Stretch & Bobbito Are Returning To Make Hip-Hop Radio Great Again (Video)
Stretch Armstrong and Bobbito The Barber are two juggernauts of Hip-Hop radio. As the 2015 Radio That Changed Lives documentary showed, these two New Yorkers played critical roles in the careers and subsequent success of Nas, Jay Z, Biggie, Eminem, Big L, Wu-Tang Clan, Pharoahe Monch, MF DOOM, Company Flow, and so many others. Broadcasting overnight from Columbia University’s WKCR “89 Tech-9 FM” frequency, this show (launched in 1990) helped bring the MC freestyle to pinnacle vogue, encouraged antics, and presented raw Hip-Hop culture to anybody within signal reach, or one of the dubbed tapes in circulation.
With Stretch on the wheels and Bobbito, the two would briefly land on the corporate-owned HOT 97 before parting ways in 1998. They used that time apart to focus on solo ventures. Both continued to serve as top party DJs in New York and abroad spinning Hip-Hop as well as House, Salsa, Funk, Soul, and other genres. In addition to sneaker shops, video game spokesperson gigs, and magazines, Bobbito established Fondle ‘Em Records, which re-branded DOOM as well as dropped seminal tracks by MHz and The Juggernauts. Stretch would produce for Lil’ Kim, Tragedy Khadafi & Capone-N-Noreaga, as well others.
In the last several years, Stretch and Bob’ reunited for a playlist-format show at Samsung, and some feature guest spots at Sirius’ Shade 45. Last year, the duo performed a set together at the first annual New York City version of The Roots Picnic.
It has now been announced that Stretch & Bobbito are reviving their music and talk show for the 2017 form of radio: the podcast. Signal no longer matters in accessing music, as NPR will soon play host to Bobbito and Stretch’s chatter, pranks, jokes, and lots of cultural insights.
In a video featuring appearances by El-P (whose Company Flow made waves on the WKCR show more than 20 years before Run The Jewels), Stretch notes, “As [Bobbito] and I have evolved as men, our interests have grown out way beyond the confines of Hip-Hop.” Bob’ continues, “So it’s a blessing that NPR has invited us to return.” The trailer says the show will be rooted in art, music, politics, and sports. “It’s a crazy journey we’ve taken, from doing a radio show on a radio station in 1990 with a console from the ’60s that had dust balls in it [to NPR podcasts].” The footage shows them in the National Public Radio studios.
As recently as last August, A Tribe Called Quest’s Ali Shaheed Muhammad and journalist Frannie Kelley have hosted NPR’s Microphone Check podcast. Last year, Stretch & Bob’ appeared together on another prominent Hip-Hop podcast, The Combat Jack Show. There, they discussed O.C. being an underrated MC, Nas’ shift between his first and second albums, and the Biggie appearance.