The duo, best known for their brilliant tribute mix to classic Beastie Boys LP Paul’s Boutique (alongside DJ Food, above), have been bringing their deft skills from turntable rocking to images too, with their current show ‘Return to the Boom-Bap’ a glorious trip down memory lane to the vaunted golden age of hip hop in the late eighties and early nineties.
Think of a time when gold chains and Africa pendants were de rigeur, and hard beats and rhymes were the mainstays of a sound yet to be fully diluted by pop. The duo hit Liverpool venue Constellations on Friday March 6th to bring this tour to the North West, and prior to the show we caught up with them…
Your new AV show celebrates what people call the ‘Golden Era’ of hip-hop, a period that encompasses a tremendous amount of quality music. How did you even begin deciding what would make it into your set?
Money$hot, adopting grizzled Vietnam vet tone – I was there, man. I was there! Well, I was a resident at a hip-hop night in the late 90s-early 2000s, and a fan well before that. So I had all the killer music from that Golden Era stockpiled and battle ready for my sets.
For this show it was a case of going back through my memory tanks, as well as checking in with a few comps to make sure we’d not missed out any pearlers. We clearly have. Anyone that wishes to drunkenly point out exactly which ones can come see us after the show…
Cheeba – Well Boom Bap is kind of a loose descriptive term but for me it means simple drums breaks programmed high in the mix, often with just a mad catchy one bar sample flipped or looped… beyond this formula it was the flows and style of the rappers of the day who dropped the final piece of the puzzle to make them the ear worms that still rock clubs and raise hands to this day.
We chatted loads about what HAD to go in using our collective knowledge and love of hip hop and after that went with stuff that worked well in the mix, bounced references against each other and sat nicely in key. If it had an iconic video, an accapella or instrumental that also played in a tracks favour.
What is it for you that sets this period in hip-hop apart from all the rest
M$ – It wasn’t shit. Next question.
CH – A lot of rap since that period has been shit. there’s been a few modern moments we’ve honoured in the mix, MOP’s ‘Ante Up’ (below) for example but yeah, the endless wave of top 40 hip POP has diluted the iconic production and rap style we were, and still are, in love with.
How different is your approach when constructing an AV show to a straight-up musical one?
M$ – We had to keep in mind what tracks from that era had videos to go with them so they’d sync up nice on the big screen when we mixed them up. That informed a bit of the casting. It was fun to think in terms of videos. It’s all new to me. It’s bread and butter for Cheeba, mind.
CH – Well, if the track has a video great. If I can source it in decent quality, then even better. For this show it was definitely about showing off the videos that were as iconic as the tracks themselves. MTV was king in that era and wasn’t yet just another reality TV channel. With YO MTV Raps being such a huge part of blowing up a lot of these tracks and artists we looked to replicate and relive some of that glory.
It’s been 20 years since the ‘Golden Era’ passed in the mind of most hip hop heads. If in 2035 someone was creating an AV show celebrating the current era of hip-hop, who makes it into the set?
M$ – I don’t really follow the current rap scene. Well, at least not the Drake type bunch, I couldn’t name one song. I still always check for DJ Premier, Jurassic 5, Ugly Duckling and cats like that… but if it has mad flow (and that old boom bap) my ears will prick up. Cut Chemist has dope videos, as does the Run the Jewels boys and Homeboy Sandman. So yeah, they’d make the cut.
CH – Likewise, I’d go for the happy rap styles and beats of acts like J5 and Ugly Duckling. Im also really into the conscience style raps of artists off the Rhyme Sayers label and a lot of the more thoughtful and considered Californian stuff. Stones Throw have a lot of good output… I’m a big fan of the jazz influenced style of producers like Madlib.
Finally, can you sum up what people can expect on the night in five words?
M$ – Classic. Hip-Hop. Video. Turntablism. Party.
CH – Iconic, head-nodding, party, raps, education