Hip Hop Interviews from the Underground: Enter Bo Faat's Hip Hop Mo Gwoon

Published on 28 May 2022 at 17:51


BoFaat was born in Germany in 1970 to a father who was a vinyl collector that had a vast collection that was a big influence on his love for music. Hip Hop was introduced to him on TV and in various pop culture magazines in the early 80s. Before Hip Hop, he was introduced to martial arts, which is still a love of his to this day (along with Hip Hop of course). 

He moved around a lot as a kid due to his parents splitting up at an early age, but at the age of ten, he lived in Wolfsburg in a high rise (a project type situation but without the heavy violent surroundings of the US ). The building has recently been torn down, but that was where he and his siblings grew up (for the most part). Bo Faat didn't move to Hanover until he was a young adult (where he currently resides), the capital of Lower Saxony. 

During the 90s, he was more of an MC. He was in various groups and also a solo artist as the MC, his name was Egocentrik. By 2002, he started to produce and of course, he eventually started to solely produce. But before he became a fixture on the scene, he took a six-year break from music where he lived around Asia (Hong Kong and the Philippines). When he returned, he made beats for himself for a bit before starting to do projects with others and when he did do these projects, they were with some good artists that have since become quite big in the Underground scene;

Kinetic 9 ( Killarmy), Edo G, Hell Razah (Sunz Of Man), Craig G, Cella Dwellaz, Young Zee, Pacewon, Thrust OG (produced full albums for him),  Kenneth Masters, Taiyamo Denku, Swordz of Heaven ( Wu Tang affiliates), G Fam Black, Mo Rukuz, Cool From The Ave, Marz One, Elad Authority, Nuke Smugglaz from South Africa, Cuban Pete from the UK, Tom Stone from Germany, and Chief Reckah from Toronto. 

He says there is a lot more to come, "there's a whole lot more productions coming this year and next year..."

The Interview:

TPT: You have been in Hip Hop for a long time. Talk about how it all started and how you went from MC to a producer. Was it an easy transition? Do you miss being on the mic? What made you make the transition?

BoFaat: Yes, I have been in Hip Hop since the mid-80s. My very first record was a 12-inch of Spoonie Gee´s Godfather of rap. Loved that tune and the driving bassline...but really what brought me into it was breakdance. It was presented as the new hot thing on German TV so everybody and their mama started breakdancing. Mmmh thinking about it, we were always a minority lol...we would go to the disco for kids and wait that the DJ plays the 3to 4 songs you could breakdance to like; Mr. Robot or Rock Steady Crew´s "Hey You". From there I become a rap fan,  like the soundtrack to the movie "Calles Colour" that featured this Ice T track, then Fat Boys and EPMD. Those were my early records. I guess I started rappin' like in the early 90s; I would learn the lyrics from Spoonie G or Ice T and rap them at Hip Hop parties till I started to write my own lyrics. When I was still rappin' I already had a knack for finding samples and I would give them to the producers I worked with. And I started to make my own beats when I still was rhyming so the transition was rather smooth.

TPT: With most of Europe during the 90s jumping on the electronic dance music scene, what made you lean in the direction of Hip Hop? What is it about the genre that you most connect with?

BoFaat: It probably has to do with how I grew up, the place I grew up was something like the so-called "projects" in the USA (but less dangerous). I was surrounded by all high-rise buildings, very urban so the people that lived there were working-class and very mixed cultures, and Hip Hop was for many the best way to express themselves. For myself, I got into it because my friends were into it but obviously I loved the music and the attitude that came along with it.

TPT: In Germany, Boom Bap is more prevalent than in the US (among fans of rap music), but it does seem to be making a comeback. Where do you see Hip Hop as a genre going to in Germany and where do you fit in? Also, where do you see Hip Hop evolving globally and what is the best course of action that needs to be implemented to make sure Boom Bap style rap doesn't fade away?

BoFaat: I'm not sure if boom-bap gonna make a comeback, first of all, it never left, but I get it, boom-bap became smaller and today's youth grew up differently with social media and all that music became very short-lived (it used to be an album every 2 years, now its 2-3 albums in a year). For example, I work as a security in a club and we have a lot of the legends playing concerts here and most of the audience are people between 35-50, there are some young ones there but it's a small minority so I think when the boom-bap generation stops going to concerts because of their age, then we see the problem. The new generation doesn't need boom-bap they have trap and I think trap will evolve further but certainly not to the boom-bap sound. I don't wanna sound too negative 'cause there's still a scene and for some time it will be here. How am I going to fit in all of this? I never really think of that I just do what I do, mostly for the love.

