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Hip-Hop's Turntable Goes To The Great Lock Groove In The Sky

Technics 1200 cake; credit: Scott Schiller / i

Our other idea for a tribute to the Technics was to bake a cake -- but someone beat us to the punch. Scott Schiller/ hide caption

toggle caption Scott Schiller/
Technics 1200 cake; credit: Scott Schiller /

Our other idea for a tribute to the Technics was to bake a cake -- but someone beat us to the punch.

Scott Schiller/

Sometimes a piece of equipment outlives its usefulness before it outlives its place in our heart. The Technics 1200 turntables were central to the creation of hip-hop, even elemental — when people say "two turntables and a microphone" they're referring to that model.

The death was reported by Resident Advisor, the dance music online magazine, following a press release from the Panasonic Corporation, which manufactures the Technics brand. The announcement that it's ceased production of its analogue turntables read, in part:

After more than 35 years as a leading manufacturer of analogue turntables, Panasonic has regretfully taken the decision to leave this market. However, Panasonic will continue to sell headphones under the Technics brand.

We are sure that retailers and consumers will understand that our product range has to reflect the accelerating transformation of the entire audio market from analogue to digital.

In addition, the number of component suppliers serving the analogue market has dwindled in recent years and we brought forward the decision to leave the market rather than risk being unable to fulfill future orders because of a lack of parts.

The Technics 1200s were the gold standard — for a practical reason: they're almost indestructible. But being the war horse of the market comes at a cost: these turntables are very heavy (27 pounds). And as technology began to marginalize vinyl among DJs (who needed more equipment to spin mp3s, usually a mixer and Scratch Live, a piece of software referred to by its company's name, Serato), turntables began to seem less desirable.

Technics were so beloved they pop up often in the lyrics of old-school and golden era rap songs (music made in the mid '80s to mid '90s). In honor of the venerable tables, and as a balm to those DJ friends of ours running all over town stocking up on parts, a few of our favorite Technic name-checks.

Ultramagentic MCs "Ego Trippin" (Kool Keith praising his group's abilities):

Make a migraine, hated yourself, start to melt
While the Technics spin, the wax is on the belt
Motivating clockwise the more you realize
Moe Love's moving steady, by most, with Everready
like a battery, charged, I'm worth the alkaline


A Tribe Called Quest "Clap Your Hands" (Phife Dawg praising his DJ, Ali Shaheed Muhammad):

Kick the rhymes and more rhymes
Kick the beats and more beats
We'll have you scratchin in your head,
like Shaheed on Technics


Kool G Rap & DJ Polo "Butcher Shop" (G Rap praising his DJ, DJ Polo):

Cuts like a scissor, rips like a razor
The sound penetrates elements like a laser
The beat connects to my dialect
New Technic turntables, the party I wreck




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