to comment about why The Redo may be intimidating for a number of DJ’s…
“We didn’t go into this with the mindset of alienating controller DJ’s, I’ve seen some pretty amazing things on controllers, but most, if not all of the members of the DJ crews that started The Redo were in love with their turntables, of which the Technic 1200 is the standard. So not only was The Redo a place to display a DJ’s knowledge of music, it also became a place to display skill, doing tricks and so forth that you might not be able to pull off in the club. So the intimidation comes in because originally it was nice DJ’s that mastered the skill, performing for other nice DJ’s which means you couldn’t finesse your way through. No Sync button, No Cue points, just you and the music. Even the non DJ’s that just come to listen are savvy enough to either know what’s a dope set or take their cues from the response of the veteran DJ’s, because trust me, if you can get another DJ to respond positively to your set, you’ve done something right”
When I asked one of the founders DJ Boogie about why The Redo carries a certain level of pressure that can be described like the movie 8 mile meets Showtime at The Apollo he states…”First of all you gotta deal wit O. You know O, he can be a bully sometimes. LOL! But you see, O Sharp has been in the game for a while and he’s seen a lot, so most of the time, I don’t care how dope you are or what your reputation is, O is gonna lean on you ..well we all are gonna lean on you, until you show us you can handle that pressure of the other DJ’s watching you AND the crowd. And then you’re around a bunch of…I’m not trynna be conceited …but top tier DJ’s that been in the game for a minute and we talk smack….it’s friendly competition so if we see somebody from The Usual Suspects not come with their A game that night…you might hear Dommy Styles going in on Rich and O and they’ll give it right back…but it’s all fun it’s all love…but for the unknowns in Columbus I’d say take it seriously because it can help your reputation as a DJ or hurt it. It’s up to you.”
“One of the things I don’t like is DJ’s thinking they can do an all vinyl set and don’t practice. You can’t bullshit your way through this…I repeat you cannot bullshit your way through an all vinyl set. We know when that record is playing too long or when the DJ is fumbling through the crates trying to find the next song to fit. Or if every song is train wrecked because you didn’t practice blending. We see when your hand is trembling holding the needle. We see it all. You don’t have to be a turntablist but we don’t want you to get up there and sound like shit either” – DJ Boogie
In fact, urban legend has it that one has to respect the culture of DJing so much at The Redo, that it can be disastrous if ignored…The legend goes like this. One night, an out of town DJ that was not familiar with this standard and thought that The Redo was just a free for all and he thought the DJ was permitted to play what you want and how you wanted. The story has it that the unaware DJ opens his laptop and pulls out his mouse with no Serato platters (Vinyl) and starts opening up the computer program Virtual DJ….history then states that DJ Krate Digga and the late King 7seven overtly closes the DJ’s laptop and forbids him to play. This lead to an altercation on stage that could have easily escalated to a transaction of fist-to-cuffs. However the gatekeepers of the movement deescalated the misunderstanding and everyone was able to joke about it later that night. When one talks about the history of The Redo…this night is brought up often and will forever live in the folklore of Redo’s past, as what never to do.
The biggest change to The Redo happened around DJ Boogie’s birthday around the fall 2015. DJ’s from all over the state came together to celebrate their brother. In a conversation, someone said, “..we need to do an All Vinyl Redo again..I really like those.” From that conversation sparked a DJ group chat and an Instagram war on what DJ had the rarest vinyl collection. The buzz quickly spread that DJ’s and followers of DJ’s were going to witness a Redo with no laptops…just taking it back to crates of records. The event proved to be noteworthy because the DJ’s built the anticipation for themselves and the crowd…I’ll paint the picture for you…
The DJ is set up in a pit. Once you are introduced there is about a 3 seconds deafening silence. On either side of the DJ are elevated risers with people looking down on him watching his every move. On a really good night you’ll see people hanging from the balcony like in the movie Juice. The host is standing to the left of him. Usually it’s O Sharp or Rich NYCe (Grumpy Old Hip Hop men LOL), but the DJ is in for a double whammy if Comedian Ro Tha Realest is hosting. A DJ could get a good roasting for doing a bad set by this guy and he shows no mercy. Ro is like the Hip Hop Sandman and he will C-Walk you off stage. LOL. The ground level is full of beautiful women that don’t just want to hear records played…they come to dance and be WOW’d by the DJ’s skills. Keep in mind this is all vinyl so there are no matching sound waves to follow. No Sync buttons. The DJ has to actually listen in the headphones to match the beat. If the vinyl record is not clean…the record could skip. If the record skips you’ll either hear a loud uproar from the crowd, they’ll stop dancing or sometimes laughter but it’s all in fun… The real fun part is hearing an old ashy record and the DJ starts to sweat anticipating the records skipping. If the DJ does a good or flawless set, he/she is rewarded with a roaring applause and a request to come back. This is what makes this event unlike anything you’ll see in Columbus Ohio…..
Because of this built up excitement…The Redo has found it’s niche. From it’s success, it became the All Vinyl Edition every time. But there was a time when it wasn’t so successful and there were patrons that just believed in the movement and were faithful attendees come rain or shine. Two of them I will mention are the artist known as Nichole Burton-Chambers and Yolanda Drew also known as Yummy. (Neil Jurist is an honorable mention) Burton says “It’s a party where I feel like I’m at home kicking it with family. I’m not big on hanging out so The Redo is my once a month outing.”
Drew says ” I love it because of the old school feel of it. Dress how you want. Dance how you want. Connect with old friends on a Sunday Afternoon and listen to old hits while discovering new genres of music you’ve never heard like house and dub-step music.”
Nowadays, the who’s who in the nation come to check out the Redo. Celebrity DJ’s like Ted Smooth. You may be rubbing elbows with someone from El Salvador to a doctor or a lawyer from Vallejo California to a celebrity chef to the stars. You could see your favorite indy rap star passing out newly pressed up vinyl promotional copies. It’s growing to be one musical melting pot.
The Redo is a place where there is no color, there is no gender, there is no box…there is only one rule…you must be dope. If you have never been to The Redo, I encourage you to go. Columbus is leaving behind it’s need to adopt cultures from other regions. We are developing our own…we make today the stories of The Redo that we will tell our grandkids tomorrow.
Bonus: DJ Layne Luv Redo Hightlight Story:
I’ll leave the DJ’s name out even though he did a good set. Keep in mind I just passed my Redo initiation the month prior. It was this DJ’s first Redo, and he was a lil nervous but he recovered well. The crowd didn’t initially warm up to the unfamiliar face but he ended up playing some records to get the crowd on his side. His trembly hand caused the needle to jump and an oooooh reaction from the crown but he made up for it with his confidence…I snuck in The Redo on the left high rise but still visible before he started the set. After he finished his set… DJ O Sharp looks up at me… Rich NYCe says “Layne since you recently passed through the Gauntlet what’s his fate? Now the entire room is looking at me. DJ O Sharp says “You vouch for him Layne?” and in the Roman Colosseum style, I look down with the serious face…but he’s the homie so I give the “I got you” wink. I tilt my thumb slowly upward and the crowd applauds….It was a brief but dope moment holding the kid’s fate in my hands. LOL! There was a cool breeze in the room afterward LOL!