I’ve mentioned this feature I was writing on the return of the boom bap for a while now. The feature, along with a series of interviews with LuckyMe, edIT and the Glitch Mob, is finally out in the current issue of Serie B magazine, available now in Spain and in selected spots around the world.
And so I’m finally publishing the English versions on here as well as on Spannered where they’ll be appearing in the coming week. Much thanks go to all the artists, labels and Serie B for making this possible.
I first got the idea for writing this in the summer of 2007 while living in Japan. Being in Tokyo I was separated geographically from a lot of music and artists, and so I found myself listening to and hunting for new music a lot more than I ever did.
I started listening to many of the producers mentioned here before moving to Tokyo in Jan. 07, some for a few years, and I also discovered a lot of them while living in Japan, mainly through recommendations and just looking around.
And then around the summer, something hit me as I continued to listen to more and more music and producers. I’d been looking for something in hip hop for a long time and I realized that I’d found it again. Thinking about it, and talking with friends, I realized that a lot of this new music, a lot of the beats, just reminded me of classic era hip hop, the stuff I listened to growing up. And it reminded me of the boom bap in the beats of all the producers and classic albums and 12”s from that era.
Over the next 8 months or so I kept thinking about this, finding more music, more producers and becoming more and more convinced that this was definitely a special time. Because since 2000 we’d reached a point where this new take on hip hop, this new boom bap, was becoming more and more ‘common’, and while it was still being tagged and talked about as something other than hip hop by a lot of people, to me it was obvious that it was just hip hop, evolved, but still just hip hop. In the same way that late 90s hip hop sounds different to early 90s hip hop and early 90s hip hop sounds different to early 80s hip hop. In this case though, we’d reached a point where hip hop had evolved in such a way, that the easiest reaction seemed to be to talk about it as if it was something else, when really it was so obviously hip hop.
I started to write this feature about 8 months or so after the idea first popped into my head. I just want to explain my take on it, why I believe that all this exciting music we’re hearing is still hip hop, no matter how easy it might be to label it or tag it as something else. Ironically at the same time I was writing this a couple of articles popped up online, one by Martin Clark and the other by Sasha Frere-Jones, each referring to some of the producers mentioned here and coming up with yet more tags for the music – though to be fair in both cases it was done quite knowingly rather than as a result of lazy journalism.
To me the beats we’re hearing today are just the result of a new evolution in hip hop. It’s a new era of boom bap, a return to what made hip hop exciting. And looking around it’s hard to not believe that a lot of people feel the same.
Because the feature was commisioned for Serie B, it was limited by space. And due to that some people aren’t mentioned that probably should be. Ultimately I could spend a lot of time trying to be as thorough as possible in my exploration of this idea of the new boom bap, but instead I’ve decided to leave the feature pretty much as it was published.
So I’ll mention those that should have been mentioned here briefly, including people who’ve been around for a while, part of the first wave of new, forward thinking hip hop producers. If you are interested than I can only recommend you go and hunt down music from all these people and connect the dots by yourself, because that’s the best and easiest way to realise just how much of a logical progression this music we’re hearing today is. They include people like El-P, Daddy Kev, Gaslamp Killer, The Tape, Megasoid, Ghislain Poirier, Nosaj Thing, Cerebral Vortex and Buddy Leezle, Machinedrum and Elliot Lipp, Jay Scarlet and Cinnaman, just to name a few.
The fact is this new era of boom bap is a worldwide thing, it’s not limited to just one or two places or a few artists. And that’s another thing that makes it really exciting.
Anyways enough of the talking, hope you enjoy. There is also a mix to accompany this feature which I put together at the beginning of the summer while finishing writing it all. The mix was put together to illustrate some of the things I talk about and showcase the music for anyone who hasn’t had a chance to hear it yet. You can find it here, available as a 320kbps mp3 download and with full tracklisting.
Also I forgot to mention originally, but for those of you who want to find out more about this new generation of producers and beatmakers, and all the exciting music being put out and made today, then there’s a bunch of radio shows out there you can show on the regular, including Benji B’s 1xtra weekly Deviation show, Samurai FM, Alexander Nut on Rinse FM, dublab (which has hosted Flying Lotus’ excellent Brainfeeder specials) and also Rhythm-Incursions. There are more but these should keep you busy and started.
Read the features below: