2015 has been an incredible year in regards to Hip-Hop music. The Year of the Ram unleashed an assault led by a legion of extremely and incredibly talented hungry emcees, eager to make a name for themselves, with the intention of staying as far away from the proverbial “one-hit-wonder” quicksand pit. The result – to much surprise – was a string of quality, remarkable, modern rap LPs.
Aside from the sounds of the au courant, there are numerous classic rap albums which reached their 20th anniversaries this year, including Smif-N-Wessun’s Dah Shinin, Kool G Raps 4,5,6, Big L’s Lifestylez ov da Poor & Dangerous, Mobb Deep’s The Infamous, Bone Thugs-N-Harmony’s debut, Masta Ace (Inc.)’s Sittin On Chrome, Pac’s Me Against the World and GZA’s now platinum Liquid Swords, with even more to come.
Whether you know it or not, two very important figures who were around early on in the radio industry played a pivotal role in the aforementioned albums’ (and many, many others) justified longevity: Adrian Bartos, better known as DJ Stretch Armstrong (or DJ Skinny Bones) and Bobbito “The Barber” Garcia of Columbia University’s WKCR 89.9 FM – affectionally known as “89-Tec-9”. Together, the two renowned “pirate radio” DJs were, figuratively, the cornerstone for breaking new rappers. Rappers who would eventually go on to lead very successful careers.
In July, Stretch and Bob announced plans to re-release some of their now infamous show recordings on cassette tape through Fat Beats – the goal being to raise enough money to shoot and produce a long-overdue documentary titled Stretch And Bobbito: Radio That Changed Lives. Some of these tapes included freestyle sessions from ODB, Mad Skillz and A.G. (of D.I.T.C.), mixed with the hottest underground records poppin’ at the time, and of course the usual comedic hijinx (peace to the “snap king” Lord Sear!). Of course, these tapes sold out in minutes, thanks in no part to a bunch of fucking culture vultures, who are re-selling them for twice their values.
Digressing here. In less than three days, the fully-funded, game-changing documentary will finally be made available to purchase and/or stream via Vimeo (see embed at the very top of this post). I was given the opportunity to view an early screening last night, and all bias aside, it’s well worth the $13 price tag. Tons of never before seen footage, including the story behind WKCR’s infamous “demo battle” in which a then unsigned Notorious B.I.G. lost to a crew called Bronx Zu in 1992! The icing on that delicious piece of cake? Biggie’s first DJ, 50 Grand, presented Stretch & Bob with a RARE recording of that demo recording (they never managed to record that night’s show) 23 years later. He was 16 years old!
Watch a bonus clip from the film featuring an Eminem freestyle session, recorded on Aug. 20th, 1998 below.
Stretch and Bobbito: Radio That Changed Lives will be available for sale on Thursday, Oct. 22nd (you can pre-order it now using the link provided in the trailer up top). Keep it locked here for our official 2DOPE review of the film. For more info, visit StretchAndBobbito.