Rebel Radio Ep. 15: Oliver Wang - Time To Get Smart
Rebel Radio is a weekly podcast, hosted by your humble servant, exploring the relationship between art and business in underground culture. Through interviews with creative entrepreneurs who have shaped the roots and future of the underground, we uncover what it takes to build and sustain a career out of making art. Rebel Radio is presented in partnership with EDM.com.
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What’s the time? It’s time to get smart.
Oliver Wang is a Ph.D. That’s French for smarter than you. He’s also a DJ, which means he’s cooler than you. You’re just lucky he’s not taller than you.
He wrote a book on a topic everyone in the world can relate to: Filipino mobile DJ crews in the San Francisco Bay Area in the 1980s. Okay, so maybe Legions of Boom is a bit of a niche title, but it’s a great book about a short era in music history that would go on to have a huge impact on turntablism and hip hop on a global scale, launching the careers of Q-Bert — possibly the world’s most influential DJ — and Mixmaster Mike, who would go on to tour the world with the Beastie Boys.
What’s more, he watched me on stage with breakdancing icon Crazy Legs when we were judging the 1995 DMC DJ Championship regional semi-finals. Ah, the glory!
Professor Wang not only chronicles his tribulations as a record collector, he also helps us understand the science behind making music for love, not money. And he explains how he’s managed to get his bosses to pay him to teach impressionable young minds about hip hop. He also introduces me to the concept of “psychic income.” If you don’t already know what that means, you aren’t psychic.