Today we are celebrating School of Scratch Student Jay Rakim, affectionately known in our School as Ra, from Senegal, who has recently completed the 100 Days of Scratching challenge! ??❤️
Here is his 100th day creation with Yza and what looks like could be our official 100 days of scratching anthem! So creative!
Huge congrats Ra! You rocked it!
I asked Ra some questions to help those of you who are considering doing the 100 Days of Scratching Project.
Hey Ra! Can you give us some background on your interest in music and scratching?
I started in 2002 in Senegal because I heard a lot of music on the radio and this is what made me discover various sounds and artists. I had a particular interest in hip hop, and heard a lot of Tupac and Dr. Dre. I evolved in the radio world in Senegal and began to work as a host to TOP FM radio. One day a DJ came a long and began mixing, and that sparked my interest: the mixing, the transitions, all the while keeping the flow between two songs….that triggered my interest in Deejaying. This same guy introduced me to mixing on regular Cds. He became something like a teacher to me.
In 2008 I came to Europe and hung out alot in the radio world and met various Deejays, and they sparked my interest in scratching. I bought my first turntable and mixer. I carried on with classic mixing but I practiced scratching with the help of youtube videos, yet I had no ambition to deepen this skill.
2016 saw me get serious about scratching: when I had gone to France with other Deejays to try and beat the guiness world record of the greatest number of DJs scratching. Some DJs were so good they simply inspired me to want to better myself.
What made you decide to undertake the 100 day challenge, not once but twice?
The first time, I wanted to better myself. I wanted to do three videos per day with three different techniques, but that was too ambitious, and obviously I didn’t continue it. The second time however, I wanted to do it for real because I had my eye on so many great scratchers that I was very boosted in my motivation to get better, and this time I got real with myself and posted one video per day.
What was your approach?
I was motivated to complete the challenge. I did one video per day and focused on bettering my skill AND posting a video once a day. And in doing that I did not care for perfection, usually just posting the video after the first take. I would look at the video and would analyse it, trying to find out what I could do to improve and would apply that to my other videos.
What is your recording and posting workflow like?
One video per day, usually after work. Sometimes I would miss one or two days (or sometimes a week) due to tiredness or laziness, which explains why I finished the challenge now in September when I had begun it in March. I had to keep motivated. So for the workflow, it wasn’t stable, yet it was present and found conclusion.
Top tools / apps / software / equipment to capture and edit?
Phone (Huawei p10), iRig, YouCut app.
What did you learn?
To get to the bottom of a goal I have set for myself. And clearly, I feel that my technique and flow has improved. I feel more comfortable using the skills which I have learned.
What were some of the highlights for you?
The highlight I would say would be for my last video, with Yza (the singer). That sparked a new idea in my mind to not only better myself in scratching, but to do that in order to have greater skill to use in a project where I would mix scratching with vocals.
What helped you on your way?
Seeing other students take on the challenge. All the vids being posted are motivating. Sometimes you feel like quitting but when you see your peers taking it on, it rekindles that flame.
What didn’t work?
I’m pretty satisfied with how the 100 days challenge turned out for me.
What was the most challenging part and how did you deal with that?
Laziness because I had to sometimes mix in clubs, and the moving of the material from one place to the next can be tiring.
Between works, gigs and time to the record the vids, sometimes it sets your motivation down the drain when it comes to the 100 days challenge.
I have persevered and forced myself to meet up with finishing the challenge.
I kept watching the videos made by other students.
All this made me deal with the tiredness and/or laziness which could have stopped me from completing the challenge.
What are your top tips for anyone who wants to undertake this challenge?
First of all, to start a project is a challenge in itself so I would say ‘start’. Then, persevere. And, do it for yourself because you have set up the goals for yourself, to be better and to commit to something.
If you were to do this challenge again, what, if anything would you do differently?
Have a better structure to be able to work on my weaknesses so that at the end of the 100 days I’d be able to see greater results.
You are a School of Scratch student. What has your school experience been like?
The school made me better my skill at scratching, and I felt myself grow in my scratching technique.
At first I had a monthly membership, and then I finally took a Lifetime Membership because I loved the School so much; I loved the forum where all the students supported each other.
Everything was very well explained within the videos.
I would definitely recommend the school to someone who considers joining it because the students really support each other, the videos are really helpful, and because of all these interactions you feel motivated you to push yourself further.
It’s more fun to walk a path accompanied by those who share the same passion than to walk that path alone.
What is next for you?
I would like to begin another 100 days challenge, but using my right hand (which is my weakest) on basic techniques and of course keep a steady pattern in my work flow.
Where can we find you online?
Anything else you want to add?
The challenge is a fun way to teach you to commit to something. I think that this challenge is a challenge indeed, but it should not be taken too seriously either, it still needs to be fun.
This challenge is a good way to know oneself as well: how committed are we to better our skill.
It’s a good excercise as well because it bursts our bubble a little bit: the fact that we need to film ourselves and expose what we did to others is challenging for we are all a little afraid of judgement.
We should not be afraid of show ourselves in our worst way of scratching, because if we just spend time filming 10 videos, trying to have that perfect take, we waste time and we stay stuck in out little world.
Whereas if we just film it and send it, we might have people that will give us constructive criticism: pointing out things we may not have realised if we had simply been stuck trying to have that perfect take.
And trying to get that perfect take sometimes can be a motive to stop the challenge.
So I guess the challenge works on your ego in a way; not being afraid of showing flaws.
It’s good to know that even the best have started somewhere; everyone starts from 0.
You should want to be better than yourself and not better than others. When I shoot my videos I usually do one take; it’s a 100 percent freestyle.
I really want to thank Emma for coming up with this challenge, and for creating this amazing school.
I also want to thank all the students within the school who are absolutely awesome, who helped me alot in bettering my skill. I will not name the students because there are so many and I would not want to forget a name!
Doing this challenge is really good, which is why I’m starting it again.
That’s a wrap!
Thanks Ra! It was so inspiring to watch you create each day and make progress. You are so great at sharing what you learn and helping the other students with the wisdom you uncover and you are such an asset to our community! Thank you for being part of the Supa Scratch Crew and for all you contribute. Looking forward to seeing your continued progress and creations on Instagram and inside our School. Shout out to Yza!
About 100 Days of Scratching
100 Days of Scratching is a project I started and completed (see here) and have been encouraging my students to do the same – as a way to get in the habit of daily practice, documenting progress and connecting with others.
Vanessa joins fellow School of Scratch Students aka the Supa Scratch Crew: Vanessa, Julian, Crystal, Smallimus, Allexia, Thomas, Ashley, Adam, Erick, Magnus, Roly G and Denise who have all completed the 100 Days of Scratching project. What an amazing crew of creators!
Wanna take part in the 100 Days of Scratching Project?
You can take part in the 100 Days of Scratching project and join our group of supportive DJs here:
Happy Scratching! 😀
– Emma Short-E