Not giving my age away fully but I remember picking up the New York born and bred dj Tony Touch’s , I Wonder Why (He’s The Greatest DJ) 1999 taken from his successful album The Piece Maker 2000 on vinyl (it’s this thing made of plastic that allows you to hear music) it was a heavy vibe that I played continuously. The track was a perfect meld of hip-hop beats, RnB and old school vibes-it was inspired by the Sister Sledge track I Wonder why He’s The Greatest Dancer (1979). The Rnb was actually courtesy of the girl group Total who smacked the chorus UP!

Tony Touch whose cv is a whose who of some of hip-hop’s greatest names like Guru, Tupac is the archetypal DJ who can scratch the pants off a vinyl, cd, Mp3, has a huge record collection nearing 20,000 and of course is steeped in the knowledge of music-particularly hip-hop.

Currently Tony has released his latest project in his Piece Maker brand which features some of the biggest names in history of hip-hop. The third instalment with production coming primarily from the brilliant Beatnuts is rock solid, banging hip-hop beats affair, overlaid by some sweet sixteens of the highest story-telling quality deep.

So Tony what you saying!?

Hip-hop: Then and Now?

Sonically hip-hop has changed from the sounds to the styles. Hip-hop now is more global now it is no longer a New York thing and they all have their own movements-people in Atlanta have taken the sound and ran with it and then you have the South who have a sound that has become stronger than ever. It is no longer a regional thing. The culture has grown the b boy culture has grown and spread but it has definitely lost its edge and that whole family vibe that the scene once had is no longer prevalent. At the end of the day there are positive and negative aspects of the scene; on the one hand it has hurt the game now that you can get everything on computer but then you cannot underestimate the global reach of hip-hop.

We waited a long time for Piece Maker.

It was a combination of things really; the direction in which hip-hop went and changed over the years and so I had to wait for a bit for there to be a demand for my type of sound. I still got involved in a couple of projects-I did a couple of Latino projects (reggatons) I even went into a bit of House music for a while. In fact I have a house party I that I have in New York on Sunday called the Funk Box and that has been going for about five years. I got into different styles of music for a while and show the world my diversity and the n you have the tours where I tour pretty extensively all those things combined had an effect on me putting out the album really.

Tony Touch stays old skool

I wanted to stay in my lane and give people what they have grown to know me for which is that New York style of hip-hop-you know stick to my guns and not follow some fad in terms of getting certain artists. I wanted to stick with guys that I feel are still relevant and basically put out the music that I still enjoy listening to and producing and so that is why I did not go down the route of getting the big names out there now. That said however I have relationships with a lot of the newer guys like 2Chainz and a lot of these artists from the South but yes it was about sticking to my sound. It would have been awkward really if I suddenly came out with say that newer style of hip-hop- I had to protect the brand do what Tony Touch is known for.

The end of the Piece Maker brand?

I do not think that I will do another Piece Maker, I like to do projects in threes I did Fifty Emcees I did three Piece maker albums-I am looking forward to moving onto new projects. Right now though it’s all about Piece Maker and getting out there-we just finished doing a video for the Dj Premier record which is called Touch and Destroy-Destroy being the first rapper that I ever featured on any of my mix-tapes. He used to host a whole bunch of them in the early 90’s and so we will be working that video. I will be touring so I plan on doing a global tour starting in the fall with various artist off the album and hit up Europe, London and different parts of the states and Asia and travel with guys like the Beatnuts.

Highlights of your career.

I would say the 50 emcees in 1996 when I put that mix-tape out and definitely the Piece Maker album in 2000 and even back in 96 when I toured Europe with Guru rest in peace on the Jazzmatazz tour where I was the dj and that was a major highlight to being in Europe and London for the first time.

Tony Touch