DJ Nu-Mark Toy Set (+ Hands On & Blend Crafters)

Many years ago, heavily in to my boom-bap record collecting and short-run turntablism phase I had the pleasure of meeting DJ Nu-Mark, who was touring Oz with J5 for Power In Numbers. Here’s a brief transcript, taking place while he was signing my mixer for me.

DJ Nu-Mark: So you’re in to scratching?
Me: Yeah.
DJ Nu-Mark: Turntablism’s dead. No one wants to see someone scratch for more than two minutes.

Motivational speaking aside DJ Nu-Mark was the man behind two of my favourite hip-hop releases of all time. Strangely enough having had a quick look on his Soundcloud page, both releases in question (embedded below) can now be streamed / downloaded for free. The mix CD Hands On dropped in 2004 and was an amazing opening to Nu-Mark’s modern digging skills, offering up a glimpse of rap scenes from all edges of the globe, 45 minutes of tracks that flow together beautifully. This for me was a snapshot for what was almost the second-coming of the golden-age, throwing the power back in the hands of DJs between 2004 and 2006. Soon after hip-hop record spinners would have a heavy hand in killing the vinyl market.


In the same way that Hands On represented hip-hop DJs taking things to the next level by gaining props for their selection and digging skills over dodgy exclusives, Blend Crafters came around at a time where the producers were being put back in the spotlight. Chief Xcel, Thes One, Dan The Automator and Madlib had been pulled up alongside solo producers such as DJ Krush and DJ Shadow. Teaming up with Pomo for the release, Blend Crafters was pure chopped MPC soul, not over-produced just melodious and jazzed out head-nodding instrumentals. Released the same season as Hands On this cemented Nu-Mark as a headline producer and DJ.


Bringing it back to the present, Nu-Mark’s words of advice on turntablism can take on new meaning. Crowds at DMC events continue to drastically drop, as the truth is not many people want to watch extended sessions of crabbing and beat juggling. To a large extent turntablism has been dead since before 2002. Thankfully DJ Nu-Mark (alongside Cut Chemist, Thes One, J. Rocc and many others) has been of the class to continue experimenting and making it interesting to watch the man standing behind the decks work for his money.

The live Toy Set show is the latest extension of Nu-Mark’s creativity and ingenuity. Producers have long since found novelty in creating tracks with kids toys, and now Nu-Mark has gone next level by bringing his toy collection on tour, playing it live to a hip-hop audience. Somewhere between an analogue show and a vibes DJ session with your crew, the video below looks amazing.


If you did want to check it live, DJ Nu-Mark’s bringing Toy Set to the UK, debuting it “as he encounters Ali Shaheed Muhammad at KOKO on April 21st”. Two of hip-hop’s finest spinning plates and a proper original live show to boot, well worth the £12.50 price of entry. Details on the flyer below.