Legends, DJs and all-around tastemakers, Stretch Armstrong & Bobbito Garcia recently sat down with fellow hip-hop historian Sacha Jenkins to discuss rap in New York City during the year 1993–the year the plates shifted in hip-hop to bring the genre from its party rocking roots into its prime with an era that would last into the late-90s and offer the world what is probably the greatest selection and sound in hip-hop to date. While the year marked a time when the music began to flourish, that growth was facilitated in large part by the fact that by this point in history hip-hop had become the banner below which an entire culture and lifestyle thrived. Still fresh and unpredictable enough to change a world watching and waiting with baited breath to appropriate its every move, hip-hop went from being decried to selling soft drinks overnight. True of almost every genre of music between 1993 and 94, the time was ripe for youthful innovators to rewrite the rules of the game. With a changing of the guard that affected the entire MTV generation – from the arrival of Nirvana to the emergence of NaS – what anyone alive witnessed was the birth of legends in multiples and a canon of music born of youthful rebellion and the strength of street knowledge. Stretch and Bob just happened to be around to document and in many cases, facilitate all of it. They were the ghetto blaster’s answer to Dick Clark – breaking new music and artists on the regular. Their casual approach to the use of air-time and an encyclopedic knowledge of the sounds they loved would inform and influence a generation – many of whom are still pining for the glory days of their broadcast on Columbia University’s WKCR from 1990 to 1998–and still clamoring for the elusive tapes of the show. Stretch and Bob started in New York and clogged international airspace at their height – conveying the best of the culture with an infectious but sometimes competitive rapport and an ear for the illest of the ill. Accidental historians, they held front row seats to what is probably the most important portion of hip-hop history to date. This is how they’ve chilled from 93 till.
Spotted at ET