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Hit the Decks

Chicago DJ luminary Bad Boy Bill keeps the house raw and raunchy

Bill also keeps the mix street-level by employing the hip-hop DJ trick of reconfiguring instrumental tracks by blending a cappellas from different cuts with them, something few house jocks do. "That came from when I was on the radio, doing my mix show," he explains. "I'd always try to keep the listeners on their toes and interested, without punching out [i.e., interrupting the mix]. So I'd put an a cappella over a different track -- something unexpected, so they wouldn't tune out."

His DJ schedule of 180 gigs a year and his accolades as a quasi-turntablist cause even clubbers familiar with Bill's career to forget that he's also a burgeoning producer. Release of his debut artist album has been perpetually delayed (he swears it will be out next year); in the meantime, he used Decks and the tour he's supporting it with as a Gong Show of sorts for his new, self-made material. He test-drives his latest studio creations in the club and on the CD to see how they go over. Depending on the feedback, he either modifies them or lets them stand as they are.

Not surprisingly, his creations are unkempt, rambunctious little things, with just a bit of skankiness slathered on for good measure. Don't expect Bill, the last DJ on earth to put on airs, to wear a dinner jacket to his coming-out party.

Lowbrow beats: Bad Boy Bill's horny house isn't for chin-scratchers.
Lowbrow beats: Bad Boy Bill's horny house isn't for chin-scratchers.

Ultimately, he's in no rush to drop his album -- the step a lot of house DJs consider crucial to legitimizing their careers. He's satisfied as an in-the-trenches DJ. "I mean, come on -- I get paid to play records," he says with a chuckle. "I've got nothing to complain about."

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