Alternative hip hop two-piece Hippie Tribe consisting of dp.thuH and blond.bomber go stratospheric with their new ethereal project ‘Gullah Punk: mod 1’ which is surely set to see them gain widespread acclaim.
Vibrantly original and untethered to a specific genre, Hippie Tribe’s latest Gullah Punk: mod 1, consists of two blood bubbling, punk-rap-Afro-Cubano fused anthems, Billie Dream and S A N T A N A. The first tantalizing capsule of the next musical experience from Hippie Tribe.
The upcoming installments will be coupled with a series of film shorts, drawing on the warm glow of the 70’s afro-kung fu film craze that swept through Black America, (Pam Grier, Kareem & Jim Kelly inspired a generation of Kung Fu Fighters), to depict some of the micro and macro-aggressions plaguing the Black community. will be released on September 10th, via their own record label, OTOLO Records.
The series of film shorts will visualize the perpetual “demons” Black Americans face, having our afro-kung-fu assassins offer breadcrumbs to the blueprint on how we will change those said narratives. The connection between these two worlds was bridged in the early ’70s with those early Bruce Lee films like Fist of Fury.
Such films were only shown at budget NYC theaters, which was the perfect storm for poorer Blacks to pour in and see non-white protagonist overcoming their foes in a cinema experience (fast-paced, action-packed scenes) unlike anything else. As more kung-fu films emerged starring folks the likes of Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, who was at the height of his NBA career, the psyche of more and more Black Americans changed for a bit, recognizing themselves in these films as strong-willed, witty, positive, and ultimately, capable of defeating oppressive enemies.
Tell us about the story of your act
Hippie Tribe is an emerging musical duo consisting of blond.bomber & dp.thuH, residing and operating out of Brooklyn, NY. Midwestern bred (bomber hailing from Pittsburgh & dp from Toledo, OH), they crossed paths in college, discovering their simpatico musical taste. They both grew up playing multiple instruments for their respective mass gospel choirs – dp.thuH started on the drum set at age 3 and blond.bomber became a classically trained pianist at age 8. Hippie Tribe has gathered an impressive core fanbase who are chomping at the bit for their next release, as they’ve been loyal from the humble and organic beginnings of the duo. Whether it’s 2017 and the two are playing in a college student’s backyard for 30 brave souls, or it’s present-year and the band is selling out legendary NYC venues like The Mercury Lounge, the love and appreciation has never faltered. Fortunately, there’s still time to jump on the Hippie Tribe rocket, and while we now know the amount of work and passion the dyad put into their music, the ascension during and after Summer ‘21 will seem as if they are overnight sensations.
What are some sources of inspiration for your lyrics and storytelling?
“My little brother is a multi-hyphenated creative – but he’s been focused on painting for the past few years. Now when he gets into something, he dives in so now that we live together, I’ve been exposed to hella visual artists. Have you ever seen the Dali painting where the tigers are about to jump on the shorty? One’s coming out of a fish – it’s wicked looking. “Dream caused by the flight of a bee”… For more ways than one (the play on words, the bliss of this lady unaware that she bout to get mauled), it all spoke to me and the previous relationship I was healing from at that time. Shit, even shorty’s nick-name was Bee. Similar to the lady in the painting, I was in complete bliss at the start of it all – I was in this dream state. As things progressed and started changing, I found myself searching for and chasing that feeling – I started to neglect myself, confusing sacrifice and compromise. But after a while, I woke up and once I did, I realized just how much of a fever dream I’d been in. The full title of Dali’s painting is “Dream caused by the flight of a bee – Around a Pomegranate, a Second Before Waking Up”. So, I guess Billie Dream was made as kind of a follow up to my fever dream – it’s like what happened the second after waking up.”
“dp made this whole thing top to bottom. It started off how it usually does – he just sends me and JJ a voice memo with a hook idea or melody in the middle of the night then by the morning, he cooked a whole beat and got a verse and bridge and alternate ending [bomber & dp laugh]. But basically I just asked him what he needed from me and he said he needed a controlled rage and sticky bars…. like he needed them shits to be mad quotable – I think we pieced the whole record together real well – a great flow of peaks and valleys. And the beat – niggas not making this shit and defintely not spazzing on top of the beats too.”
