Dec. 15 2010 02:17 PM

In our semi-regular look at the local hip-hop scene, our subjects tell us whom to talk to next

question
Question.

The man: Mark Cruz (formerly DJ Style; currently known as Question)

The music: A conversation with Question will inevitably bring up “The Golden Era of Hip-Hop”—a period from the '80s through the '90s, when old-school players like him say all the quality hip-hop came out. Back in the '90s, when he was still spinning records as DJ Style, he'd play the jazzy hip-hop of the time with some straight-up jazz, funk and soul thrown in for good measure.

“I would call that my DNA as far as when people say, ‘What do you play?'” Question says. “Nowadays, people consider radio music hiphop, and I don't. I'm lucky enough to say that I came from an era when we were playing really good music. Like, we were playing [A] Tribe Called Quest when it was valid. I'm dating myself, aren't I?” Question still has crates of vinyl, and, because he was spinning before DJing went digital, he never gave up on analog.

“Serato [digital DJ system] does not make a DJ,” he says, bemoaning some of the younger DJs he says don't seem to know who produced the samples they play in their sets.

These days, Question makes beats. He sticks with the sort of jazzy hip-hop he grew up with and produces the kind of music he truly digs. He's already been picked up by Japanese record labels and has dropped two albums: Study Guide in 2009 and Standard Translation earlier this year.

The scene: First, a bit of history. Question was one of the first DJs to do live mixing on radio shows. He and his friend DJ Rags did a weekend show on San Diego's Z90 back when Question was still in college.

“Talk about paying dues,” he says. “I'm talking about six-hour, live-mix shows where we start at 6 p.m. and get off at 1 a.m.”

An art director by day, Question doesn't do the radio gig anymore and rarely DJs, but he's currently working with DJ Charlie Rock on a new monthly Golden Era hip-hop night. They haven't yet decided on a venue.

“We'll also be playing funk, soul, breaks,” he says. “The usual recipe.”

Who's CityBeat talking to next?: “Definitely CROS1,” Question says. “Cros has done a lot for the hip-hop community—period. I mean, the guy gave birth to Freestyle Sessions.”

Calendar

  • Visit one of the 70 participating restaurants, bars, coffeehouses and nightclubs in town on this night and 25 to 50 percent of sales will go to local HIV/AIDS services and prevention programs. 
  • Anthony Bernal and Chris Ward, who are vying to replace Todd Gloria on the San Diego City Council, will discuss urban issues, such as parking, homelessness and new developments
  • The new exhibition designed by Dave Ghilarducci is made from hundreds of rolls of packing tape and bound together by layers of plastic shrink-wrap. Visitors can navigate their way through cocoon-like passageways...
  • The renowned Mexican black and white photographer presents an exhibition exploring the principal themes within three groups: "Bestiarium"," Fantastic Women" and "Silent Natures."
  • Presented by Pacific Arts Movement, the sixth annual mini film fest features 14 film programs from 10 countries that includes everything from docs to romantic tearjerkers. See website for full lineup and...
  • The San Diego County Bike Coalition hosts this monthly bike-in happy hour event to get biking residents involved in their communities and discuss bike projects planned for that specific community
  • Debunk some of the stereotypes surrounding cannibalism at this new exhibition that takes a hands-on approach to the subject. Includes video games and interactive activities where patrons will have to decide...
  • So Say We All's monthly storytelling night features stories about those jobs we took because we had to take a job. Featured readers include Allison Gauss, Annmarie Houghtailing, Cecile Estelle, and more
  • Artists from the all-abstracts group show will talk about their work and techniques. Artists include Edwin Nutting, Danielle Nelisse, Leah Pantea, Lenore Simon, and more
See all events on Thursday, Apr 28