Bumpy Knuckles & Biz Markie Team Up For A Video With A Purpose. Check It Out, Y’all.
Today (May 18), Bumpy Knuckles releases Pop Duke, Vol. 1. The 10-song concept project is produced by Nottz, and it features a cast of Rap O.G.’s such as Chuck D, Kool G Rap, and M.O.P.’s Lil Fame. It also includes a fellow Long Islander, Biz Markie, who makes a rare Rap appearance in the just-released video single “Check It Out Y’all.”
Pop Duke marks the latest commentary about age and generation in Hip-Hop. Thirty-two years ago, Bumpy (as “Freddie C.”) made his debut on a 12″ single by L.I. collective, The Supreme Force. 1986 is the same year that JAY-Z made his debut on wax, alongside Jaz-O. Last year, Jay released 4:44, an acclaimed album that focused on the MC’s current roles as a father, husband, son, investor and man trying to do more than expand his legacy. Bumpy, who told The Premium Pete Show (below) how shared stages with Jay and Big Daddy Kane in the past, is set on proving that MCs have valuable and wise messages that enhance with age.
Speaking with Ambrosia For Heads, Bumpy described what prompted him to make Pop Duke, which doubles as a play on the vintage Popeye cartoons in its artwork and pipe imagery. “I was listening to a lot of these albums that come out from my peers. I wanted to do something that would speak to making new [kinds] of records. A lot of these guys keep doing these old school shows and classic shows, and I think that’s dope, but I would love to hear new albums from some of these guys. I don’t know if it’s that they don’t know what to talk about, ’cause you can’t be in your fifties talking about [how] you’re still on the blocks, slingin’ rocks, or whatever,” Bumpy says. Known for work with DJ Premier, Pete Rock, and Easy Mo Bee, the MC was drawn to the signature thump of a producer known for working with Busta Rhymes, Ghostface Killah, and Scarface. “I just knew that Nottz and his ability as a producer [could] bring a different element to every song.” For Bumpy, Nottz’ beats may well be the spinach to his Popeye theme.
On the phone from his Virginia studio, Nottz also praises the project. “There’s nothing going on like this right now. This is a breath of fresh air…We’re trying to push the culture forward, to where it’s supposed to be.”
Once dismissed as strictly “for the young,” Hip-Hop is diversifying. “I think the industry promotes [ageism]. They promote duplication; they promote somebody to try and be like you, because they feel like people that grow old, grow out of Hip-Hop. [But] it’s not ‘a young man’s game,’ it’s the MC’s game, the DJ’s game,” says Bumpy, with Nottz signaling his agreement. “Check It Out Y’all” pokes fun at the stigma of age in Hip-Hop.
First video “Grumpy Ol’ Man” did the same thing, with Nottz and Foxxx costumed themselves as Rap seniors. “If that’s what they wanna see, we’ll give it to ’em,” Nottz says of the concept. Bumpy adds with a laugh, “We’re over-exaggerating this whole age thing. It’s like as soon as you don’t like something new, they want to [bring] your age into it. ‘You’re old, out of touch.’ That’s not the case. They forget that this is a listening-business. So new ears, old ears, I’m listening for quality.”
Although the two veterans are making a statement, Pop Duke is an all-inclusive experience. “First of all, the young [listeners] are gonna relate to it, ’cause they’re headed that direction. The guys that are our age are gonna relate to it, ’cause they’re already here with us, and they’re looking for something that they don’t have to be brain-f*cked into liking,” Bumpy says, having also released an in-studio visual for second single, “Flow Temperament.” He looks at the MCs who he grew up listening to, such as Rap’s first gold album-maker. “I don’t think Kurtis Blow should stop makin’ records…just make it funky, that’s all. I want to create that desire for people to keep making music.”
#BonusBeat: This week, The Premium Pete Show released an in-depth interview with Bumpy Knuckles chronicling his childhood, performing in prisons, and no-holds-barred account of what he witnessed with the WWE while working with John Cena:
Pop Duke also features Raheem DeVaughn, Big Gov, Vstyles, and Kuye Mason. Bumpy will be performing at Moog Fest this weekend in Durham, North Carolina with KRS-One. Pete Rock and Ali Shaheed Muhammad are also slated to perform.