Boom Bap Project on Rap's Formulas

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“The goal of the Boom Bap Project is to preserve the hip-hop culture through music,” proclaims MC Karim, known as Nightclubber Lang to those who have helped him and his Boom Bap comrades Destro and DJ Scene build a solid rap foundation in the underrated Pacific Northwest scene. “We came up with the name upon when we decided to make an album chock-full of hard beats and rhymes, true hip-hop shit. The name was not chosen as an homage to anyone or anything, but describes what you’re gonna get from us musically.”

The Boom Bap Project might still be a work-in-progress, having released only its second album, called Reprogram, in the new millennium. But the self-described “true-school” trio still boasts quite the game-tight CV. Not only have all three heads done time as members of the kitchen-sink sonic collective Oldominion, but they’ve rocked the mic at the Olympics (in lily-white Salt Lake, of all places) and burned up stages alongside The Roots, Wu-Tang, Blackalicious, and many others. In other words, they’ve got their bases covered, especially now that indie-hop label Rhymesayers (home to Atmosphere and Brother Ali) has loosed Reprogram on a blinged-out landscape looking for a respite from hypermaterialism.

“Hip-hop, in our eyes, has lost the majority of its creativity and luster,” argues Karim, “but we haven’t been affected by the mainstream takeover of hip-hop culture, and neither has our music.”

That statement may ring strange, considering that Reprogram’s beat architects are none other than Seattle standouts Vitamin D and Jake One, whose stripped-down compositions have helped Busta Rhymes, 50 Cent, G-Unit, and many more mainstreamers explode. But Boom Bap Project is committed to its local, rain-swept scene, and is deeply invested in positioning a long-overdue spotlight on the Pacific Northwest’s thriving hip-hop environment.

“We rep Seattle to the fullest,” Karim adds. “Anyone who’s ever been there knows that. They know us, our crew Oldominion, Jasiri, Under the Needle, all the rest. We feel we’re making history here, [and the] light is beginning to shine on our region. Seattle has the best producers in hip-hop. Don’t sleep.”

Good advice, because BBP’s self-professed intention is to wake up the world, and Reprogram is their hate letter to the status quo. “People today are programmed from birth to go to school, get a 9-to-5, get married, have kids, and live by the rules,” says Karim. “But the careers that artists have chosen go against these standards and we aren’t going to buy into the program. We don’t need to follow those guidelines to be happy or successful in life.”