To many, the term “hippie” is often associated with counterculture, drug-induced dreamers. Sure, they may have the right societal ideals, but they are often followed by eccentric and unconventional behavior with abstract resolutions instead of anything concrete. Others turn the hippie persona into an identity, becoming a caricature that further discredits a way of life that has many valid ideologies.
As the Hippie persona loses credibility within contemporary culture, up-and-coming duo, dp.thuH and blond.bomber, are looking to revive what it means to be against the grain. Collectively, the Pittsburgh (blond) and Toledo (dp) bred artists are recognized as Hippie Tribe. A fitting name as their blend of rock & roll, hip hop, alternative music along with their live instrumentation and overall mix of musical elements create a magnetic sound that sways further away from popular contemporaries with each listen.
Now, different does not always mean better. Yet, their organic approach to their sound is a direct result of the duo’s realization that some spaces aren’t meant for them and that their niche isn’t one, but rather an encapsulation of their influences. They don’t occupy a sub-genre of hip hop, or Rock or R&B, they are those genres and whatever else they choose to become.
Operating out of Brooklyn, the dup feels as though they have the world at their fingertips, seeming very confident about what they bring to the table. The duo answered some questions for NYS Music.
NYS Music: What part of Brooklyn are you guys from?
dp.thuH: We stay out in Bedstuy. We aren’t originally from BK. I’m from Toledo, Ohio and Niko’s [blond.bomber] from Pittsburgh.
NYS Music: How did you guys come together?
blond.bomber: We’ve been making music together for about five years now. We met playing ball in college. We spent a lot of time before we decided to make music just talking about it. Freestyling at parties, chatting on why certain albums were better than others. It all happened real organic like.
NYS Music: Your music is very diverse and does not confine itself to any genre. How much do you feel if (any) did your environment play a part in that?
dp.thuH: It played a huge role. And it still does. Growing up in gospel choirs naturally shaped our eclectic ears. You can hear hella genres in gospel music – blues, jazz, funk, rock. Once I got my own headphones and smart phones came around, it was over. So our music is a reflection of the sounds we’ve been hearing our whole lives.
blond.bomber: And playing instruments and producing all of our music gives us an advantage too, we can really manipulate and shape our music so that it’s super palatable to the average listener. But still unique too.
NYS Music: Your LP on Apple Music is labeled as “Alternative Rap” but what would you guys label your style as?
dp.thuH: Honestly, I don’t really know. It fluctuates so much. Hip-Pop&B? Alternative Punk Rap? It’s just different for real. In the best ways, like it’s uniquely refreshing.
NYS Music: You call yourselves “Hippie Tribe,” is that because you guys see yourselves as musical outcasts? Or different from the norm? Even your individual names (dp.thuH & blond.bomber)
dp.thuH: I guess so, we definitely go against the grain with our shit. But I think I felt like an outcast my whole life. And it took me some time to accept it too but I realized I was moving further from my purpose the more I tried to integrate myself into places that were never meant for me. Truthfully, it’s not on purpose. I think we’re different because unfortunately, a lot of this world is made up of bullshitters and people looking for photo ops. People who like to hear themselves talk and say things just to say they said them later. We’re not just being different because it’s the cool thing to do. We got chosen for this shit – that’s why we’re different. And that’s why we take it dead ass serious. It’s our job to push the art further, really push boundaries.
blond.bomber: This is just how our brains work. And it’s beyond the music like Dee said, we’re mad unorthodox without trying. We speak in cursive and dream abstract. I don’t claim to be cool or none of that shit and I don’t try to be. I just know God loves me and my shorties love me and I try to treat every breath like it’s my last. We’re here to leave a legacy and you can’t do that tryna fit in. our homies say it all the time, we’ve just always been different.
NYS Music: Describe your songwriting process.
dp.thuH: I think I’m like 70/30 when it comes to freestyling versus writing so it doesn’t take us long to make records once we have production, or vice-versa. It isn’t hard to produce once we have lyrics or a melody. We feel like we’re vessels so producing records top to bottom comes naturally. And there’s no ego in this so if one of us is like, ‘yo, I feel like you should change the flow here’ or ‘I think we should find a stronger way to say this bar,’ the other is all ears. It’s all about putting the best product together possible.
NYS Music: Why only 2 songs for Gullah Punk: mod 1?
blond.bomber: Gullah Punk: mod 1, is the first of several capsules we’ll be dropping. We’ve always been pretty eclectic with our sound but over the past couple of years, we’ve been really focused on creating dynamics within minimalistic production. We love to rap and we love to rage so rock and hip-hop tethered naturally. This two-pack is littered with those little moments of perfectly balanced raw emotion, vulnerability and disorderliness. These capsules will be both auditory and visual too, we’re releasing a series of film shorts leading up to a short film. We pitched our film to a few directors and now we’re blessed to have a whole ass incredible production company behind us believing in our vision and mission. Along with the drops, we also put together a few community events in Bed-stuy. So this music project has sort of turned into a living, breathing movement.
dp.thuH: The goal for this particular project rollout and accompanying events is two-fold; We love music and the arts so if our presence and efforts allow kids to discover a new passion or encourage others in the community to pursue theirs, perfect. The second piece is probably most important for us… we want to ignite a new mindset in our people that together, we have the tools necessary to rewrite our fate. The philosophy is simple – “Kill your demons”. But in order for us to get that done, we got to shine a light into the dark.”
NYS Music: Do you guys consider yourselves abstract artists?
dp.thuH: To us, we’re just doing our thing. I kinda feel like we’re Queen when they first wanted to drop “Bohemian Rhapsody.” They’re banging coffee mugs against chandeliers and shit, singing until their voices can’t crack any more. And all that “abstract” stuff was just their process. It’s exactly the only way they knew how to get out whatever it was they were hearing in their heads. So I don’t know if we’re abstract artists. I don’t know if that’s something we can even say because it looks like 1+1 to us.
NYS Music: Is there any particular artist that influenced you guys’ sound?
blond.bomber: Particularly, no. And that’s not to say that we don’t have influences – it’s actually the opposite. We get influenced everyday by everything. You could be sitting at the park and words come to you or, with your homies or, having sex or, dreaming. We just let things flow as organically as possible. So, sometimes Dee will have a beat that inspires me or someone will come in with some bars they came up with on the random. We really just let the universe decide.
dp.thuH: Yea it’s hard to name particular artists because it’s such a fusion of hella sounds. But lately we’ve been listening to a lot of N.E.R.D, Nirvana, Yves Tumor, and Willow…
blond.bomber: Haley Williams.
dp.thuH: Yup. We’ve been getting some gnarly sounds out of it.
NYS Music: What are your goals in the music industry?
dp.thuH: Because we’re super-producers, we’ll be a powerhouse label soon, with some of the dopest artists under our wing, all while producing and writing songs for the biggest acts in the world. We’re going to have a full-blown production and multimedia company soon too. We’re already writing, directing and scoring our own visual projects so, we feel confident that with the right infrastructure, we’re going to make some serious noise before people can even blink. And we’re going to debunk the whole notion of celebrity. Because, we’re giving it all back to the streets. We’re about to revamp Bedstuy to be the hub for the best art, regardless of medium, in New York. Studios on every block, random installations on the sidewalks and in parks, immersive programs. We’re about to turn it all up.