In 1994, Los Angeles hip hop groups, Rebels of Rhythm and Unity Committee, came together to record a track called “Unified Rebelution.” Both of them open mic regulars at the now-legendary Good Life Cafe in South Central, the crews possessed a mutual respect for one another, and this experiment in blending their talents proved successful enough that they opted to self-release a 12-inch of their collaboration together. Eventually, the pair would permanently join forces under the moniker of Jurassic 5, an outfit comprised of 4 emcees backed by 2 of the most innovative DJ/producers to ever touch a mixer. As a collective, J5 has gone on to carve their place in the history books, but perhaps the most overlooked member of the entire outfit has been Mark Potsic, better known as DJ Nu-Mark.
Nu-Mark often seems to be among the last names, if not thee last name, mentioned when it comes to referencing J5, but while this may be an odd truth for anyone that knows Potsic‘s contributions to their work and what he’s capable of, it’s easy enough to speculate about the reasoning. This under-acknowledgment of NU may partially stem from the Jurassic 5 name itself, as there are actually 6 full-fledged members. The idea that one rap group would possess two DJs is unorthodox enough, but when the other one is a name like Cut Chemist, it’s understandable that the role of his partner behind the tables may be perceived as less vital, if not extraneous, within the project. Fueled in part by his work outside of Jurassic, like his multiple collaborations with DJ Shadow, which have included the duo performing full shows spinning nothing but 45s, and later touring with Afrika Bambaataa‘s personal vinyl collection, a couple of years ago, Cut Chemist has become one of the most recognizable names in his field. Projects like these have showcased his prowess as a scratch DJ, while his minor acting role in the film Juno, and parts playing a DJ in both Up In The Air, and Jennifer’s Body, have only increased his recognition in popular culture. If you’re part of a crew with someone of that caliber, it doesn’t take Jim Rockford to crack the case about why you might sometimes get overshadowed.
In 2014, Nu-Mark released a really solid joint LP with Slimkid3 of The Pharcyde and he’s put out solo EPs, as well as production work for others, in the past, but for the most part, his name simply hasn’t spread all that far beyond Jurassic 5, where the masses are concerned, and definitely not as wide as his cohort on the wheels of steel — Potsic even handled solo production duties for the final J5 album, Feedback, in 2006, after Chemist left to more fully pursue solo ventures. Clearly a man more obsessed with quality and the craft than with personal accolades, I doubt that NU-Mark even concerns himself much with whether or not he is as much of a household name as some of his colleagues, let alone his brother-in-tonearms, but that doesn’t mean that he doesn’t deserve that acknowledgment. He’s earned undying respect among colleagues within the industry and those who know, know that Potsic‘s skillset is incredible; this guy can pull off some mindbending shit. In a pre-Youtube world, it would be easy enough for anyone who’d never seen a Jurassic 5 concert to assume that the DJ was restricted to more of a straight-up production role in the group, but for those who have witnessed the Los Angeles crew in action, Uncle Nu‘s live abilities are undeniable. In recent years, since the J5 reunion in 2013, he’s even been known to sit behind a drum kit to accompany Cut Chemist during a designated break in the show where the producers take center stage; a segment which further includes the pair taking turns scratching on a giant novelty-sized record. Beyond that, there are a couple of very specific tools that Potsic has become known for breaking out from his arsenal, throughout his career, that truly shine a spotlight on his experimental nature and demonstrate what a forward thinking artist and asset to the culture he continues to be. One is a trick that involves the DJ plucking out “bass lines” and rhythms on a rubberband affixed to his turntable’s tonearm. Another is the fact that he performs sets incorporating a varied collection of childrens toys ranging from a miniature turntable; a tiny electronic finger drum kit; and animatronic animals (an energizer bunny, a kung Fu gopher, a clapping organ grinder monkey, etc) to straight up beat juggling plastic, noise-making, shape-learning educational toys hooked up to his mixer. Nu-Mark is one of those rare individuals whose love for the craft pushes him to unearth new possibilities that not only entertain, but have the ability to inspire new generations to want to pick up a set of 1200s and explore what is possible for themselves.
Lately, DJ Nu-Mark has begun doing live mixes that he refers to as zodiac tracks. Being a Gemini himself, it appears that the first of this series began in May with a mix paying tribute to the music of 5 fellow artists born under the sign of the twin: Notorious B.I.G., Lady of Rage, Lauryn Hill, Paul McCartney, and Pete Rock. A few weeks later, on 2Pac‘s birthday (June 16th), he would follow up with a part two giving props to Killuminati and additional Geminis, Prince, Havoc (Mobb Deep), Kanye, Ice Cube, Kendrick Lamar, Andre 3000 and himself. Each month since, he has presented a new mix based around cuts from artists that fall under the respective signs and, as he continues to experiment with them, they are becoming increasingly more involved. For his latest, the Libra Mix, Uncle NU offers up a 7-minute set that utilizes dozens of records and 4 turntables.
Read the following description provided with the video…
Libra is the sign that magnetizes me the most. Each Libra I encounter has a broad creative palate while being incredibly open and entertaining. I’m honored to share another episode of #ZodiacTracks this month as we say Happy Birthday to George McCrae, Snoop Dogg, Cut Chemist, Marley Marl, DJ QBert, Kool Keith, Flying Lotus, Black Thought, Mark Farner, Slimkid3, Dizzy Gillespie, Fela Kuti, John Lennon, Talib Kweli, Gloria Jones, Lil Wayne, T.I., Donny Hathaway. Enjoy and spread love to a friend and fellow #LIBRA
Check out the Libra mix below and make sure to lookout for NU‘s trademark shell tapping move at the 5 minute mark. If you’re into this and feel like catching previous and future installments, make sure to follow Nu-Mark on Facebook — Youtube pulled the audio from last month’s Virgo mix due to a copyright complaint on one of the samples. Most importantly, it’s time for folks at large to stop sleeping on Nu-Mark! Share the video and spread the word.
ZODIAC TRACKS – LIBRA MIXLibra is the sign that magnetizes me the most. Each Libra I encounter has a broad creative palate while being incredibly open and entertaining. I’m honored to share another episode of #ZodiacTracks this month as we say Happy Birthday to George McCrae Snoop Dogg Cut Chemist Marley Marl DJ QBert Kool Keith Flying Lotus Black Thought Mark Farner Slimkid3 Dizzy Gillespie Fela Kuti John Lennon Talib Kweli Gloria Jones Lil Wayne T.I. Donny Hathaway Enjoy and spread love to a friend and fellow #LIBRA
If you’d like to sign up for free music and updates on shows visit me: www.djnu-mark.com
Camera: Pablo Aguilar
Posted by DJ Nu-Mark on Wednesday, October 5, 2016