IT'S SOME VIRTUOSO STUFF
I heard a Bus Driver song once. I was in a record store and asked the guy working to tell me about some rap that I would actually find interesting. He told me to listen to bus Driver's 12" single, "Get on the Bus." I did, and in one song was convinced that I needed to speak to this person. Dude's got a flow like the Micro-Machines Commercial Guy-meets, uh, a rapper. It is truly bizarre - the only MC's that come close to his sound are maybe a couple Project Blowed members, with whom he is closely affiliated or the equally verbose Doseone. But these comparisons are rickety at best describing the indescribable individuality of this MC. I'm not sure if indescribable is a word. Maybe Bus Driver knows.
Here is Bus Driver in his own words. If you can find it, pick up his CD Memoirs of an Elephant Man.
It just happened. I spent a lot of time on the bus. I never drove a car for a while. And it was just, like, I'm on the bus all the time and I incorporate that shit into my rhymes. I just got inspired one day. I'd like to try to give it some socio-political pretense, but when it boils down to it, it's just some quirky shit that I wanted to do. I never had a premeditated meaning for the name.
I started rapping around age nine, but my first group put out a record when I was thirteen. The group was called 4/29, because that was the date of the riots. It sounded like shit. It was like Kriss Kross meets PE, with a little bit of Das EFX. And from there, I was in a group called 211 Squad. Although I wasn't really in that group, I just knew 'em and I rapped with em'. But the most innovative group I've been in was this group called Popcorn Goddess. It was a random assembly of people that I met at my boarding school. I was the rapper, but it was based around this guitarist that played folk/blues songs. We would do a whole lot of bluegrass, and I would rap along with bluegrass. It was a really weird time. Bluegrass is really tight to me, man. The virtuosity of it is really intense-like they be picking, like a mile a minute. That's where I fit myself into rapping. We actually went on a little street performing tour. Man, we went to West Virginia, where the real hicks are-you know? And we'd be getting into circles with 'em. And I was like, "I don't know what the fuck I'm doing out here with these rednecks,' and I would get into these circles and just bust. It was a profound cultural leap. It was bizarre. Age sixteen through eighteen, I was in that group. But during that time I was also part of Project Blowed and the Afterlife.
I was living in Sedona, Arizona. Completely submerged in this melting pot of people from all over the country and all over the world and this band was comprised of all these people with different musical backgrounds. I got into folk, I got into bluegrass, I got into jazz really heavy. That completely influenced everything with how I rap. I got into the theatrics-it definitely helped.
Vocally, I'm most influenced by John Hendricks of this group Lambert, Hendricks & Ross. As far as instrumentally-I'm definitely a big Django Reinhardt fan. I have a lot of his shit. On his picking hand he only had two fingers-he was amazing, really amazing. I also really got influenced by opera, and also a whole lot of crazy vaudeville stuff. How they bounce between narrative and song-that definitely inspired me.
EARLY '90's LA UNDERGROUND
At that time, a lot of people were getting signed and labels were looking to the West Coast for blow-up artists. Acey got a deal, Erule, Ahmad, Volume 10 got deals and it all happened at the same time. It was really a test-to see if they could bridge the gap and crack the industry wide open. I mean, everybody gets their chance and that was our chance out here. I mean, Aceyalone is really the benefactor of that whole situation. and the reason why is that, even though he got dropped off of Capital, he used that push and that history to completely pull together an incredible independent situation. And that's what that whole period brought forth-the vibe that the industry is not really for us. It fortified the indie idea more, because fools got that knowledge of the inner-workings of the industry. So that was the turning point for us Project Blowedians to fortify our independent situation. And in the end, it's just one more thing on the resume to help you get your next project off the ground.
The dopest thing about my whole career is that I work with all my favorite rappers in the world. Like Fellowship and all the LA underground heads, my favorite shit when I was coming up; I work and live with them now. It's not that I was trying to be exclusive to them, they just struck me as being so ground breaking-they've basically been my influence. The Good Lifers-that whole discipline, that whole approach to hip hop-I bought into that completely.
It wasn't weird; it felt very natural-seeming and appropriate for those people to be my colleagues and then my friends. It was extremely flattering at the time, but I just went with it. Back then, I tried always to be different and stand out you know? And when they started to embrace me and do songs with me and incorporate me into the mix. This happened around '94, early '95. It was just a great experience-I was young and very excited.
I really love when people dis me on the Internet. It lets me know that this person really spent the time to judge my shit! It lets me know that I'm an artist out there and that I can be judged! I'm on the shelf! So, I'm just excited to be in the Category. The truth is that with me and the Afterlife, we been doing this for years and we go around the country and the world, and we need any kind of buzz or reason for people to see us, so whatever gets you there is helpful.