Seattle Weekly: As Boom Bap Project, you, DJ Scene, and Destro have been around Seattle's hip-hop scene for a few years, but your new album, Reprogram, is being released by Rhymesayers Entertainment, the Minneapolis label best known for putting out records by Atmosphere, Brother Ali, and Eyedea & Abilities. How did you hook up with the label?
Karim (Boom Bap Project rapper): I've been a promoter for a long time, and early on, when Boom Bap were touring in, say, 2001–2002, we'd do shows with [Rhymesayers artists] Eyedea and Slug, and got to know those guys. When the album was ready, they stepped to the plate and wanted to put it out.
How do you think the new album differs from the previous ones?
It's much more thought out and put together. The songs are complete. We've grown lyrically; we've grown as men, really. We were pretty young on the first one; now we think we're making more mature music. Overall, the package is a lot tighter than the earlier works; [there's] more of a direction.
Aside from specific local references in the lyrics, what do you consider the most Seattle thing about the album?
I think it represents the new sound of Seattle, especially the producers that we work with, Jake One and Vitamin D, being the sound of Seattle that a lot of people are coming to recognize in the industry and as far as fans go—the sparse beats, the samples, the banging drums, the hard feel. We're in Oldominion, too, and the feel of the album is something new. It's not a gloomy album, like maybe some of the Oldominion stuff we've done.
How close is the finished Reprogram to the way you envisioned it when you were planning it out?
When we started getting the beats for the album, we wanted it to be straight-up hip-hop, similar to the early EPMD stuff, Big Daddy Kane's stuff, early Organized Konfusion, stuff like that. We just wanted it to be a banging hip-hop album. We didn't want to have any underlying messages or be weird or save the world or anything. It's pretty clear that we're die-hard hip-hop heads that grew up in that generation; that's [what] we're trying convey on the album. Like "Wild Out," with Gift of Gab—that's one of the first beats we got from Vitamin, and it's hard to top that. Jake gave me the beat for "Welcome to Seattle"; as soon as I popped that beat, I was with a couple other people and said, "Hey, this sounds like Seattle." I grew up listening to Jimi Hendrix, and the guitar reminded me of some Hendrix shit. It's a perfect song to start the record off with.
Boom Bap Project's CD release party is at the War Room at 9 p.m. Mon., June 20. $5. They also play Chop Suey with I-Self Divine and DJ Jake One at 8 p.m. Tues., June 21. $12 adv. All ages. Talk Talk will appear every week.