As global mass communications allow for the transfer of scientific, financial and government information, it has also opened the doors to ideas about the arts to spread faster than ever before. Artistic techniques, new and old alike, from classic guitar licks to novel new uses of digital painting program functions, can become standard practice in the time it takes for an acknowledged master to sit down and discuss them. This is particularly relevant to the art form of DJing, where modern mass communications have transformed what was once a relatively simple set of techniques into seemingly thousands of different specialties, techniques and musical subgenres that are near impossible for many people to keep track of. Of particular note are the subgenres of hip-hop DJing and electronic dance music (EDM) DJing.
Hip hop DJing does have the longer pedigree, with its roots beginning in the 1970s with the music of black musicians in American cities eventually growing into the hip-hop movement of the 1980s that has since spawned its own range of subgenres, from mainstream hip hop sounds and hybrids with other popular styles to styles such as gangster rap to some truly unusual styles like horrorcore and parody rap. One thing all these styles have in common is that they require a DJ to provide a good backing track to go with the singer. Mixing a good hip hop beat can be more than a little dependent on the type of lyrics the singer intends to make; after all, an upbeat hip hop song intended for wide popular appeal is not going to have the same backing track as a horrorcore song about murder and cannibalism. Most hip-hop DJing is structured the way any musical track would be, with a varied set of sounds that repeat during choruses and different sounds elsewhere in the track, all with essentially the same underlying beat.
EDM DJing has a shorter history though it springs from the same roots as hip hop DJing. Though EDM music existed in a prototype form starting as far back as the 1970s, it did not really blossom into its full potential until the 1990s, particularly with the rave scene of the era. Lyrics were seldom important back then, a state that persists to the modern era. Indeed, the importance of lyrics to hip-hop DJing and the non-importance of lyrics in EDM DJing are perhaps the strongest contrasts between the two. EDM music has little real need for lyrics though it’s hardly unheard of for EDM music to include lyrics from another song its remixing, but seldom with original lyrics. EDM music focuses more on creating an atmospheric effect with the sound, with the exact intent varying with the subgenre and personal style of the DJ. A disturbing terrorcore sound is, by necessity, going to sound a lot different from an upbeat rave dance song. EDM music does at times lean towards repetitive sounds, though given the variety inside the art form, this is not always a hard and fast rule.