Lead by Your Samples: DJ Shadow on Collecting Vinyl, Scratching, and His New Tour

Say the name DJ Shadow to any hiphop head who came of age in the 1990s, and they'll stop what they're doing to recall a favorite track. For some, it's "Organ Donor," the methodical-yet-spastic gymnastic of an instrumental. For others, it's "Building Steam with a Grain of Salt," a misty, railroad-like tune featuring dialogue perhaps plucked from a psychedelic Hitchcock film. But whatever the song, DJ Shadow, with his mixing board and collection of 60,000 records, has been integral in the development of hiphop over the last two decades.

Shadow burst onto the national the scene some 21 years ago with his masterpiece Endtroducing..., which Time magazine has since dubbed a top-100 album of all time. Since then, Shadow has released four more studio full-lengths, including his latest, 2016's The Mountain Will Fall, a classic-yet-surreal display of humor, musical acumen, and wisdom. Even more recently, Shadow released a song with the rapper Nas, 2017's "Systematic," for the Silicon Valley television series.