Written by Samuel Phineas Upham,
Josh Davis, otherwise known as DJ Shadow, is known for developing a style of hip hop that is compositional in nature. His work borrows themes from funk, rock, and hip hop to create a multi-faceted sound culled from recording store used bins.
Davis was born in the middle-class suburb of Hayward California. He was something of an anomaly for his time: a white boy with a love for hip hop in the predominantly rock and roll era of the 80s. While his peers were picking up guitars, bass guitars and drums, Davis was getting into turntables. He was making beats by the time he hit high school.
He moved to Northern California to attend UC Davis. There, he got involved with the college radio station and began playing his own tracks. He even started his own label, Solesides, which would later feature the likes of Blackalicious.
By 1993, his first single was pressed. Entropy spread through the underground, eventually catching the interest of Mo’Wax. Shadow’s first full album, Endtroducing, was produced under the MO’Wax label in 1996 to critical acclaim. He doubled down with a release of his early singles called Preemptive Strike in 1998.
DJ Shadow is known for raiding record stores for new records to sample. It is said that he owns so much vinyl that he needs to rent storage rooms around the city of San Francisco, his current residence, to store the music. He keeps only a small portion on-hand and unloads the rest as needed.