TPT: You have worked with such a wide array of artists, from Hell Razah, Edo G, Recognize Ali, Thrust OG, and countless others in the underground scene. How do you go about working with an artist and what do you find is the main cause for a long-running multi-project relationship? What is the cause for a short-lived working relationship? Are there any artists that you wished you still worked with from a music standpoint?

BoFaat: Obviously there has to be a chemistry and maybe even a friendship evolving out of it. If you look back in the 90s we made music together, meaning we actually were in the same studio. The whole progress from making the beat, writing the lyrics to recording, mixing and mastering we spent time together. Nowadays I send beats around and the MC sends his vocals back. A lot of times it's just that.

But I must say even though we are far apart with kats like Kenneth Masters, Thrust, Chief Reckah or Denku and a few more it's way more than that. We regularly do video chats and talk a lot. Edo G gave me his number and we actually talked about the album production, but a lot of times it's just sending files back and forth.

TPT: Who are some artists that you hope you get a chance to work with and why? What is it that they do that stands out to you and what do you think you bring that can bring about an enticing project that they would want to create?

BoFaat: I like really unusual MCs, like where the flow is unpredictable or the voice is different or the topics are edgy. I'd love to work with Ghostface Killah one day or GZA, they are probably my 2 favorites outta Wu Tang. I'd love to work with Eto from the newer generation but I'm actually happy cos I got a great bunch of dope MCs I work with such as G Fam Black, Mo Rukuz, Mickey Bourbon and Marz One to name a few...there are way more.

TPT: Who are some of your influences and what did they help bring out in your own production? What are some of their techniques that you think changed the beat-making world of Hip Hop?

BoFaat: Definitely DJ Premier, Havoc, and early RZA but also Apollo Brown or J Dilla are my influences.

Premier can use a few sounds and made it sound so huge, the way he set up the drums. Havoc got that grittiness. Listen to "The Start of Your Ending", that beat it's a whole vibe like scary. That's the kinda stuff that infuenced me. In my life listening to music, I was always good at remembering melodies so a lot of my beats contain samples from movies or totally strange music that I heard years back haha...

TPT: What are some of the projects you have done that you are most proud of bringing to life? What makes it standout more to you than the others? Was it because of your respect for an artist or was it because you guys were in sync, or it just magically came together by some unknown force?

BoFaat: Definitely being in sync helps. The albums I produced and got a vinyl releases through a label are certainly some of my proud moments. The album I did with Kenneth Masters called "A Life Less Ordinary" has a special place in my heart...why? Because we worked on this for very long and it finally drops in June 2022 on Chopped Herring Records out of the UK. Now that label mainly releases unknown demos from legends and they got a big following so it's already dope that they, or better yet him because that label is a one man army (shout out to Bob of Chopped Herring), took on our album and released it on their label. To me, that alone is a huge thing considering they usually only drop stuff by really known kats opposed to us who are relatively unknown and Kenneth sounds just right on my beats or my beats sound just right for Kenneth's flow, voice, and cadence..

I got a dope album with legendary Thrust OG out of Toronto, Canada called Broken Arrow which will be released on Black Buffalo Records. We started working about October 2021 and since then we produced 4 albums and workin' at the 5th at the moment. 2 solo albums are done, 2 collabo albums with Denku and another album that already dropped earlier this year called "Like it's 1994".

Speaking of Denku we got 4 albums on vinyl; 2 on HHV Records (Kollab Kong and DenBoWu) and 2 on Black Buffalo Records (Collabzilla and a collabo album with Craig G)... I think me and Denku sitting on like 10 unreleased albums, a lot of them being collabo albums such as with Cella Dwellas, Young Zee, Pacewon just to name a few...

TPT: The cyphers you put together are dope, how do those come about and what is their purpose in your eyes? It appears that you allow those that work with you to be in them, how does one go about getting the privilege of working with you and what makes you choose certain ones over others to be in them? Do you just spread the love and try to give everyone you work with and respect the chance to throw down on one of your cyphers? Do you as a producer go and try to seek out artists you want to work with or do they all just come to you? How does a relationship organically form?

