Q-Bert: And Still Champ…

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Since the age of 15, QBert (aka Richard Quitevis, 41) has dedicated his life to using the turntable as a musical instrument. In doing so, he’s become one of the world’s best-known and, more importantly, most-respected practitioners of the art of scratch.

QBert’s journey is well-known and oft-told in these pages. Throughout the 1980s and ’90s, he battled his way through the hip-hop ranks to become a two-time recipient of the revered DMC World Championship title. He’s responsible for developing many of today’s contemporary scratch techniques. He’s also an inventor, co-designing DJ products for Vestax and Ortofon.

As the digital revolution swept over the early millennium, he continued to rock it old-school style, while maintaining a ubiquitous web presence with his Thud Rumble website. The past couple years have seen the Bay Area jock become an online educator with the unique web school, QBert Skratch University, which he maintains with Artistworks.

The battle titles, scratch techniques and jaw-dropping DJ sets built his reputation, but his online efforts have maintained it. So it shouldn’t have been a surprise that he finished in the Top 3 of the America’s Best DJ voting for the past three years, finally winning the title in 2010. Knowing that the majority of ABDJ votes are cast online at americasbestdj.net, QBert put extra efforts into his social-media platforms and even created special star-studded videos to make his case. The efforts paid off in a big way.

At the ABDJ Closing Party held at Ghost Bar in Las Vegas this past October, QBert was honored with accolades and prizes from a past winner and contest sponsors DJ Times and Pioneer DJ. When he was handed the commemorative golden Pioneer DJM-800 mixer from Z-Trip, the 2009 champ, QBert smiled and let the good words come his way.

“He’s one of the greats, and there’s only a few of those,” said Z-Trip, “and it’s so great to hand over the title to a guy I respect.” Even as a guy who has emerged victorious from many a DJ battle, it was hard for QBert not to beam a little bit before he headed over to the Rain nightclub in The Palms to commence his victory set. He’d certainly earned it.

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