Can the essence of the mid-90’s intelligent hip-hop ever be preserved or re-injected into today’s culture? Can the city of Seattle ever be ardently represented in the hip-hop nation? If hip-hop can be saved, could Seattle, Washington be one of the cities that will contribute?
For many people, Starbucks and grunge music (Nirvana, Alice In Chains, Pearl Jam, etc.) come to mind when they think of the city of Seattle. Starbucks went global. Grunge music basically died (Thank God!). While other cities were hustling, pimping, getting crunk, backpacking, battling, or sipping on syrups, a new sound in independent hip-hop was born in the Northwest. True hip-hop heads are now discovering the intensity of Northwestern hip-hop. Oldominion, Lifesavas, and others have earned a loyal following with a signature sound and interesting live shows. Emerging from this region, The Boom Bap Project is another link in this sturdy chain.
Consisting of Karim (a.k.a. Nightclubberlang), Destro Destructo, and DJ Scene, The Boom Bap Project have vowed to preserve the true essence of hip-hop. Since the golden era, many classic hip-hop groups consisted of two emcees and one DJ. Beastie Boys, Run-DMC, and A Tribe Called Quest followed this estimable format as they contributed to the culture’s evolution. In the mid 90’s, hip-hop experienced another mini-renaissance that birthed eccentric, thought-provoking, and powerful artists. Organized Konfusion, O.C., Artifacts, Souls Of Mischief, A Tribe Called Quest, M.O.P., De La Soul, The Pharcyde, and Del The Funky Homosapian are just a few in this long list. Since the culture’s creation, hip-hop has united cultures, helped the economy, consistently evolved but remained true to the roots, inspired people to move forward, and empowered listeners to pursue their dreams.
Without warning, The Boom Bap Project surprised the world when they decided to live out their dreams. While they were well known within their region, the hip-hop nation took notice when they signed to Rhymesayers Entertainment, one of the most respected underground / independent labels in hip-hop. Home of Atmosphere, MF Doom, Brother Ali, and Eyedea & Abilities, Rhymesayers Entertainment has helped to elevate the culture with innovative, entertaining, and unique music. With a contribution of their own, The Boom Bap Project was added to this magnificent list. Their 2005 debut album, ‘Reprogram’ was released to critical acclaim. Guests included Rakaa from Dilated Peoples, Gift Of Gab from Blackalicious, Grayskul, and others. Thought-provoking songs are fueled by hardcore hip-hop beats. Their energy is inspired by the mid 90’s hip-hop. “Surveillance” paints a scary yet honest scene of a society that is constantly watched through the eye of the camera. “Welcome To Seattle” is an inviting anthem for the city they represent. “Rock The Spot”, “Sho Shot”, and “1,2,3,4” are hard-hitting jams inspired by the revered 90’s hip-hop. The Boom Bap Project just may be one of the artists who help lead the rebirth of intelligent hip-hop music. If intelligent hip-hop has survived in the years to come, The Boom Bap Project may be one of the groups we should thank.
MVRemix: What goes on?
Karim: Peace. We’re in the midst of a short album release tour. We just got banned from Canada for one year! Bout to hit the road with Hiero, Non Phixion, and O.C. in July.
MVRemix: The debut album, ‘Reprogram’ by The Boom Bap Project was just released. Tell us about it.
Karim: The ‘Reprogram’ album is 15 tracks of straight hip-hop. It’s hip-hop the way we like to hear it. Banging beats, rhymes, cuts.
MVRemix: How long did it take you to record ‘Reprogram’?
Karim: The record probably took like a little over a year to record. It took longer to come out as we switched labels during the process.
MVRemix: What is your favorite song on, ‘Reprogram’?
Karim: I would actually say my favorite song on ‘Reprogram’ is the title track itself, ‘Reprogram’. We’ve struggled so much in this music industry. Paying dues, being dead broke, touring, doing shows, drama et cetera, all in the name of the music and the art. There is nothing in school that could’ve prepared us for this. Society is set up so you go to school, then college, then get a job, or you fail or fall off somewhere to the wayside. We have followed our dreams and have been told that we can’t do this our whole lives. We are reprogramming that school of thought. I know the title ‘Reprogram’ means even more than that to us too.
MVRemix: Can you explain the creative process of The Boom Bap Project? Who comes up with themes or topics? Who chooses where they rap on the song?
Karim: Destro and I come up with the themes, topics, all that. We usually get a beat from Jake One or Vitamin D, throw the CD on repeat, and see where the vibe takes us. We usually get the hardcore bangers. Our specialty is just spitting. We have been doing this for a while together, so we usually know each others style enough to know who should go first.
MVRemix: What song took you the longest to do? Why?
Karim: Probably ‘Cut Down Ya Options’ with Rakaa. Someone mysteriously misplaced the studio Pro Tools session. The song came out so ill! So, we had to get Rakaa back up here to re-record his verse. Later, when Vitamin and I were mixing down, the file turned up. The whole process probably took over a year.
MVRemix: What song took you the shortest to do? Why?
Karim: Probably ‘Get Up, Get Up’. It’s that Boom Bap hip-hop. We did trade-offs the whole track. When we write trade-offs, the process is a lot of fun because we are finishing each others lines. It goes by much faster.
MVRemix: What is the meaning behind the title ‘Reprogram’?
Karim: There are many meanings. It’s mainly us rebelling from society and the norm, paying crazy dues, and making music. We are reprogramming a certain way of thinking and believing in our work.
MVRemix: When creating a song, do you have the lyrics pre-written or a set theme or do you hear the music first?
Karim: We always need to hear the music first, and we always write to the beat.
MVRemix: How is your rhyme style different from others?
Karim: I’m not sure how it differs from others, but I try to include some humor in my raps. I always tell the truth. I was the king of capping growing up. Sometimes, spitting the hard shit is just like capping. Other times, I just try to touch on things that I think are fucked up, like how the whole rap game is filled with formulaic bullshit, etc.
MVRemix: Although for some it may be obvious, can you go deeper into what the name The Boom Bap Project means to you?
Karim: The Boom Bap Project is us, true school hip-hop. We aren’t trying to change the world, win the battle of rap world supremacy, or create lyrical lasers that verbally diminish your aura scientifically. Nah, it’s that Seattle Boom Bap sh*t. Come f*ck with us!
MVRemix: You guys talk about preserving hip-hop. How do you plan to do this? What parts of hip-hop do you think should be preserved? What parts do you think should not?
Karim: We want to preserve the elements that were passed onto us by people like Erick and Parrish, Rakim, Pharoahe, Run DMC, Gangstarr, Brand Nubian, Special Ed, Kool G Rap, KRS One, Kane, and others. Real sh*t, hip-hop sh*t, not that pop rap, Nick Cannon with Nelly on the hook. Not that double-time high school ‘Girl I need you’ rap. F*ck it, not that stupid, big name, don’t make no sense, underground bullsh*t either. The lyrical miracle, Lexus Texas rap. These guys are polluting the underground with garbage. They make message board rap.
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"The Boom Bap Project is us, true school hip-hop. We aren’t trying to change the world, win the battle of rap world supremacy, or create lyrical lasers that verbally diminish your aura scientifically. Nah, it’s that Seattle Boom Bap sh*t. Come f*ck with us!"