“This record is probably the liveliest I’ve ever created and it’s fitting cuz the environment I made it in was hella live [dp laughs]. I was chilling with a friend in Gullah (Hippie Tribe’s home studio – she’s Afro-Latina so she’s telling me about how growing up, one day she could be hearing bone-thugs or busta or missy and the next it’s straight afro-cubano instrumentals, Ruben Blades, Celia Cruz or Carlos Santana. I had recently watched a masterclass featuring Carlos Santana so I knew he was a huge fan of African drum patterns and rhythms. Now, I never claimed to be a Santana buff but shorty started listing off hella records from mans – dawg I prolly had heard maybe two or three and now she looking at me like I should never make another song in my life until I go back and do a deep dive. Anyway, she finally brings up this song, “Oye Como Va”. I never heard it so we put it on – it’s got this almost french cafe vibe to it to me but still, it makes you want to move. Well she gets up and gets to dancing and just seeing the way she swayed to this track, hugging the air like her childhood blanket, dropping it as her hands elevated above her head – I was mesmerized. “Somethin’ bout how she dance to Santana” popped into my head and looking back, the feather in the wind freedom she felt when the track came on, I was inspired to recreate the feeling I had seeing her react to the music. I hope that makes sense…. I turned the record off and immediately programmed the guitar riff in Logic and I was like, “damn, I feel like this would make Santana make that smush face.” From there, the lyrics were pretty easy – if you see something inspiring, don’t sit on the wall and let it pass you by – especially if it’s something that could change your life – if it’s something that takes your breath.”
Tell us about your latest release and how it came about
Gullah Punk: mod 1, is the first of several capsules we’ll be dropping. We’ve always been pretty eclectic with our sound but over the past couple of years, we’ve been really focused on creating dynamics within minimalistic production. We love to rap and we love to rage so rock and Hip Hop have been tethered lately. This two-pack is littered with little moments of perfectly balanced raw emotion, vulnerability and disorderliness.
These capsules will be both auditory and visual as we’re releasing a series of shorts leading up to the short film. We pitched our film to a few directors and we’re blessed to have an incredible production company believe in our vision and mission. Along with the drops, we’ve also put together a few community events in Bed-stuy. So this music project has sort of turned into a living, breathing movement.
The goal for the project and accompanying events is two-fold;
“We love music and the arts so if our presence and efforts allow kids to discover a new passion or encourage others in the community to pursue theirs, perfect. The second piece is probably most important for us… we want to ignite a new mindset in our people that together, we have the tools necessary to rewrite our fate. The philosophy is simple – “Kill your demons”. But in order for us to get that done, we got to shine a light into the dark.”
You seem to be fusing several musical genres. What inspires your sound?
“It varies a lot, inspiration is everywhere – like you could be sitting at the park and words come to you or with your homies or having sex or dreaming. We just let things flow as organically as possible. So sometimes dee will have a beat that inspires me or someone will come in with some bars they came up with on the random. We really just let the universe decide. All of my family members are musicians too so I was born into music…..I mean, We literally sing in harmony at all child births. Me and dee both grew up playing in the church so the first exposure, our foundation was Gospel. Gospel incorporates a lot of different genres and it’s eccentric but it’s still subtle in a lot of ways, still familiar. There’s a lot of dynamics within the compositions – that’s all relevant in our music and productions. We try to keep the instruments minimalistic and shape it around the voice – incorporate those little moments, especially with the vocals, that pop out to the listener.”
What excites you the most about what you do?
Knowing its the vehicle for everything else we’re going to accomplish. Music is the beginning and will forever be the foundation – we’re grateful we were chosen and we’re geeked to keep seeing how music will allow us to help and empower others.
Your style is very original and elaborate. How do you take care of your aesthetics?
“We don’t complicate shit. If it’s fly, it flies. No real rhyme or reason to why we do or move or act or dress the way we do, we just do. Out here being like water and not settling and drinking our water and keeping the cap as far away from our hearts as possible. We only know how to be ourselves and its the coolest feeling because no one has ever been us before. And the same goes for anybody else seeing this – can’t nobody do you better than you so own that shit. We’re on the outside looking out.”
What was the most daunting moment in your career so far?
The pandemic was tough for obvious reasons but for us, it was a defining moment. We had to go all in – so it was months without making a dime, doing a bunch of pro-bono work, a bunch of favors. We just had to eat shit for a long time until the sun came back out. I know you can’t see us right now in person but we shining now.
What is the best advice you’ve ever gotten?
“i think I’ve gotten different iterations forever but it kinda all sums up to this – “do the possible”. niko’s pops told him that a couple of months ago. the impossible is impossible so why worry about it? do everything you can and let the rest be the rest. What’s for you is for you. So just do the possible, and let god take care of what can’t be imagined.” -dp.thuH