Noted hip-hop DJ, turntablist, and a big personality in the Baltimore hip-hop scene DJ Vicious V was shot and killed early Friday morning. He was 53 years old.
According to the Baltimore Police Department, Vicious V, whose name was Vincent Curtis, was "shot in the chest" and found around 4 a.m. at the 3000 block of Walbrook Avenue. "Curtis was transported to Shock Trauma where he was pronounced dead a short time later," the BPD says.
For those who aren't familiar with Vicious V, he was a skillful DJ and a frequent battler, putting his skills scratching, mixing, and in his own special way performing up against many others in the city.
In particular, it was his headspinning talents behind two turntables that made him matter so much. For example, he usually didn't DJ with headphones—a subtle boast of just how well he knew all those records. To watch Vicious V DJ was to be sent back to an earlier era of DJing (not a better one mind you, just a different one), where having stacks of records, two turntables, and an almost psychic connections to those records was what mattered most.
He'd run through a set, grabbing records, many of them with pieces of tape on them to note the section he intended to loop or scratch, doing his thing with them and then throwing them off to the side, crafting sample-based compositions right there live (he was also one of the funniest and well, most vicious shit-talkers in the rap scene). His presence at many battle events and other open mic-oriented rap shows was crucial to keeping the core traditions of rapping, DJing, and battling alive in Baltimore.
"The same thing you create pushing buttons, I can create using five different records," he tells Baltimore club legend Jimmy Jones in the interview.
Police say eyewitness interviews and "video footage" of Vicious V's shooting led to the arrest of Brandon Harris for the shooting. Harris is a noted Baltimore club producer and DJ who goes by the name B-Eazy who for a moment in the late 2000s had a series of club remixes that got lots of attention and radio play (City Paper's Al Shipley profiled B-Eazy back in 2008).
In a blog post on his website, RadioOnFire, club DJ and producer Diamond K wrote, "This is a really sad day for our DJ community, entertainment scene and Baltimore as a whole. Two friends of mine - lives forever changed.... and over what?"
A "community memorial" for Vicious V has been announced for Monday, May 15 at the Downtown Cultural Arts Center (401 N. Howard St.). A Facebook event for the memorial can be found here.