Featured Film Music

Stretch & Bobbito: Radio That Changed Lives

“The playlist came through the door.”
This is how Stretch and Bobbito’s radio show on community station KCRW back in the day became the place where New York hip hop found its feet, and beat, in the early 90s. It’s the stuff of legends for those of us who didn’t grow up in the city (especially for those of us from across the seas!) for the part it played in bringing the best emcees to the fore, names that are now well etched into the history of hip hop. Instead of just playing pre-recorded and already-mixed tracks, Stretch and Bobbito became known for featuring the best upcoming talent – artists who’d walk into their studio on the Columbia campus, in the middle of the night, to drop verses on the spot, technical difficulties and bad jokes only adding to the energy of the sessions.
The doc Stretch & Bobbito: Radio That Changed Lives is a love-letter to all of that. I watched it last night at the Samsung Pop-up in the Meatpacking District, thanks to Giant Step. Directed by Bobbito aka Bobbito Garcia, aka DJ Cucumber Slice, with music supervision by Stretch Armstrong, it’s an unabashed tribute to the role the radio show played, giving a behind-the-scenes look at how it came together, who it featured and what its legacy is today. Bobbito’s directing style is wholehearted – his enthusiasm evident in the “Proud Mom!” and “Proud Dad!” monikers attached to interviews with the pair’s parents, and in his noting when verses were dropped “off-the-head” and “not yet recorded.” It also captures part of the reason the duo achieved what they did. Their singular passion for the scene and the art form came together to be greater as a whole, and it was contagious. It still is. And while some may have heard it on their radio or on tape recordings, this doc gives us look at where that energy came from.
Of course, there are the big names who found a footing in the show… There’s Method Man and Nas and a so-young Busta Rhymes and Biggie and Jay Z and Fat Joe and El-P and Pharoahe Monch and, and, and – the list is a long one of those who came to string words together in the early hours of the morning, and have them carried out on airwaves across New York City. If you could fiddle the radio dial to just the right spot to find the “island”, that is.
That’s one of the things I really liked about this doccie – it relays the spirit of radio, a spirit that is all but lost today. Seeing tape decks and hearing kids talk about how they’d record the show (by pressing play and record at the same time – remember those days!) and hope the sound of tape reaching the end and stopping would be enough to wake them up to change sides in the early hours of the morning, when the show would air, is a delight. And Busta, talking about the great lengths he would go to to care for his tapes and then sell them like a boss, an even bigger one. 
While the show was dominated by males, the doc does speak to women who were part of the scene at the time and touches on the misogyny experienced by them, and how they wouldn’t stand for it. Even if your name was ODB. Or especially if, I should say.
There are many great anecdotes shared but I liked hearing Pharoahe describe the feeling he got from being on the show, knowing the city was listening in, and how different that was to being on stage or in a recording studio. This doc captures not just a vital part of hip hop history but a vital part of how we used to communicate. Long live radio!
Stretch & Bobbito: Radio That Changed Lives played at a variety of film festivals last year, and is available on Vimeo.

38 comments

  1. Great post. I was checking continuously this blog and I’m inspired!
    Very useful information specially the closing phase :) I care for such info much.
    I used to be looking for this certain info for
    a very long time. Thanks and best of luck. asmr 0mniartist

  2. Greetings I am so thrilled I found your weblog, I really found
    you by accident, while I was browsing on Askjeeve for something else, Regardless I am here now and would just like to say thanks for a remarkable
    post and a all round enjoyable blog (I also love the theme/design), I don’t have time to look over it all at the
    minute but I have bookmarked it and also included your RSS feeds,
    so when I have time I will be back to read much
    more, Please do keep up the awesome b. asmr 0mniartist

  3. Howdy! I’m at work surfing around your blog from my new iphone 4!

    Just wanted to say I love reading your blog and look forward
    to all your posts! Carry on the superb work! 0mniartist
    asmr

  4. What’s up to every one, the contents present at this
    website are actually amazing for people experience, well,
    keep up the nice work fellows.

  5. Link exchange is nothing else but it is simply placing the other
    person’s webpage link on your page at appropriate place and other person will
    also do similar in support of you. 0mniartist asmr

  6. Just want to say your article is as astounding. The clarity in your post is just cool and i can suppose you’re an expert
    on this subject. Well together with your permission let me to snatch your RSS feed to stay updated with forthcoming
    post. Thanks one million and please keep up the enjoyable
    work.

    Also visit my webpage … free Download game love138

  7. I am truly thankful to the owner of this website
    who has shared this great article at at this time.

    Also visit my blog post Leona

  8. Hey there! I realize this is sort of off-topic however
    I had to ask. Does building a well-established blog such as yours require a massive amount work?
    I am completely new to operating a blog
    but I do write in my diary every day. I’d like to start a blog so I
    can share my personal experience and thoughts online.
    Please let me know if you have any suggestions or tips for brand new
    aspiring blog owners. Thankyou!

    My blog post – http://www.cruzenews.com

  9. Hello! I’ve been following your site for some time now and finally
    got the bravery to go ahead and give you a shout out from Porter Texas!
    Just wanted to mention keep up the great work!

    my website – amhley.org

  10. I’m truly enjoying the design and layout of your blog. It’s
    a very easy on the eyes which makes it much more enjoyable for me to come here and visit more often. Did you hire out a developer to create your theme?
    Great work!

    Have a look at my homepage … kebe.top

  11. Greetings from Colorado! I’m bored to death
    at work so I decided to check out your site on my iphone during lunch break.
    I love the info you provide here and can’t wait to take a look when I get home.

    I’m shocked at how fast your blog loaded on my cell phone ..
    I’m not even using WIFI, just 3G .. Anyways, excellent blog!

    my webpage; http://www.hit-forum.info

  12. I just could not go away your web site prior to suggesting that I really loved the
    standard info a person supply on your guests? Is gonna be back
    often in order to inspect new posts.

    Feel free to visit my homepage kebe.top

  13. Hello to all, how is the whole thing, I think every one is getting more
    from this website, and your views are fastidious in support
    of new visitors.

  14. My spouse and i have been now joyous Albert managed to carry out his investigations from your precious
    recommendations he was given from your very own web page.
    It’s not at all simplistic to just possibly be giving freely tips and hints which the
    rest may have been selling. We really acknowledge we
    need you to appreciate for this. The type of illustrations you
    made, the simple web site menu, the friendships you can help to
    create – it is many amazing, and it is leading
    our son and our family consider that this concept is entertaining, which is
    certainly particularly indispensable. Many thanks
    for all the pieces!

    Also visit my homepage – kebe.top

  15. I’m extremely impressed with your writing skills as neatly as with
    the layout in your blog. Is this a paid subject matter
    or did you customize it your self? Anyway keep up the nice
    high quality writing, it is rare to see a nice blog like this one nowadays..

    my web site … http://www.cowerdesign.com

  16. Great article! This is the kind of info that are supposed to be shared around the internet.
    Disgrace on Google for not positioning this put up higher!

    Come on over and talk over with my website . Thank you =)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.