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How Daly City's Filipino Mobile DJ Scene Changed Hip-Hop Forever

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Apollo Novicio, Ken Anolin and Dino Rivera weren’t trying to change the world. Growing up in Daly City in the 1980s, they just wanted to rock parties for their friends, families and fellow Filipinos. Hauling mobile DJ setups from houses to garages to church auditoriums, the two were part of a booming scene of DJ crews and dancers who created their own subculture in a mostly forgotten corner of the Bay Area while grandma cooked the rice and adobo.

Fast-forward to the present day, and the turntable innovations of people like DJ Qbert, Mix Master Mike and others who sprung from Daly City’s mobile DJ scene are felt everywhere in hip-hop and beyond — whether in pure technical scratch wizardry, the off-kilter production styles of J. Dilla and Madlib, or the prominence of the turntable as an individual instrument. Inspired by Oliver Wang’s essential history Legions of Boom: Filipino American Mobile DJ Crews in the Bay Area, KQED recently sat down with Novicio, Anolin and Rivera for a look into the roots of their musical revolution. —Gabe Meline


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