On June 13, 2016 Stretch Armstrong & Bobbito returned to a radio rotation as a duo for the first time since 1998, if you are not familiar with Stretch and Bob, allow me to give a brief history. Stretch and Bob met in New York City in the late 80s; Stretch was a DJ and Bobbito Garcia worked for Def Jam Records, in 1990 they started the Stretch Armstrong Show hosted by Bobbito “The Barber” on Columbia University’s radio station 98.9 WKCR. The show was groundbreaking with its uncensored records, B-sides, freestyles and the show’s exposure of unsigned artists who were often able to come to the studio to be interviewed and freestyle live on air. The show had, and still has, a cult following, tapes of the show are still highly sought after. The list of unsigned artists to come through 89Tek9 is unparalled; Nas, Jay-Z, The Notorious B.I.G, MF Doom, Big Pun, Wu-Tang Clan, Eminem, and RVA’s Mad Skillz and Lonnie B. After an eight year run as partners as well as branching out to Hot97, the two parted ways with Stretch remaining on Hot97 for a couple more years and Bobbito hosting and also DJing the CM Famalam show on WKCR until leaving radio in 2002. After a very dope 20 year reunion show in 2010 and the release of their wildly popular documentary Stretch and Bobbito: Radio That Changed Lives in 2015, their appreciation and respect in the culture as well as popularity is as huge as ever. With that being said what better way to use this resurgence in the limelight then to do what they are known for and that is give you great music.
This time around it’s not on a radio dial, the show is broadcast live at the Samsung studio in New York City for the summer, It’s like a musical science experiment of sorts, which makes sense if you have ever heard the original show then you know neither Stretch nor Bob were trained radio DJs and personalities which was apart of the shows appeal. If you’re expecting the same show of the 90s you will be sorely mistaken, but if you’re a 90s hip hop fan like myself who grew up in the 90s you can appreciate the growth in music choices. Hip hop is ever evolving when it comes to the music and not everything that comes out today will satisfy your musical palate. As an avid hip hop fan, I feel there should be progression when it comes to music, after all – the start of the entire culture was based off of having fun and a mash-up of different genres of music. There are still rap records played but the majority of the music as they both have stated is “open-minded music”: a mix of jazz, rare soul grooves, world music all blended perfectly by both Bob & Stretch for 2 hours (sometimes 2:30). Some people will probably tune in expecting to hear the exact same show from 1995 but would you expect to see Jordan and Pippen return to the NBA as players or in the front office, there has been a natural evolution which I feel as a hip hop fan and music lover is needed, you can’t possibly listen to rap all day everyday, there is music from everywhere on the planet being played but it still has a hip hop feel it.
The new Stretch and Bobbito Radio show is the perfect answer to questions I ask all the time; As hip hop fans grow older, what do we do? Do we follow the trends to keep up with the younger generation or do we remain “stuck in our ways”? The question has been answered, The same way they gave a new generation of hip hop their exposure this they’re giving you a new aspect of music, something that’s new to your ears that you do not hear on the radio. We listen to Stretch and Bob and enjoy the balance; although it is “open-minded” music, the sound and the feel is reminiscent of hearing new music from artists you have no idea who they are…yet. Even the hip hop records that are played are often times songs you haven’t heard in awhile or deep album cuts that provide a nostalgic feel, and guests who stop by like Pete Rock, Crazy Legs of Rocksteady Crew and Graf legend and artist Futura 2000 to let you know that they still are very much flag bearers for the culture.
Words by Senior Cheats Movement Contributor Hip-Hop Henry @HipHopHenry