B-boy culture gets another resounding tribute from the Defrostatica Records crew, who bring six producers from across the globe onboard for round two of their Rogue Style series.
The first Rogue Style EP went out last year with tracks from Sinistarr, Kiat, Kabuki and HomeSick, and now the second EP has been unleashed – this time it’s Digital (UK), 6Blocc, Calculon, Shamanga (all USA), Fanu (Finland) and Agzilla (Iceland) at the controls for four colossal tracks which each approach the b-boy scene from a slightly different direction.
Digital, who is behind the sparse drum & bass of opening track ‘Uprock’ said: “Myself and my older brother have been into hip hop and b-boy culture from an early age. It showed me music wasn’t just something you danced to, it demonstrated togetherness, passion and the amazing life you can have through music.”
Track two, the urgent and claustrophobic ‘Call Out’ draws together three US producers, each with their own take on the scene. Calculon, who has fond childhood memories of watching the Breakin’ movie, said: “As a teenager in San Diego I was later exposed to underground hip hop Kool Keith/Dr Octagon and DJ Shadow, and it was scratching that inspired me to save up and get my first set of turntables. I remember buying an Invisibl Skratch Piklz VHS tape from the local record shop and watch it at home, impressed to this day by their skill and dedication to the craft.”
6Blocc added: “The b-boy movement inspired me to push myself with my DJ skills and music production and mentally I’m still the same kid I was when I first started! I can’t imagine doing anything else in life than making music and adding to my huge vinyl collection. In the late 90’s I produced hard jungle vinyl releases under the name B-Boy 3000 because to me jungle music was hip hop fast forwarded 1000 years ahead in a time when lyrics no longer exist and all is just sample sounds modified by computers.”
And for Shamanga, B-boying has been a huge part of life since he was nine years old. He explained: “My older cousin was a DJ… I remember vividly when he played me this new sound. “This is scratching” he said to me. The tune was ’Looking for the Perfect Beat’ by Afrikka Bambatta and the Soulsonic Force. I was instantly hooked on hip hop. This was 1981. I went on to collect any rap record I could find.
“Throughout the 80’s, I would obsess on the beats, trying to get the hot tracks before the other kids in my neighborhood. Growing up in Southern California, I would go to the swap meet and get Rodeo Mix Tapes by DJ Yella, Dr. Dre, etc. I learned about Rodney O and Joe Cooley, KRS One, Mixmaster Spade, King Tee, Eazy-E, Toddy T, and more. I began DJ’ing in 1988.”
“One particular crew, 7A3 (produced by a mostly unknown DJ Muggs) inspired me to take my abilities to a new level. I purchased an HR-16 drum machine and bought a bass guitar. A few years later, a couple of the gangsters in my neighborhood wanted to become rappers, so they bought an Ensoniq EPS16+. Once they realized they didn’t want to learn how to program the machine, they gave it to me, with one stipulation… I was to produce beats for them to rap over. This was 1991. I have not stopped since.”
Finnish producer Fanu delivers a clattering slow-builder in the form of aptly-named ‘Machinedrummachine’, which pays tribute to a very specific part of the scene. He said: “No-one can deny that drum machines did play a big part in creation of hip hop. In my song for Defrostatica, I wanted to employ my Machinedrum for the job. Those who know hip hop may spot a familiar sample or two there as well.”
Rounding off the record is Agzilla’s ‘Tesselation’, who twists together breakbeats into a frenzied state of semi-organised chaos complete with spooky synth swoops. The Icelander said: “The disciplines of hip hop, graffiti, turntablism, and breakdancing have been subtle undercurrents throughout my design and music. The era of discovering groundbreaking sounds, dancing, and style in the 80’s left a deep imprint on me. And out of that wellspring grew my journey into the liberating universe of electronic music. The aura of b-boy culture has been with me ever since and remains both fascinating and deeply inspirational.”
Rogue Style EP 2 is out now – click here to buy.