Acclaimed visual artist Justin BUA has long incorporated the elements of Hip Hop in his canvasses. Now, the West Coast-based BUA is finishing his book The Legends of Hip-Hop, featuring painted portraits of icons from all four pillars of the culture. The November book will also feature a Forward from Public Enemy’s Chuck D.
HipHopDX partnered with BUA for a three-part series featuring short conversations with both the artist and the legend. After a piece with The Cold Crush Brothers’ Grandmaster Caz, BUA now includes Northern California’s DJ Q-Bert. The turntable champion, inventor of the crab-scratch and educator continues to take Hip Hop into other genres, with other-worldly influence.
BUA: I’ve known [DJ] Q-Bert for many years now and he is one of the most entertaining individuals I’ve ever met in the Hip Hop world. He is so ridiculously inquisitive and interested in my life that it made me think that he’s either fucking with me or sincerely fascinated in my artistic process. After years of knowing him I realized that he is genuinely interested, not just in me, but people in general. That’s probably what makes him such a genius deejay – His curious nature allows him to get better and reach deeper into his musical realm so as to continually develop and hone his skill set. This is why he is one of the greatest deejays in the universe.
At only 5’2″ and a half he is a gigantic talent. Q-Bert – and his crew featuring the great Mix Master Mike – was the 1992, ’93, ’94 DMC world champions. Q-Bert was one of those prodigal children except instead of the violin, his instrument was a turntable. His trophies alone don’t paint the picture of his prowess. Q-Bert is regarded as a virtuoso of scratchin’ and one of the greatest “scratchers” ever. His greatest language is his gift of musicality that allows him to speak to our Hip Hop cosmos. Q-Bert’s abilities as a deejay are so intuitive and deep maybe he is talking to aliens and communicating with creatures in a parallel universe. He might know something that we don’t. He certainly has a skill set that is not of this world. In any case it doesn’t matter this Filipino brother is bonafide. He is not only a living Legend of Hip Hop but brethren that I consider family.
DJ Q-Bert: I’m speechless… I’m better at scratching what I want to express. All I can say is, “Am I dreaming?” This is an incredible gift from the universe… a painting of lil ol’ me by the king himself, Justin BUA! What the? But life is a dream, in this multi-dimensional reality. I’m just so glad to be sharing this plane of existence with a culture that only can exist at this special time in Earth’s evolution. I really don’t know why BUA chose to add me to this collective of the greatest Hip Hop heroes, because I feel I’m still a student in this game of forever growing knowledge. What a crazy honor to be amongst untouchable deities, pioneers, bosses, leaders, living legends and glorified spirits who have passed on to the next dimension and still Rockin’ In Paradise – countless hours experimenting like a scientist perfecting their craft. It seems as though I’m looking at a historical book of kung-fu grand-masters, an assortment of Greek and Roman gods… or just a bunch of nerds turned cool. [Laughs] And who better to draw them all but BUA himself… the walking encyclopedia of Hip Hop history. BUA’s knowledge of the street arts go deeper than a rabbit hole that hit a lava vein, and caused an eruption that sounded like a thousand foot tall 808 drum machine bass mountain boom! A volcano of information spewing out a million tons of B-boys and B-girls, Cazals, all colors of spray cans, Pumas with fat laces, Adidas gear, turntables, records, mics, boom boxes, and finally raining down pages of every emcees’ lyrics ever written! J.B. is an angel from another world, sent by the Galactic Federation of Funk, to spread the light of what “true school” Hip Hop really means to the unconscious masses who only know of just one aspect: “Rap music.” I am forever grateful to the heavens for letting us cross paths… oh shit! Lookout! A boom-box!