The X-ecutioners Biography
The ultimate live performers, X-men Roc Raida, Rob Swift, and Total Eclipse earned their fans’ allegiance guerrilla-style -- club by club, one city at a time -- garnering an international following through word of mouth and swapped mixtapes. Founded in 1989, the DJ collective then known as The X-Men was originally formed by a cadre of teenage New York City turntablists out to vanquish rival DJ group The Supermen in turntable battle.
Over the years, members came and went, but with each new championship title captured by the indomitable X-Men it became ever more clear: these heirs apparent to old-school DJ greats Kool Herc, Afrika Bambaataa, and Grand Wizzard Theodore were destined to become legends of hip-hop in their own right, heralds of a new, unstoppable DJ movement, and the inspiration for a whole generation of fledgling turntablists.
Underground success led inevitably to mainstream notice and critical acclaim, and in 1997, The X-Men, now known as The X-ecutioners, signed with renowned indie hip-hop label Asphodel. The fruit of that deal, their premiere album X-pressions (Asphodel, 1997) was the first solo album ever released by a DJ group.
In 1998, Steve Rifkind, CEO of Sony Music’s Loud Records, saw the X-DJs perform live in an L.A. club. Instantly hooked, he orchestrated a four-record deal for The X-ecutioners, of which their 2002 hit album Built From Scratch was the first. A critical and commercial success, Built From Scratch debuted at #15 on Billboard’s Top 40 Album Chart, and received stellar reviews from, among many others, The Washington Post, The Los Angeles Times, USA Today, and Entertainment Weekly.
The X-ecutioners’ hard-rock-influenced single "It’s Goin’ Down," featuring Linkin Park, was a staple on MTV and remained on Billboard’s Top 20 Modern Rock Singles for eight weeks. In between appearances on The Late Show with David Letterman, Total Request Live, NBC’s The Carson Daly Show, ESPN’s Action Sports and Music Awards, MTV’s Fashionably Loud and MTV Icons’ Tribute to Aerosmith, the group performed in over 30 U.S. cities as Eminem’s opening act on the 2002 Anger Management Tour.
In 2003, The X-ecutioners mixed the highly acclaimed compilation CD, Scratchology (Sequence Records, 2003), recorded the title track to snowboard racer SSX 3 and the complete soundtrack to NFL Street -- both bestsellers for gaming powerhouse Electronic Arts -- and toured seventeen cities in North America as part of the all-star DJ spectacular Scratch 2003 tour.
The X-ecutioners’ first-ever tutorial DVD Built To Scratch (Koch VISION) was released to critical acclaim in February 2004. Their new album Revolutions (Columbia Records), featuring an all-star guest-artist roster that includes Slug of Atmosphere, Rob Zombie, Ghostface Killah of Wu-Tang Clan, Cypress Hill’s B-Real, Dead Prez, Fat Joe, and The Roots’ Black Thought, is set for a Spring 2004 release.
Innovators from the beginning, The X-ecutioners invented team beat-juggling, defined the DJ ensemble, and helped bring turntablism out of cramped underground clubs and into the consciousness of mainstream American culture.
For all their success and critical acclaim, The X-ecutioners remain down to earth and focused on just one thing -- the music. And it shows: The 2004 album Revolutions, their most groundbreaking yet, mixes the ebullience of old hip-hop song with gritty rock riffs and eclectic sonic clips to create a stunning variety of ingenious, tightly wrought tracks. In continuing to break convention and invent from scratch an array of new, distinct musical identities, The X-men redefine DJ greatness once again.