The Turntable's Impact on Hip-Hop, Dance, and Club Music

Aug 1, 2023Leon Scott
Revolutionizing Rhythms: The Turntable's Impact on Hip-Hop, Dance, and Club Music - AUDIONATION

The turntable, a humble yet groundbreaking device, has left an indelible mark on the music industry. This versatile tool, originally intended for playing vinyl records, found a revolutionary role in shaping the genres of hip-hop, dance, and club music. From turntablists' creative manipulations to the iconic songs that featured the turntable, this blog delves into the profound relationship between the turntables and these three music genres.

The Emergence of Turntablism in Hip-Hop

Hip-hop, born in the Bronx during the 1970s, transformed the music landscape with its innovative approach. Central to this genre's development was the rise of turntablism – a technique where DJs used turntables as musical instruments, creating beats and sounds by manipulating records. Pioneers like Grandmaster Flash and DJ Kool Herc played a pivotal role in developing turntablism's art form. They employed techniques such as scratching, beat juggling, and sampling, which opened up new avenues of expression in hip-hop music.

Dance Music and the Turntable Revolution

As dance music evolved from disco in the late 1970s, the turntable found its way to the forefront of dance culture. DJs in clubs became essential figures, skillfully blending tracks to create a seamless, continuous flow of music that kept dance floors alive. The turntable's ability to mix beats and transition between songs allowed DJs to explore a myriad of styles, from house and techno to trance and EDM, influencing the evolution of dance music worldwide.

The Turntable's Impact on Club Culture

The turntable's rise coincided with the growth of club culture, and it quickly became the heart and soul of every nightclub. Clubs were no longer just places to dance; they became sanctuaries of sound artistry. Renowned DJs like Frankie Knuckles, Larry Levan, and David Mancuso became legends, shaping the club scene with their captivating performances. The turntable's capacity for improvisation and creativity empowered DJs to adapt their sets to the energy of the crowd, ensuring an electrifying experience every night.

Iconic Turntablists and Their Contributions

Over the years, numerous turntablists have taken the art of DJing to new heights. DJ Qbert, known for his extraordinary scratching skills, has won multiple world championships, elevating the craft to an art form. A-Trak, the youngest DJ to win the DMC World DJ Championship, seamlessly blends hip-hop and electronic dance music in his sets, bridging the gap between genres. These pioneers have inspired countless aspiring DJs to master the turntable and contribute to the evolution of music.

Hit Songs Featuring the Turntable

The turntable's influence is not limited to underground scenes; it has also played a crucial role in producing chart-topping hits. Songs like "Walk This Way" by Aerosmith and Run-DMC, "Intergalactic" by Beastie Boys, and "Hey Ya!" by OutKast are examples of how turntables were ingeniously integrated into mainstream tracks, adding a distinct flavour and elevating their appeal.


The turntable's impact on hip-hop, dance, and club music is nothing short of transformative. From its origins in the Bronx to the global stages of today's biggest festivals, the turntable has carved a unique path in the music industry. Its influence on turntablism, dance music, and club culture has been profound, paving the way for DJs to be recognized as artists and revolutionizing the way we experience music. As we celebrate the evolution of these genres, let us not forget the humble yet powerful device that sets the rhythm for their journey to greatness.