Is it just us, or are all of these lists unequivocally unsatisfying? It doesn’t help that the majority of these rankings have essentially been turned into popularity contests. What’s more, very few of these lists actually measure DJing ability. Rather, they seem to focus on how big an artist’s brand has become as opposed to actual talent behind the decks.
In an effort to shine the spotlight on some of the best living DJs, we’ve created our own list (in no particular order).
Here are 5 DJs who actually deserve to win a Top 100 DJ list:
1. Eric Prydz
Anyone who’s seen Eric Prydz live can attest, it’s a surreal experience. The Swedish progressive house legend has a tremendous command over the booth; his presence can be felt in every subtle change in the music. You’ll never be hypnotized like you will at a Prydz show. Whether it’s an outdoor festival stage or an intimate nightclub, Prydz knows just how to work the crowd into a frenzy. One of the most consistent — and spell-binding — DJs around, Prydz is a clear standout in the field of mixing.
2. Carl Cox
The mighty Carl Cox is one of the best loved DJs around — and for good reason: the man is a machine. At 54 years old, Cox has been obliterating dance floors for over 30 years. A master of multi-deck mixing and a behemoth presence in the booth, Cox is the definition of a living legend. Like a fine wine, his mixing has only grown more exquisite over the years, and he continues to thrive as one of the most in-demand talents in the world.
Lorin Ashton, better known by his Bassnectar moniker, has bred a dedicated cult of followers, so much so that in 2016 he earned a permanent residency at Electric Forest and threw his first music festival, Bass Center. What sets him apart from the rest of his peers — outside of his tremendous catalogue of music — is his near-perfect live show, which finds him mashing songs and improvising selections on the fly. Wielding a complex live setup, his DJ sets never fail to excite audiences with their relentless energy and masterful track selection.
4. John Digweed
John Digweed has been a dance icon longer than a good portion of his fans have been alive. Breaking out into the UK club scene in the early ’90s, Digweed quickly earned notoriety for himself not just for his impactful club residencies, but also for his pioneering work in progressive house alongside Sasha. These days, the living legend carries on a consistently busy tour schedule each year where he frequently enchants crowds with well thought-out extended sets. His multi-hour performances are some of the best in the business, and Digweed is a veritable master of his craft.
Reaching a nearly 20-year career milestone in dance music sounds arduous, yet A-Trak has achieved this accomplishment with extreme prowess that includes turntablist talents, various production work, and label management. At the age of 15, he became the youngest winner of the DMC World DJ Championship, and went on to win several more competitions, yielding five World Championships total. Before establishing his Fool’s Gold Records label in 2007, A-Trak served as Kanye West’s personal tour DJ, and even contributed scratching on West’s ’Late Registration’ and ‘Graduation’ albums. Nowadays, A-Trak remains one of the most talented DJs around, both for his unparalleled turntablism and dexterous track selection.