DJ Babu confesses to being an iPhone geek and a Twitter addict. Known to his friends as Chris Oroc, this DJ and producer from the influential Californian hip hop group Dilated Peoples, as well as a DJ for The Beat Junkies crew, tours South Africa this week.
After the overwhelming response to performances by the international acts, People Under The Stars (Puts) and John Robinson (Lil Sci), Kool Out Entertainment return with DJ Babu, sponsored by Butan Wear. He performs in Johannesburg on Friday and in Cape Town on Saturday.
On the phone from his home in Los Angeles, Babu talks with ease, even, at times, saying: "Sorry, I talk too much". He explains that he is thrilled to visit South Africa for the first time: "It must be an exciting time for everyone, because of the World Cup. I did a gig while the last one was happening in Germany and the atmosphere was just incredible. People in the US tend to be ignorant about how huge football really is in the world, but I was blown away at how intense it was."
Babu is one of the world's most highly-rated turntablists and has won many competitions worldwide. His 1996 record Super Duck Breaks is deemed one of the most popular battle records of all time and the "very reliable" Wikipedia claims he coined the term "turntablism".
He says: "I'm honoured, but can't take credit for that. I definitely started out early and remember thinking at the time that what we were doing was beyond just deejaying and playing records. We were creating sounds on a turntable and this is turntablism."
He continues: "It's a really exciting time for me. I've just released my latest solo album, called The Beat Tape Vol.2. Evidence and Rakaa (from Dilated Peoples) are working on solo albums for release this year. Then the trilogy is complete. Duck Season Vol. 4 is also coming out this year and, hopefully, we'll have a new Dilated Peoples album for 2011."
Babu has realised the challenges of a music industry in which artists continually need to come up with creative ways to promote their music. He's been shooting amateur stop-motion animation short films to promote his new album.
"It started out as a joke. I'm very geeky when it comes to my iPhone, so I made one on it and put it on Youtube, but then they got loads of responses online. Now I release one short film a week. For the album launch, we rented out a movie theatre and screened all the films in a cinema. A lot of it is of me travelling and performing around the world. I'm just trying to get people to look in my direction."
He continues: "It's become challenging for producers to sell music. A lot of my music is available for download for free online, like the latest one on MySpace."
As for Twitter, which he can't praise enough, he says: "I love social networking. The term 'fanclub' these days is out of the window. Time has shifted, the dream has changed. Social networking allows you to develop a connection with your fans and I hold them dearly to me. Twitter is where it's at.
"Today you can say: 'F*ck a label, F*ck numbers' - it's about people making real music."
Of his shows in South Africa, he says: "I'm going to be open. But I'm definitely going to give 'em some hardcore DJ skills and turntablism and also mix the music up a bit. I like to edutain in a way that is skillful, but also pleasing to the ear."
Search "Djbabuforeal" on Twitter for updates or check out www.myspace.com/djbabu