After an encounter at Def Jam records, Adrian Bartos aka DJ Stretch Armstrong and Bobbito Garcia teamed up to create what has become known as one of the best hip hop shows of all time. Creating a network independent from the record labels, The Stretch Armstrong and Bobbito Show was unstructured and most importantly uncensored. Considered as the last stop on the road to becoming a legitimate MC, this radio show introduced some of the biggest names in hip hop, including unsigned artists and rappers Nas, Biggie Smalls, Wu-Tang Clan, Fat Joe and Eminem, and is responsible for producing one of the most listened to live recordings featuring Big L and Jay Z (available on iTunes).
The documentary traces the evolution of underground hip hop and its place on the college radio graveyard shift in the late 80s/early 90s, to its commercial success in the early 2000s. Before the introduction of YouTube and MySpace, or even more broadly the internet, college radio connected aspiring artists and rappers with the American youth, and fuelled the distribution of recorded tapes. Discussing issues of misogyny in the hip hop culture, as well as the changing aesthetics and dynamics between Stretch and Bobbito, which eventually led to the end of the show, the documentary sheds insight on some of the pressures and differences of opinions circulating at that time.
The admiration is apparent: Stretch and others like him are “preserving a nearly extinct piece of American culture” (Redman). The Stretch and Bobbito Show opened the door for the next generation of hip hop, and their legacy will now be made known to those outside of this collective consciousness. Featuring candid interviews with rappers Nas, Fat Joe, DMX, Busta Rhymes and many more, the documentary presents itself as a conversation between friends and colleagues. With fresh interviews led by Stretch and Bobbito intercut with previous interviews, raw studio footage, freestyles, demo battles and unreleased material, audiences are taken on a chaotic rollercoaster of music and visual innovation.
Stretch and Bobbito: Radio That Changed Lives was an education. I felt as though I gained privileged access to the history and experiences of this community brought together by American Hip Hop culture. The style of the documentary is dynamic and fresh, contributing to what I can honestly say is one of the most chilled out viewing experiences I’ve had a in a while.
Dir: Bobbito Garcia
Featuring: Common, Rosario Dawson, DMX, Marc Ecko, DJ Premier, Eminem, Jay Z + more
Prd: Omar Acosta, Bobbito Garcia, Adrian Bartos, David Kennedy
DOP: Omar Acosta, Mariah Rehmet
Music: Christopher Cancelliere, Margarita Sullivan
Runtime: 95 mins
Stretch and Bobbito: Radio That Changed Lives will make its DVD debut as an HMV exclusive on 14th October 2016, and general release and digital download on 24th October 2016.