DJ Q-Bert (b. Richard Quitevis) first emerged in the underground turntablist scene as a member of San Francisco's Invisibl Skratch Piklz (with D-Styles, Yogafrog, MixMaster Mike, and Shortkut). Along with other Bay Area groups like the X-Men and the World Famous Beat Junkies, the Piklz were determined to re-establish the DJs place in rap music. Looking backward into rap's past and forward into its future, Q-Bert and the Skratch Piklz championed a move away from the empty showmanship DJing had become toward the essential elements of technique and musicianship. Q-Bert in particular embarked on a mission outside the rap community, to dispel misconceptions about the DJs art through teaching and preaching the gospel of the turntable.
Q-Bert's DJ skills were recognized as early as 1985. In 1994, he released his mix tape Demolition Pumpkin Squeeze Musik, a 60-minute nonstop scratch and breakbeat extravaganza which increased his profile (the tape made the Wire magazines essential Turntablism Primer list in January 1999). Wider recognition came with the birth of the Invisibl Skratch Piklz in 1995. The all-DJ group quickly established itself as an unstoppable live force at underground shows and DJ Competitions. They reigned supreme at the Disco Mixing Club (DMC) World Championship, taking its title three years in a row. They were so dominant at the event that they were asked to abstain from further competitions. Q-Bert then took a spot on the judge's panel. The Invisibl Skratch Piklz toured the globe throughout the latter part of the 1990s. Various members took their craft outside of the live arena and into middle schools, high schools, and universities (and onto the Turntable TV videos) where they gave seminars and tutorials on DJ history and technique.
In 1996, Q-Bert leant his deft scratch-work to Dr. Octagon's classic Dr. Octagonecologyst album. As a Skratch Pikl, he contributed to The Invisibl Skratch Piklz Vs. The Klamz Uv Deth (an enhanced CD released in 1997), Bomb Hip Hop's Return of the DJ, Vol. 1 (the menacing Invasion of the Octopus People), numerous breakbeat compilations (Dirtstyle) and the Shiggar Fraggar Show series. Q-Bert's conventional solo debut came in 1998 with the (first?) turntable concept album Wave Twisters.
Q-Bert has become a sort of ambassador for the turntable. He has gained great respect both for his spectacular skills (including numerous scratch inventions) and for his work to help the turntable community. Along with Mix Master Mike, he was inducted into the DMC DJ Hall of Fame in 1998. As a group, the Invisibl Skratch Piklz made A. Magazine's 100 Most Influential Asian American's list in 1999. That same year, the group called it quits in an amicable breakup. Q-Bert kept busy, lecturing at Scratchcon 2000 and launching Wave Twisters the movie (an animated feature film based on the album). ~ Nathan Bush