DJ Z-Trip is the founding father of the mashup movement, but don't hold that against him. Producers and DJs have been mixing things together forever—pretty much any song by Puff Diddy Daddy Sean Combs P-Whatshisface has someone else's hook transposed over his beats—but a mashup uses no original material at all. Any DJ worth his salt has one or two good mashups in his quiver, but lately, so many DJs have been exclusively relying on their mashups that this genre is feeling a little played-out. The recent popularity of this technique has even shaped the style of many recent rap compositions. Snoop's "Drop It Like it's Hot" or anything by the Ying Yang Twins feature near-a capella vocals that practically demand to be mashed with someone else's music. It's hard to go to a club these days and not hear an example of the mashup, for better or worse.
So what makes Z-Trip so special? Remember Pulp Fiction? Remember the dozen or so shitty movies that tried to duplicate Pulp Fiction (some made by Tarantino himself) but couldn't? There was something inherently awesome about the original precisely because it was original. Everything that followed was just a feeble attempt to duplicate that originality. Unlike those Tarantino-wannabes, Z-Trip is consistently able to re-create that oh-so-fresh feeling every time he's onstage.
Z-Trip is more than mere mashups however, as evidenced by his Motown remixes, a full-length of original material (Shifting Gears on Hollywood Records) and a remix of Run, Run, Run's cover of "Fade Into You" that, soon after its release, became one of the top 15 requested songs on San Diego's 91X. As one of his colleagues said, "Z-Trip can make any song sound hip-hop." If you can't imagine what that means, if you can't imagine dancing your ass off to Metallica, Led Zeppelin or Grieg's "In the Hall of the Mountain King," if you can't imagine why anyone would wait outside a club in the rain for four hours just to listen to a DJ play someone else's music, then you haven't been to a Z-Trip show.
DJ Z-Trip at Akasin Ultra Lounge, 8082 Adams Ave., Huntington Beach, (714) 374-9600; www.akasin.com. Thurs., Sept. 14, 11 p.m. Call for cover.