Beat Floetry

DJ Immortal marries classic rock to new-school hip-hop

"The DJs started hip-hop. Now it's all about the rapper. Back in the day, they came to see the DJ, and he had four or five rappers with him, and no one knew their names. It was like Grand Master Flash and Furious Five. It was the DJ in the limelight, 'cause what's the rapper going to rap to without a beat? The DJ started bringing turntables out to the parks and throwing small community jams. And then rap took over the mainstream and became the public's conception of hip-hop. But we all still do our thing: All the true graffiti writers still graf. All the true turntablists still cut."

Immortal is taking steps to elevate the art of rapping, which he says is changing for the better in the wake of more socially conscious MCs. "Rappers that are speaking about things that really make a difference -- rappers that are making songs with messages -- that's what I'm more into," he enthuses. "I'm into music with messages."

Immortal dabbles in meaningful rap with his group Floetry, which includes Choppa-D-Viz, Lani, Bam Bam, Mik-Ruff-One, and the Ghost of Rob. The team's first full-length release should be out this summer. "Floetry, they're like poets," he trumpets. "And they're trying to change the world with their rhymes, instead of just rapping about guns and forties and blunts and bitches. Some of it's really positive, and some it takes you on a journey between the different emotions in life and the different hardships that you have to overcome. It's the kind of stuff you can listen to in the morning."

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