Q&A: Show & AG On The Bronx, Watching Grandmaster Flash Back In The Day, And Stereotypes In Hip-Hop
The good thing about family is you don't have to see them all the time to still feel the love when you do reconnect. Last year, Show & AG's hard-hitting "Show &A"the first joint venture from the Diggin' In The Crates members since 1998's Full Scaleshowed that the duo is reinvigorated and ready to take on the new generation of rap consumers. More important to them then reaching new fans however is making music for their generation, an audience Show feels "no one is catering to." To ensure that hip-hop still speaks to the 32 and older crowd, Show & AG offered Still Diggin', an instrumental album, last month; today, they released Mugshot Music: Preloaded, in advance of this summer's Mugshot Music: The Album. It's a big undertaking considering Lord Finesse, Diamond D and other members of their powerhouse collective DITC are nowhere near as visible as they were in 1990s. The duo isn't worried, though. They insist they feel no pressureand even if they did it would just add to their drive to reclaim their spot in the rap universe. Here's what else they had to say about their reemergence and the days of yore.
Do you remember the first time you heard hip-hop?
AG: No. It was always there for as long as I can remember. I grew up in the South Bronx, Patterson Projects. Even before hip-hop had an official name I was seeing the jams in the park. The jams were around for as long as I can remember.
Show: Maybe not hip-hop per se, but I remember Flash DJing in the park by my projects [Forrest]. It was a weekly thing, sometimes twice a week. I just remember seeing the first generation of stars like The Furious Five and The Cold Crush walking past me on the street and at the park. Just seeing them in action and Flash rocking "Dance To The Drummers Beat" were probably my earlier memories of hip-hop. It's hard to pinpoint just one memory though because when I was young, where I'm from all the older guys did it.
You guys came up during some wild times in The Bronx. Do you have any memories of some of those crazy times you'd like to share?
AG: I remember a lot both good and bad but the memories that stand out the most are music related. I remember in junior high school being on the loud speaker rhyming. The Bronx was wild but what changed my views was when Beat Street came out because that was filmed in my hood. For dudes I saw at park jams to go from the street to the screen, it inspired me to take music seriously.
Show: I remember how things were prior to crack. It was still wild but there was more of a community. Your neighbors would scold you if you were doing something bad. It was more of "a village to raise a child" thing. Once crack hit, you had crackheads that couldn't function and raise their families, and you had crack babies who grew up not giving a fuck about anything.
Show, who are some of your inspirations as a producer?
Show: Definitely Marley Marl, Jazzy Jay... they were early pioneers that were very innovative. They inspired me to produce. But I get inspiration from a lot of the newer guys. Bink!, Nottz, The Justice League, Just Blaze... these are guys who came after us but I still feel keep it true to the craft.
What are some releases we can expect from you guys in the near future?
AG: We have an instrumental album that just came out on April 24. Then we have a free album called Mugshot Music: Preloaded, due out May 8, which is a prelude to Mugshot Music: The Album, due out this summer. We've also been in the studio working on a DITC compilation, which will be out soon as well. Just trying to stay busy.
What's your biggest beef about the rap game today?
AG: The music business is always going to be the music business. That's to be expected. The business matters to us but we're artists so we care more about the art than the business. I feel like true artists sometimes get shelved or lost in the mix.
Show: This isn't really a complaint, just an observation. My main thing is that now you're forced to listen to one style of hip-hop, at least on the radio and in videos anyway. There's only one lane really being shown. Before you had so many subgenres within rap. I could listen to NWA or De La Soul to get different perspectives. Now they narrowed it down where you only get one perspective. I guess they're more comfortable with certain images of us and they try to keep us in that lane. Now they're playing out all the stereotypes they have of us. All of us aren't like that, though. Everybody from the hood isn't a street nigga.
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