Hip-hop is foundational for so much music and art in the United States, especially contemporary electronic music. The United Kingdom’s contributions by way of Jamaica, or the tempos coming from houses in Chicago, any of the multitude of influences, all have their impact. The layering, rupture, and flow that define hip-hop music are thick clay, foundational motifs, for contemporary bass and glitch hop music.
According to George Nelson in Hip Hop America, hip-hop isn’t a style of music at all. “Hip-hop is used to refer to culture, language, and behavior….while rap is the musical form that emerged from this culture.” Especially here in New York City where hip-hop is as thick in the air as the smell of garbage, it’s as much a state of mind as a style of music. At least that’s how it began. “Hip-hop emerged as a source of alternative identity formation and social status for youth in a community whose older local support institutions had been all but demolished along with large sections of its [South Bronx] built environment,” author Tricia Rose wrote back in 1994. As much as the music, there’s the mentality.
There’s a universal, elemental feeling. Kick and snare thump the same speed as your footfall. The bass is swinging and its got you swinging, too. You’re stomping down broadway ten feet tall because you’ve got the fattest beat in your headphones (or boombox). You’ve got the juice.
Picture that feeling, but instead of broadway you’re high-stepping through candlelit caverns in the Himalayas, aligned as hell, scoping out monks who may or may not be trying to get over on you. In the back corner of the cave Gaddy is spinning fat breaks, old vinyl and Houston Texas hip-hop. Heavy bass and dangling synth chords start rocking the cave, with fresh samples ringing out. You’re getting into the groove with Gaddy, whose next release Mixtape Mentality, drops Tuesday, August 7th right here on The Rust Music. Today, we’ve got a promo mix that highlights some of his favorites off the release as well as some older Gaddy cuts with some choice Hip-Hop peppered in.
Coming out of east side Austin, Texas, Gaddy drops the funky and furious styles from hip hop’s past into the computerized bass music of the future. Sometimes referred to as the Food Truck Fugitive, Gaddy runs among the talented underground electronic circuit that calls Austin home, including the Create Culture crew. He can rock a crowd with a mixture of performance styles. With a couple crates of vinyl he performs frequently in Austin, dropping the needle on some soul, hip hop, oldies, g-funk, electronic. When Gaddy fires up the software, he’ll play all original bass music.
As a youth growing up in Houston Gaddy learned the guitar well, idolized Buckethead, and put out an album at 18 years old on which he played every instrument. He was also raised into hip-hop, basically “force-fed chopped and screwed music” as he puts it, either from fake thugs in high school art class or from cars bumping on the streets of Houston. After stumbling onto electronic music he, like many, was floored by its forceful presentation. “This is power right here,” he said during a Road to Damascus moment in front of the speaker stacks. “To be able to just rip through a sound system, that led me to put down all that stuff,” Gaddy told me. “I don’t even own a guitar anymore.”
Gaddy’s approach to bass music reflects this crate-digging ethos and cut heavy performance style. Thick programmed drums pound out fundamental drum breaks while low-slung, funked-down basslines tip-toe and slide along. He cuts and assembles samples to make melodies and collages of color. He’ll wade deep into warped worlds of sound synthesis but the beat always leads you back to hip-hop. Indeed, both styles collide constantly in his compositions like some urban electric shamanism.
“Hip-hop’s the first electronic music, to me, really. It’s just a kick and snare and some dope-ass bass.” It’s hard to argue against hip hop’s influence on contemporary electronic music, especially after listening to music from Gaddy and his contemporaries. “I feel like hip-hop is the soul, and the roots, and the blues of electronic music,” he says. “Call me crazy, and I know techno and house are in their own field. I’m talking about our little sliver of bass music.” Gaddy may be crazy, but not for this statement.
Somewhere between an album and an EP, Mixtape Mentality boasts seven tracks, one of which was premiered last week courtesy of Aquatic Collective, and another of which drops tomorrow via euphoric.Net. One can also get into the mixtape mentality by bumping this tremendous mix Gaddy put together for The Rust Music that includes material made around the same time as Mixtape Mentality plus a few choice vinyl selections. It highlights Gaddy’s raw, stylish approach; rugged but full of the juice. Mixtape Mentality will offer the same sound and vibe, only refined. It’s pure juice concentrate if you will, so stay chooned.
Pre-order Mixtape Mentality here to receive the full album mix ahead of release.
Tela - Survival (Gaddy Instrumental Bootleg)
Gaddy - Jumbalaya Juggernaut
Gaddy - Elastic
Gaddy - Sway (Edit)
Gaddy - Twisted
Gaddy - Delirious
Gaddy - Style From The Boondocks
Gaddy - The Nod
Mad CJ Mac - True Game / Ras Kass - Order out Of Chaos (Interlude Mashup)
South Circle - Attitudes (Instrumental)
Gaddy - Approbation
Gaddy - Golden
Gaddy - H.E.R.