Big salute to DJ Illegal and the Snowgoons squad for the time.
Hey guys – happy New Year. Everything going well in 2017 so far?
Hi, yeah it is looking great. We are still working hard to promote the new album.
Right – you finished out 2016 strong with the release of Goon Bap – can you speak on that project a bit?
Goon Bap is the all new Snowgoons album and it is a homage to the 90’s era in Hip Hop. We tried to gather a lot of our favorite artists from the 90’s for this project. Also the artwork represents all the elements of Hip Hop and was done by Dan Lish from the UK.
Clearly a play on Boom Bap, but can you tell us a little bit about why its called Goon Bap?
When we had the idea for the Song Goon Bap we played around with the Boom Bap words because the beat had this typical Boom Bap feeling. Sicknature wanted to use something in the hook with Boom Bap and we came from Boom Bap Goons to Goon Bap which sounds similar to Boom Bap. We created the right word for our music. We do Boom Bap but in the Goon way so its Goon Bap.
Can you speak on the features?
We tried to get artists we haven’t worked before from the 90’s but also new names and newcomers. I think the line up speaks for it self.
Favorites joints on the project?
Really hard to say. This album is so massive and has a lot of dope songs I really love. But lets say Goon Bap and Problems are on the top of my list.
For those who might not be familiar with your body of work, can you give a little history lesson on the Snowgoons?
To keep it short me and Det Gunner founded the Snowgoons in the early 2000’s. It took us like 5 years to get the first album German Lugers together and it dropped in 2007. The second album Black Snow from 2008 already featured Sicknature & J.S. Kuster who became part of the team soon after. A couple of albums later we released the collabo album Sparta with M.O.P. and in 2014 the WakeDaFucUp album with Onyx. We also founded our own Label called Goon MuSick as an independent plattform to release our own music. There is another collective thats under the Snowgoons Family Umbrella called the Snowgoons DJs who consist of DJ Crypt, DJ XRated, DJ Danetic, DJ Sixkay and myself Illegal.
Why are you called the Snowgoons?
We always liked the dark and hard beats. Those ice cold boom bap bangers. The snow stands for the cold and hard winter. The Goons thats just us a bunch of wild Hip Hop Fans.
The Snowgoons brand is strong in Hip Hop, particularly with Boom Bap. Can you speak on how you’ve positioned yourselves so well?
Consistency We love what we do and we do it with the heart. We have always done this and nothing else. I think people can hear we are original and coming from the true School. We don’t follow trends like the Trap or Electro sound just because it is popular. Plus we are def not lazy i mean our output is very strong because we work hard.
And you’ve had your own label since 2011?
We founded Goon MuSick around 2011 but the very first official release was from 2012 with DJ Q-Fingaz a good friend of us. It is good to be in control of your own music and we can just do whatever we want.
How have you been able to network with some of the U.S. best MC’s?
The first contacts came through my job as a tour manager and i could build with artists on the road that otherwise we would have never reached. Once we had the German Lugers album out it was easier to get in touch with people and now more and more artists know who we are.
You’ve done a lot of really great collaboration projects with MCs like Reef The Lost Cause and MOP. Can you speak on those and some of your others?
Our brother Reef goes back with us since the first album. There is no Snowgoons album without him. He was also the first rapper we did a whole album together with. It is a bit different to work with only one or few artists instead of doing a Snowgoons album. We also dropped a project called Goondox which consists of Sean Strange, PMD of EPMD and us as well as the album with Aspects from Canada called Grind Over Matter. I think our biggest success was the Onyx – WakeDaFucUp album from 2014. For 2017 we planing some new projects as well.
What do you like about doing full collaboration projects? A lot of times you only get collaborative tracks from producer outfits.
It is a totally different workflow to work with only 1 artist or group. I personally like the balance to do both. A Snowgoons album with 50 artists or a solo project.
Now on the one-off collaborations, what are some of your favorite collabo joints from your catalog – on a Snowgoons record, or an artists record?
Definitely Sean Price R.I.P. and also Viro The Virus R.I.P. it is crazy that both are gone.
Who are some of your favorite MCs to work with?
Most likely Reef The Lost Cauze but there are a lot of artists always coming with some heat like Sean Strange or Ill Bill.
What’s a Snowgoons recording session usually like?
We are rarely recoding the vocals anymore. We are straight focused on the beats and get most of the vocal recordings done in other studios or just sent over the internet.
So what is the creative process like with a crew like yours? Is it just organic, people come up with stuff, others finish it and contribute. Is it hard to manage creatively?
Thats pretty much it. We also work separately on beats and instrumentals, but sending stuff to each other and working together on it. Or we just send each other samples and then go from there.
Your known for your dramatic samples…Are you out there digging in the crates, or have you moved more into the digital sampling realm?
Ultimately we use whatever we get or sounds good. It could be also straight from the TV or a DVD.
Do you create your own samples?
Not really but J.S. Kuster for instance is a pretty dope keyboard player so he can add all type of sounds and melodies to the samples.
I often talk to people here about how there is more respect for Hip Hop in Europe. Flip flopping that, what is your view of U.S. Hip Hop more broadly right now?
I visit the states very often and I noticed all music over there buzzing is based on whats on the radio. And you already know how the radio sounds. They play that commercial music that many people confuse with Hip Hop. People follow trends and the radio is creating the trend.
What is your view of the Hip Hop scene in Europe? I feel like some countries are stronger in certain elements, like graffiti, and all of the regional cultures have found their own niche…
Thats true. In every country the Hip Hop scene is growing and artists get more and more respect from their own people. At the moment, I feel like the east block with Poland, Hungary and many others are coming strong right now. Germany is the biggest market in Europe and the 3rd biggest Hip Hop market in the world.
Can you speak from the perspective of the EU Hip Hop community and how people are feeling about what is happening in the U.S. politically right now?
I try to stay out of politics, but yeah we can’t ignore the fact that a racist, sexist big headed business man is the new leader of America. We all know he is just another puppet in the game. But still, it speaks for it self.
Germany has important elections coming up too, how is the mood in the country?
I think like everywhere people are afraid and not happy with the political situation. I hope it will turn out good but for all I can say is we will not accept any right wing groups. The German history showed us already what could happen and as long as me and my brothers are alive we will fight against the system.
Hip Hop has always been close to politics and social commentary. Do you try to touch on this in your music, or is music more of a way to escape those realities?
Both, I wouldn’t say Snowgoons music is political or even conscious Hip Hop, but we do have an opinion and sometimes you can hear it. Our project with N.B.S. from Boston called Trapped In America is going that way. We can’t ignore everything that’s going on, and rap has always been a strong voice of reflecting that.
What’s up next for you guys?
At the moment we still promoting the Goon Bap album and about to drop some new videos.
But we are also working on three new projects but we cant really talk about that already. Not sure if something will come before the summer but like always stay up to date on our social media channels like Facebook, Instagram or YouTube.
Peace and Respect