Tuesday, March 1, 2011

More On the Bomb Threat Tape...

Larry Mizell, Jr. over at The Stranger did a piece about this historic tape a while back, and he gave the okay for me to post it up over here at beetbak. He and Bruce Illest paint a vivid picture of Portland's hip hop scene in the early-to-mid nineties. It's well worth the read. So thanks, Lar!


Bomb Threat was a real pivotal moment in the hiphop scene of Portland and the entire NW. I spoke to someone who was around at the time about it—my partner from Mash Hall, Bruce Illest AKA djblesOne. At the time, he was the DJ forFrontline, composed of Snafu, Nyqwil, and Destro- who were the Portland-based half of what became the nucleus of NW supercrüe Oldominion, the other being the Seattle-based Oracle's Creed (which was composed of Onry Ozzborn,Sleep, Pale Soul, with the cat known today as RC Tha Trackaholiq as their DJ). Frontline's MC's all appeared on the Bomb Threat tape, as well as the Lifesavasand many others from the area. Peep after the jump.

See at the time, the two most official cats/camps in Portland were Cool Nutz and Jus Family Records- and Lifesavas and their greater crew, Misift Massive. Rap wise, Nutz was like the streets guy, and had been doing it big with all of Jus Family for years—really, they were the standard for doing it, but it didn't seem like we could even do it on that level—and Savas were like the underground-hiphop dudes. Jumbo The Garbageman from Lifesavas was universally respected, as a leader and a production guru, teaching people how to use their equipment. You could say he was the Vitamin D of Portland, he was recording dudes, giving them beats, stuff like that., his studio was where a lot of stuff came from. Huge influence. I was at his house and he explained to me the idea of emotions and scales- he would always break down this cool offbeat music knowledge, that was why he was so filthy. Man, we would be doing something and Hawaii 5-0 would be on, and there would be some kind of "duh-duhh", some noise or something, and he'd ask his girl, like "yo find out what episode that is so i can sample it". Haha!

So they had Misfit Massive- Lifesavas, Libretto, Isiah, which wasVursatyl's singing group, Wolveryne AKA Dubb-Flexx, Sly the Brown Hornet and Mixmasta KD, who was another big influence. And there was a bunch of other people that were recording with him that weren't MM, such as Snaf and those dudes. Jumbo basically thought he'd compile all these people he was working with on Bomb Threat, him and I think Dubb-Flexx put it all together. And it was the first time a lot of cats got heard- it had a big impact, some of the most influential shit.
See, a lot of people were making music and trying to figure it out how to put it out, and they kind of laid out a blueprint for doing it yourself in an official manner- even the samples were cleared! After that tape, I made my first mixtape, started putting it in the stores there were selling Bomb Threat, and lots of other people did the same.

Anybody who wants to know more about the mostly untold narrative of NW hiphop should go here and download this tape, which has as it's Seattle equivalent such classic comps as 14 Fathoms Deep and Do The Math.

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