The X-ecutioners
The X-ecutioners New York-based turntable group the X-ecutioners were, along with San Francisco's Invisibl Skratch Piklz, among the first all-DJ outfits to sign a recording contract, and the first to release a full-length album focusing on the art of turntable tricknology. Formerly known as the X-Men (they changed their name, for copyright reasons, when they signed with the Asphodel label in 1997), the four-person group consists of Mista Sinista, Rob Swift, Total Eclipse, and Roc Raida; a world-renowned crew whose past credits include national and international titles for trick and battle DJing, as well as live and studio work with artists such as Organized Konfusion, Large Professor, the Beatnuts, and Artifacts. Originally formed in 1989 by Roc Raida with Steve D, Johnny Cash, and Sean Cee, the group adopted the name X-Men on the occasion of a battle with another New York crew, the Supermen (that battle never happened). They went to return the DJ to a position of prominence in hip-hop, a position largely usurped in the '80s and '90s by MCs and producers, as rap grew into one of the largest and most profitable genres in the American music industry. Making entirely new tracks from bits and pieces of other records manipulated by hand (rather than with a sampler and sequencer), the X-ecutioners combine state-of-the-art scratching with the hip-hop DJ's bedrock of cutting, mixing, and beat juggling. The group play live often, and have performed in clubs, exhibitions, and competitions on four continents.