What’s On and pals Hype preview the Pioneer’s Middle East Digital DJ Championship at Skydive Dubai Drop Zone on, featuring DMC US DJ champion DJ Qbert.

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Turntable supremo Qbert brings his mad skills to Pioneer’s Middle East Digital DJ Championship this week. The Filipino-American scratch master will join the judging panel and also get to grips with the new PLX-1000 vinyl deck in a special showcase set.

Qbert won the DMC US DJ competition in 1991. He then went on to win the World DJ Championship three years in succession, between 1992 and 1994. If Grandmaster Flash turned the turntable into an instrument, Qbert is a one-man rhythm orchestra. In a league of his own, he’s credited with pushing turntablism further than any other DJ on the planet.

DJ Yoda, the brightest star of the UK turntablist scene, said: “Ask anyone involved in rhythmic manipulation of records and they’ll tell you the same thing: no-one is coming close or has ever come close to Qbert. My first exposure was through his mixtapes when I was learning to scratch aged about 15. He’d put film samples on top of classic B-boy breaks and cartoon samples and scratch up random spoken word stuff. Without that I wouldn’t be doing what I do now.”

Yoda added: “His whole focus has been on developing the art form of turntablism. Qbert’s out there keeping it real and passing on that knowledge and creativity to a younger generation, which is really important.”

Twelve finalists will battle it out for supremacy in the six-minute short mix and 15-minute long mix categories. The quick-handed jaw-dropping action takes place at Zero Gravity. See you there.

The first two qualifying rounds took place earlier this month in Al Quoz and Deira, where judge Marko Smokingroove said he was looking for all contestants to “go that extra mile”

“I always look out for a DJ who expresses their vision,” he added. “I don’t generally drop points for the beats slightly slipping out as long as it’s corrected quickly. A true Pioneer Champion has a perfectly balanced mix of technical ability, showmanship, individual style and the ability to create something fresh on the fly. And I always look out for those who really enjoy what they’re doing as that’s when a DJ is at their best.”

“The calibre of DJs [in the competition] throughout the years has risen significantly. Each year, the contestants are more creative and skilful in their routines, utilising all the equipment available, dropping four-deck mixes and some expertly crafted use of FX and live remixing. The bar is set higher and I’m confident the next generation of DJs will shake up the scene in a big way.”

Last year DJ KaBoo was named Short Mix Champion and Subandrio lifted the Long Mix Champion title.

Skydive Dubai Drop Zone, Al Seyahi Street, Dubai, Thursday, September 25, 10pm to 3am, free Taxi: Skydive Dubai. Tel: (04) 3990009. facebook.com/pioneerdjmea

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