Short for “disc jockey.” In simplest terms, a DJ is someone who plays music for a radio station or for social events such as weddings or parties. In music production terms, a DJ refers to an artist that uses turntables to manipulate pre-recorded music on records by stopping the record with his fingers and pushing it forward or dragging it backward to alter the sound or repeat a certain passage (called “scratching“). DJs often utilize two turntables connected together with a small mixer that allow the DJ to control with faders how much of each record is being output. In addition to mixing, DJs often incorporate beat-matching, sampled sounds, and effects into their performances.
DJs can operate independently as solo artists or more commonly, DJs provide backing and rhythm tracks for rap and hip-hop artists. In recent years, some DJs have begun using digital “turntables” that allow the audio from CDs or Apple iPods to be manipulated in the same manner as records.