Best DJ - 2001
In an era when every schmuck with a 2000 VW Bug and a pair of Adidas digs in the crates for old vinyl and thinks he's goddamn DJ Shadow, the timing is perfect to take it back -- er, take it back, then forward -- to the middle school. Inspired by the bedroom-based pause-tape phenomenon perfected by low-budget hip-hop heads for years, Tape takes it to the stage (you suckers) armed with dual cassette decks, a mixer, headphones, an itchy pause-button finger and a Case Logic filled with gold. At any given performance at the Upstairs Lounge, you might hear Eric B. and Rakim's "Juice," followed by an immaculately cued-up "Shout at the Devil." Also in the mix, swimming in an ocean of hiss and mid-range EQ, you might hear Art of Noise, Cameo or Led Zeppelin. Don't worry: Tape's flawless execution, manic energy and bizarre choice of format save him from the trap of predictable yuk-yuk genre-bending. This is pure idiotic ingenuity that must be heard to be believed.