Sole DXB 2017: DJ Stretch Armstrong on hip-hop culture

Veteran New York hip-hop DJ Stretch Armstrong looks forward to speaking at Sole DXB this weekend

DJ Stretch Armstrong Michael Kovac / Getty Images for The Annenberg Foundation
DJ Stretch Armstrong Michael Kovac / Getty Images for The Annenberg Foundation

As well as bringing the stars of the future, Sole DXB never loses its sight of hip-hop’s foundations.

From finding innovative and new sounds to performing at parties to sampling records and composing beats, the genre’s nucleus will always be the DJ, and on that score, Stretch Armstrong is one of the best.

Through two decades of gigs, both in that United States and abroad, the New Yorker had a front-row seat in witnessing how hip-hop culture has evolved from being a niche, cult genre to the pop music of today.

Armstrong details it all in the book No Sleep: NYC Nightlife Flyers 1988-1999, which provides a “visual history” of the New York hip-hop scene through a collection of

street flyers.While he is in no way a “sneaker head”, he does see benefit in events such as Sole DXB, which is more than just another opportunity to perform or sign copies of his book.

Instead, it provides a space where fans of street art and culture can mingle and exchange ideas, as well

as purchase the latest fashion apparel.

“It is a great way of bringing people together and allowing people to experience what people like myself in New York or Los Angeles or Paris have at their doorstep their way,” he says. “I just did a similar event like Sole DXB in Shanghai and it just seems that people really want that kind of vibe.”

Where the internet has made music more accessible to fans, Armstrong says that some of hip-hop culture’s adventurous spirit has been lost in the process. Where before, you had to make a journey to buy rare vinyl records or street wear, the online world has made things easier and less personable.

“I do wrestle with what that means at times,” Armstrong says. “I mean I do get that if you are a creator or running an event that you want as many people as possible to participate, but it is important to remember ultimately is that you want to create an experience that is as unique as possible. In a way, events like Sole DXB do that because it is all about bring people together. As much as you can have a virtual existence online, there is nothing like seeing somebody sweat while they perform, or meeting others with similar interests.”

Stretch Armstrong will discuss his book and career at Sole DXB on Saturday. For more information, visit


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Updated: December 6, 2017 11:40 AM


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