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"These guys just had an attitude behind the turntables that just really moved the whole crowd as well, while they were up there being cocky. It was just so cool to me," he said with a laugh.
But it was the performance rush that really captured Dopey's attention, and left him entrenched in the scene.
"Especially on the head-to-head battles, where you're actually taking on an opponent to two rounds, 60 seconds each, that's when it was really exciting to me, because you're just bringing this raw hip hop battling feel to it," he said.
When he was just starting out in the industry, he would make weekly runs to record stores to build a base collection.
"For us guys that kind of came up on records, sound and selection was always really key," Dopey said. "And technicality was always second to actual sound and musicality of things."
Today, while he certainly doesn't go as frequently, he still makes a point of digging for new vinyl, especially when traveling.
"That's when I really like to look at things and see what I can find that's kind of obscure," he said.
But first and foremost, battling it out at the turntables also requires a certain amount of bravado and showmanship.
"You definitely have to have some kind of swagger behind it, because you have to sell it, as well," he added.
When he was first emerging on the scene there were a lot of similarly skilled competitors to battle with, helping them to push one another towards the top.
"Back then, we hated each other," he said, adding that they've all mellowed over the years.
Today, he has shared stages with big-name artists like Eminem, Slum Village, Kardinal Offishall, Gang Starr, and Kid Koala, and has a number of impressive battle titles under his belt. In 2003, he captured the DMC championship, which was an "amazing" moment for the young DJ.
"In terms of battling, that's got to be the pinnacle of the career, so it was pretty much a dream realized."
Over his years in the industry, Dopey has definitely witnessed the art of turntablism evolve with the advent of new technology and trends.
"It's really different these days," he said. "A lot of kids are pressing records - and we were pressing records back then, as well - but it's definitely a different ballgame now, when kids can put together their... break records, per se, and have it, practicing the day that they make it on Serato."