CUTMASTER SWIFT Born Barrington Oakley in Northwest London to Jamaican parents, and later moving to South London and then to start his own family in West London where he remains, he was encouraged by his father to explore music to the full. He began his close association with hip hop as a breakdancer, initially for fun, forming the Crash Crew while still developing his break beats on the single turntable given to him by his father. It wasn’t until he was initiated into a crew called the Imperial Mixers in ’84 that he began to take his mixing more seriously. "It wasn’t as though I was making any money out of it at the time. None of us were, except for the big sounds systems like Rap Attack and Mastermind." ‘84:
Through his involvement with the Imperial Mixers they discovered & exposed two talented female rappers, MC Remedee & Susie Q better known to the Rap world as ‘The Cookie Crew’ "It was Robbie, one of the crew, that brought Cookies to our attention, they were part of a thirteen female collective titled the Warm Milk & Cookie Crew"! Fact: one of the first raps Remedee & Susie Q ever performed live was about Robbie Wiz & CMS (Cutmaster Swift): "I’m sure I can locate those old mix sessions somewhere"! ‘86:
The Imperial Mixers would eventually disband with commitments to individual projects & although there wasn’t any official end to the crew CMS found himself ever developing his own unique style & practising with a very quick learning, but unexposed DJ Pogo (whom he affectionately refers to as his sparring partner). ‘87: Tim Westwood (he would dance regularly at Westwood’s early jams) had just joined London’s Capital Radio & gave CMS the opportunity to do regular mixes which would circulate throughout the UK giving CMS even more underground popularity! ‘88: When it was suggested that he enter the DMC/Technics Championships in ’88 as back up to Pogo, it seemed like a logical move to make. "The idea was if Pogo didn’t win then I would, and that way someone from our crew would win either way." Of course what happened was that Swifty, (by his own admission one of the first real entertainer DJs), won outright, and a DMC career was carved "Winning the UK Final put me on an international level; it opened up the world for me. We played everywhere, from Hong Kong to Australia."
‘89: CMS went on to win the DMC/Technics UK and World Championships and successfully won the UK again in 1990. Following this he retired to concentrate on production rather than the decks and was invited regularly to judge and eventually to host the Championships. Present: CMS is now fully employed by DMC & as well as hosting their annual events he has produced a series of battle records called Battle Breaks, a certified mixing course at DMC Slough HQ, this is a two day a week course (Thursday & Friday) for beginners, Intermediates & advance budding DJs and those who want to improve their skills by learning the art form from the master. His talents do not stop there, he is constantly involved in remixes for various artists, from Jazzy B to Suggs and can still be seen touring the country doing what he does best – being a real entertainment DJ!
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