WITH HIS CAREER ABOUT TO BLOW UP, HIP-HOP PRODUCER BOOM BIP PROVES THAT WHERE YA AT IS ALL ABOUT WHERE YA FROM
Sitting on the stoop outside the SS Nova Gallery on a steamy Cincinnati summer evening, Bryan Hollon says he's happy to be home. On the eve of his first album's release, Hollon-better known as Boom Bip-has returned from a European tour with Warp Records just in time to perform on the last night of Ohio's famed Scribble Jam hip-hop festival. "Scribble Jam is an event that pays homage to the roots of where hip-hop started." says Bryan. "The same foundation that Scribbles celebrates is the same foundation I use to make my music."
Hollon came up as a radio DJ and beat-maker in Cincy's early 90's hip-hop scene. He met rapper Adam Drucker (otherwise known as the Anticon crew's Doseone) in history class at University of Cincinnati; Drucker walked into the classroom singing The Roots, and Hollon knew he'd found a new friend. Their Mush Records single collaboration, "Circle" - a combination of far-out music and farther-out poetry-flipped the lid of more than a few people and garnered them a solid fanbase in under-underground hip-hop.
Boom Bip's full-length, Seed to Sun-the first album released on Warp's new Lex Records imprint-is as much about what's not there as what is. It's peaceful, reflective and, at times, awe-inspiring. "Boom Bip only seems comfortable when he's experimenting with music," says Lex label-head Tom Brown. "He's such as aesthete, though, that every twist he makes has a beautiful edge to it."
When Hollon toured with Richard Devin, Mark Bell, Apex Twin and Luke Vibert, he says he immediately accepted by the veteran producers, trading laptop programs and talking shop on the back of the tour bus with some of his musical heroes.
But he's already a hometown favorite back in the city where he first started out, hanging out at Scribble Jam and saying hello to old friends like Mr. Dibbs and Fat Jon. Where Hollon heads out to Los Angeles this year to try California living, he'll be missed by his local posse. "A few make Cincinnati alive, thriving and beautiful," says fellow Ohio expat Doseone, "and Bryan is one of them."
Back at the SS Nova, Hollon is Djing with fellow 'Nati native Pase Rock of the Five Deez. "Cincinnati is an interesting place," says Hollon. "I've always said there's more artists in Cincinnati than fans. So many people in the Midwest have no choice but to hang out in their bedrooms and make music." Hollon mixes rough indie hip-hop and old school techno with some of his new productions straight from his laptop, while gallery-goers sip keg beer and ponder the graffiti on the walls. The beat-barrage echoes through the warehouse space and out into the street below. "He's killing it!" exclaims Pase. He couldn't be more right.