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The Boombox Saints [Interview]

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The Boombox Saints on HipHopCanada

Vancouver, B.C.The Boombox Saints bridge two distinct cultures – the party vibe of good, clean hip-hop, and the more orthodox, second-generation brand of hard work: call them blue-collar rappers with a white-collar attitude. They expressly try to avoid being pigeonholed as Filipono hip-hop, but signs of their heritage show up in their videos, their stories and in the company they keep.

The three Saints – Adlib, Huggy Fresh and Freaky P – hail from all across Canada but share the common threads of ethnicity and musical chemistry. The Boombox started out as a live hip-hop act with up to 8 members, but too many cooks in the kitchen led to the final formation of 3. Huggy and Adlib met at church in grade six and both started writing tracks, impressed with each others’ styles and providing mutual challeges to step up their games. Freaky P moved to Vancouver from Hamilton, ON and was introduced to the Saints by a mutual friends; he brought his east coast swag to their R&B vibe as “the last piece of the puzzle that was missing.” Adlib reflects that “it never worked out until P came along…P is edgy, Huggy has a crazy flow, and I like to think I’m the glue, the melody of the whole thing.”

And melodious they are: chock-full of innovation and camaraderie, the Boombox Saints are good boys with mad musical drive.”The bottom line,” explains Huggy, “is that music is an important part of our culture, we were brought up in music so we’ll always be involved in music or entertaining.” Be it the Frank Sinatra of Adlib’s childhood, the Hendrix of Freaky P’s or the Abba of Huggy’s, they were each steeped in not only a musical tradition but a culture of entertainment. “Filipinos just lover performing,” continues Huggy as the boys remenisc about the karaoke and talent shows of birthday parties past.

Perhaps the most evident sign of this childhood is in the Boombox Saints’ first video “Flip It,” a party track with a cultural twist. Based on a popular Filipino coming-of-age movie called “The Debut,” the video opens with an awkward church-basement style party. Preacher’s son Adlib recognizes the corniness of the concept, but also the importance of exploring “the cultural differences between Filipinos born here and those coming from abroad…the struggle of differentiating your roots as being Filipino and growing up here.” The cultural juxtaposition becomes evident when the video flips from party dresses and cupcakes to slick cars and booty riders; DJ K-Rec’s beat drops and the landscape shifts from foreign to familiar.

The diversity within the group becomes more and more obvious as their music is explored: as different from “Flip It” as can be, their new single “She Got” veers from party hip-hop to marketable, ringtone rap. To get a full picture of what the Boombox Saints sound like, you really have to listen to it all. K-Rec has produced and mastered several beats for the trio, and recognizes the “wide variations of sound” coming through his mixer. And there’s more to come: the group has big plans for the future, including teaming up with famed producer Chin Injeti. As for shows, the gang will be hitting the Rickshaw Theatre March 27th, then visiting Huggy’s hometown of Winnipeg on the 29th and Freaky P’s Steel City on April 4.

Check out the lastest epidode of BBS TV HERE.

Written by Amalia Judith for HipHopCanada

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