BoFaat: First of all who am I to give others a privilege to work with me ? Its not a privilege. Its just love for the music. I feel like those cypher joints help everybody including myself to build a network.

And it's fun to do, to merge all these different styles. I just simply made an announcement on my Facebook page that I want to do a cypher and then I got loads of MCs wanting to join. A lot of them don't make it though. Not because they are wack or anything just for the reason they didn't come up with a short verse in time becausecos usually I want this done fast. The last cypher joint also is the best one and my bro Chief Recka made a dope video using video footage from the artists.

TPT: What was the biggest challenge for you as a beat creator as well as one having the ability to mix and master, is there a certain aspect that challenges you the most and how do you go about empowering this said "weakness" so to speak? Was there certain types of equipment and/ or plugins that you had to buy to strengthen these "weaknesses", if so what were they?

BoFaat: To mix and master is something I really got into in recent times and I won't call myself an expert for that so if I have to mix and master its gonna be my own music. I did mix and master a few tracks that weren't my productions but this is more a less a rare occasion but when it comes to my sound and my ideas I prefer just to have it mastered by others but not mixed. I had the occasion that I produced an entire album and it was mixed and almost re-produced by another producer it ended up making me feel like its not mine; my ideas but not my sound. So I'm not saying it sounded wack, it sounded dope actually but I felt like that's not me. Like I coulda just gave the sample ideas but hey I'm learning everyday and trying to improve myself. On a technical side, I have a funny way of making a beat. I usually chop the sample on a mpc and save the loop or chops as a wav files and then drag it into a daw (samplitude) where I structure the beat not using the mpc daw for that.

TPT: What key points to your beat making do you think define your style of beat making? Is it a certain effect or underlining technique or flavor to the track you bring that gives it that Bo Faat personality or is it how you go about working with others that personifies you as a producer?

BoFaat: You know when I make a beat I don't think about how I make it sound like a BoFaat beat, I just make it. Obviously I have my own taste, ears, vibe, feeling...I'd say its up to others to describe a BoFaat beat...I couldn't lol

TPT: How do you know when a particular beat is done? What is it that it must have to bring a certainlevel of satisfaction? What is the determinating factor that makes it one you will release to the public for them to buy or one that you will show to some of the artists that you have a working relationship with?

BoFaat: When I feel like if I added one more sound its already too much but I always have the MC as the missing link in the back of my head when producing a beat. I don't like overloaded beats plus after you get the vocals there's a whole lot of work to do. I might take out stuff or add stuff after getting the vocals because they give me new ideas. Sometimes I put a beat aside because I don't get ideas and when I open the session days later I might have new ideas.

TPT: What is your personal aim in Hip Hop? Do you do it for the music or is it for personal gain or both? What makes you most proud of being a part of the this powerful genre of music and what do you feel is it's biggest contribution to the world today? What can Hip Hop hang it's hat on for bringing to the world, change that it has brought for the better?

BoFaat: I definitely do it for the love and passion. This Hip Hop culture became part of my life. Obviously if I could do this for a living without having to bend myself or my style of music; I'd go for it. I feel like I archived a good reputation though within the underground Hip Hop world, also funny I'm probably more known in the US than in Germany. Boom Bap is very individual and has many styles so it definitely brings diversity to the world of music a lot of exciting stories and interesting characters.

TPT: Trap has mostly seemed to take over the mainstream of this genre, why do you think that is? Do you feel it is a part of the Hip Hop culture or is it a movement all on it's own? Maybe there was a transition during it's rise that brought a separation or a linking to the culture?

BoFaat: I really didn't look at trap or watched it evolving I would call it a style of music but not consider it Hip Hop really but maybe I'm missing something. It's not my thing but it also doesn't bother me at all. Music is music and if it helps you to express yourself or give you a good time who am I to judge it. I feel like boom bap has more depths to it and individuality plus heart and soul so even if its just a small genre in the music world it's here to stay kinda like traditional martial arts (his other love).


Facebook: Bo Faat's page

Twitter: BoFaat (@BoFaat) / Twitter

Bandcamp (for Projects): Music | BoFaatBeatz (bandcamp.com)

Bandcamp (for beats to buy): Music | BoFaat Beats4Sale (bandcamp.com)

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