There are hip-hop interview archives, and then there’s TheBeeShine. Launched by Jersey native Bryan Scheiner in summer 2010, it’s since blossomed into one of the largest collection of hip-hop video interviews on the planet. Boasting over 1,600 interviews, Scheiner’s disarming style has allowed for one-of-a-kind revealing conversations with artists in all facets of hip-hop, even including icons as exposed as Redman and DJ Premier.
We spoke to Scheiner about what inspired the site, and got his 10 most surprising facts he’s ever discovered from his interviews.
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Do you recall your first exposure to hip-hop?
It’s difficult to determine what was the very first, but I remember being at a dance party at summer camp. Someone DJ threw a cassette into the crowd and I caught it, and it was the cassette single of “Regulate” by Warren G and Nate Dogg. It’s still one of my favorite songs today.
You’ve put out albums both as a solo artist and as a group, what made you decide to get into the journalism side of hip-hop?
I was working at a sales company and we had a raffle from one of the vendors for a FlipCam. I had no interest in doing video ever, but I won the FlipCam and thought maybe I could make use of it. I wanted to do something introspective, no matter what it was. I like people watching and understanding behavioral things. One idea was asking people what inspires them in their lives, and why they do certain things. I started interviewing a couple of my friends that one question, and I had such a vast knowledge of underground hip-hop artists, so I reached out and started asking them. Then, I was getting recommendations, “I can hook you up with this person.” I didn’t think bigger artists were even reachable. Once I saw that they were, I hit them up on Twitter. I got Dice Raw on Twitter. Then I saw Immortal Technique outside after a show, asked him for a quick interview and he said yes. Everybody seemed to be down with it. It was cool how it was so easy to get these interviews.
My original idea was, once I started realizing I could get these artists, I wanted to interview my favorite rappers from the 90s like DMX, Onyx, M.O.P. and Mic Geronimo. It was to let people know who these talented artists are, for people to know where good hip-hop comes from. As I came to New York and started interviewing more people from that era, it was accessible for me to meet pioneers. With each interview, I was learning more and more and I started seeing how important it was to talk about early culture and early hip-hop. My focus changed and became more of a historian level to capture this early history, regardless of if these people were popular or not. It was important to tell their story and what they saw growing up.
I don’t really look toward any popular artist just to get views. I don’t talk ask them controversial topics that other people do or when their album is coming out, or what their new project is like. I just want to talk about what was in their heads when they were getting involved with the music.