Over To You: Can I DJ Hip Hop With My Midi Controller?

Phil Morse | Founder & Tutor
Read time: 2 mins
Last updated 28 November, 2017

Do hip hop and digital DJ controllers mix?
Do hip hop and digital DJ controllers mix?

DJ Eye Tommy from California, USA writes: “What is your take on DJing hip hop / top 40 without vinyl? I have been digitally DJing for about six months now and I have never had the opportunity to learn on vinyl for money reasons, and because of that I use the Traktor Kontrol S4 and Traktor Pro 2. So I guess my question is this: I want to start playing out, but I’m worried about whether I’ll be able to with the gear I’ve got. Will I be able to play in clubs and bars with the S4 or will I be expected to use 1200s or CDJs if they are provided?”

Digital DJ Tips says:

With hip hop and digital, DJ controller of choice seems to be the NS7 from Numark, basically because it looks the part… other than that, Serato Scratch/Traktor Scratch rule, as hip hop has always been a vinyl-based culture. Especially in the States, it’s rare to see hip hop played on small digital controllers. However, Top 40 is another thing… mobile DJs have used digital hardware to play mainstream music for years, indeed were some of the first adopters of it.

However, it’s to an extent the same for all controller DJs – we have to fight to get accepted. I’d say as long as you can set up quickly and easily, there’s no reason why you can’t use controllers to DJ any type of music. Check with management first though – and probably best to mention it after you’ve got the booking. After all, it shouldn’t matter – should it?

What do you think? Is it possible to do the hip hop thing with a Traktor Kontrol S4? In your experience, how much do venue owners care about what equipment a DJ uses? Let us know your thoughts and experiences in the comments.

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