D.J. Lightnin Lance, the first deejay to actually put live scratching
on records was born and raised in the Bronx, New York. Growing up, Lance
was part of the Shaka Zulu's from the mid 70's, better known as the Universal
Zulu Nation, which transcended from the Black Spades. He came from the
background of graffiti and break dancing. He used to break-dance at the
jams in various parks and in Junior High School 123, where Disco King
Mario, Tex D. and Afrika Bambataa used to deejay. Lance also used to draw
and create cartoon characters. Lance came from a family with musical and
theatrical jazz backgrounds.
Music is one of Lance's greatest inspirations. Lance played a musical instrument (drums) and was in the school band at every school he attended. He has and still listens to jazz music since the ripe age of six. Even though Lance was inspired with Hip Hop by Afrika Bambataa and the late Disco King Mario in the early to mid 70's, it was D.J. Cool Clyde who was instructmental in getting Lance more interested in becoming a deejay.
Lance first begun deejaying at his mother's house at age sixteen. Using his mother's Gerard turntable, hooking it up to a hi fi stereo unit. He began mixing without an actual mixer. Lance often would mix a lot of James Brown and Sly and the family Stone records. Being that Lance didn't have a real mixer yet, he mastered the act of blending records. After saving money from working summer youth jobs, Lance was able to buy his first set of technique 210 turntables and Gemini mixer. Not having any speakers yet, Lance hooked his set up to his grandmother's hi fi, which had built-in speakers. Lance would practice in his room for hours at a time. Lance practiced cutting, mixing and scratching all kinds of records. Lance always had quick hands, so the name Lightnin with his first name Lance fit like a hand in a glove.
In the beginning of Lance's deejay career, he would buy his records from downstairs records, E.J. Korvettes, Colony and Discomat records. Lance had a friend named Bryant Roberts, whose dad Lenny Roberts, used to sell break beats from his house. Lance used to get records at a discount price. Later on Mr. Roberts opened a store and had a record label called Beat Street records.
Lance began playing for a small audience in storage rooms. In the Bronxdale projects, in community centers in various developments ,such as Evergreen, Lafayette, Monroe, Soundview, Leland and Co-op City to name a few. Lance not owning a large sound system was limited to doing small venues.
In 1980, when Lance graduated from high school, his dad gave him $500 as a graduation present. It was with this money that Lance went and brought his first pair of speaker cabinets, which he still has today. Lance and his dad went to a speaker cabinet warehouse in Queens called Wes Sounds, a company that made various size speaker cabinets. The speaker cabinets Lance picked were huge. In fact, they were like two speaker cabinets in one. Lance now needed speakers, which were called woofers in the 80's. Lance eventually accumulated enough revenue to purchase his woofers. In the month of August that same year, Lance and his cousin Clyde teamed up with the Thomas twins, who were also deejays. The twins resided in the same building with Lance. Now with at least two sets of speakers and enough power, Lightnin Lance was ready for the big 100 Park venue playing alongside Afrika Bambataa and D.J. Jazzy Jay.
Throughout the years, Lance deejayed with several MC's and rappers; they were all considered members of his crew. One of those M.C's was called the funk machine (mighty Sluman and Stepfon, M.C EZ G) and the supersonic 4 MC's; just to name a few. Between the end of 1980 and the beginning of 1981, Lance went into the recording studio along with D.J Cool Clyde, the Hypnotizing 3 plus Lila Sha Rock and cut a track called Different Strokes for Different Folks. This record was the first to ever contain live scratching by a deejay on it; a unique feature that was never heard of during the early Hip Hop era. The name of the album was called the Live Convention. It was produced by Johnny Soul D.J Lightnin Lance, mixed, cut and put scratching, using the record Heartbeat made by Tanya Gardner, while the MC's did rhymes and routines. This record was on an independent record label called Disco Wax. Side B of this album featured Grandmaster Flash and the furious 5. D.J Breakout, D.J Baron and the Funky 4+1 and Kay Gee of the Cold Crush Brothers. Some portions were taken from taped parties done at the T Connection and the Celebrity Club. This Live Convention album cover was featured in the 2000 year issue of Source magazine with a picture of the rapper Jay Z.
Lance performed with various past and current entertainers, such as, Afrika Bambataa The Soulsonic force, DJ Jazzy Jay, The Jazzy 5 MC's, Grand Wizard Theodore, The Fantastic 5 MC'S Chief Rocker, Busy B, D.J AJ, Afrika Islam, The force MD's, KRS 1, Raekwon the Chef (Wu Tang Clan), The Imperial Jay Cee, Kool Herc, Kurtis Blow Sunz of Man, Funkmasterflex, Grandmaster Dee of (Whodini), The Umc's Raheim, Grandmaster Mele Mel (Furious 5) D.J Red Alert, DJ Kay Slay, D.J Spreme, D.J Kid Kapri, Sj Reggie Wells, DJ Lil Theodore, D.J Cisco, D.J Bucko, D.J Rockin Rob, MC Lil Bit, The legendary Persuaders, B.T Express, Fat Joe, Space and much more.
In the Mid 1980's, Lance, while in a rap group called the Nasty Cuzins, was managed by Dennis Bell of City Slicker Productions. Dennis used to manage Dougie Fresh. Even though the Nasty Cuzins did not get a record contract, they were known for performing at a lot of clubs, wining talent shows and had even won third place at an Apollo Theatre event. Being around Dennis Bell in those early years taught Lance a little about the music business and about recording studio equipment.
In the 1990's, Lance assisted his cousin Cool Clyde in promoting parties and mini concerts. He promoted venues that included acts like Jeff Redd, Harold Melvin and the Blue Notes, the Delphonics, Horace Brown, The Intruders, Ray, Goodman and Brown, just to name a few
Lance has performed in many cities. He played at clubs such as the Ecstasy Garage, The T connection, The Stardust Ballroom, Claremont Gym, Mitchell Gym, The Apollo Theatre, The World, The Lions Den, The South Oxford Club, Harlem World, The Circle Dinner Club and much more. Lance also performed on boat rides, hotels, catering halls, sports bars, lounges, schools and center gymnasiums.
Lance is currently the Vice President of a Non for Profit organization called United We Stand Ent, which tends to bridge the gap between the youths and adults using music and entertainment as an identifiable tool. He is also a promoter and deejay at an annual event held at Rosedale Park located in the Bronx.
Lance has appeared in news articles and news networks such as, the Daily News, TWU Local 100 Express, Bronx Times, Da Streetz magazine, The Bronx Community College News. Some of the television and radio shows are, The Neighborhood show with Mr. Batch, Bronx talk with Gary Axlebank, perspectives with Daren Jaime, Wvox 1460 am with Bob Schaefer, 98.7 Kiss FM with the open Line Crew, back Spin 43 Sirius radio with Kurtis Blow just to name a few.
Lance was recently honored on January 13, 2005 at the New Hip Hop church located in Harlem, where Kurtis Blow is the Co - founder, Rapper and deejay worship leader. The article was featured in the Sunday Daily News 2005, 25 hours magazine section January 30, 2005, on pages 38-39. Lance had also been honored at the Trinity Episcopal Church in the Bronx on February 4, 2005.
Lance is the Deejay in a rap group called the Bronx bullies. The group is currently awaiting the release of a track called "The Sound of the Bronx". Featured on this track is a song on a compilation Disc called "Bronx Music" put out by BronxNet. With at least 27 years of Delaying under his belt and still constantly in demand to host parties. Lance makes his own music cds when he isn't at his day job.
Lance would like to teach Hip Hop culture to the younger generation, hopefully passing the torch onto his son, Lance David Johnson, III. His ultimate goal is to manage or own his own nightclub, or the possibility to work in a recording studio as a music engineer.
D.J. Lightnin Lance, a True pioneer in Hip HOP