A Brooklyn-based alternative hip hop duo is making waves in the music industry while giving back to their community in Bed-Stuy.
Hippie Tribe is made up of dp.thuH and blond.bomber. With dp.thuH originally from Toledo, Ohio, and blond.bomber from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, the two met while they were in college at Fordham University, when dp.thuH was a senior and blond.bomber was a freshman on the football team.
“It was as organic as anything could happen. We were friends first, all of our friends were into music. You’re in college, so you’re finding people who are into your kind of music sense, who stay up as late as you, party as hard,” recalled blond.bomber.
Both guys had backgrounds in music, with dp.thuH taking up drums as a kid while blond.bomber was classically trained on piano from the time he was 8 years old. The two would hang out with friends and freestyle together.
“It got to a certain point they were like,’ We want to hear [dp.thuH] freestyle or we want to hear [bold.bomber] freestyle. And after a while that turned into, you guys should make music, and we just kinda looked at each other and was like, uhh, we want to be musicians now?” said blond.bomber.
Both guys were on different paths at the time, with blond.bomber pursuing a pre-med degree and dp.thuH pursuing a finance degree, but the two ultimately linked up and began to study music and record together after being inspired by a then-recent release of a Lana Del Rey album.
“[dp.thuH] sent me a sample of a song and said what if we sample this as our first beat?” said blond.bomber. “We put that up on SoundCloud and it went viral in 2-3 days, it got around 100K in 2 days.”
Dropping “Gullah Punk: mod 1”
Hippie Tribe recently dropped their EP “Gullah Punk: mod 1.” The EP is the first in a series of EPs that are set to drop throughout the next year.
This first EP features punk-rap/Afro-Cubano fused anthems “Billie Dream” and “S A N T A N A.” It was released under their own record label, OTOLO Records, and is the first capsule of an expansive project that includes film shorts and a music festival.
“It’s certainly the most experimental/left of hip hop project that we’ve dropped thus far. We wanted to rip the bandaid off for our fans and want to ease into it,” said dp.thuH. “The album is more hybrid, very alternation. We wanted people to know that this is how we’re coming from now on. The instruments on it are very raw, the vocals are very raw and top of range stuff. We’re doing a lot of different things.”
“Gullah Punk: mod 1” was recorded and mastered in the summer of 2021. Both dp.thuH and blond.bomber agree that the new EP’s sounds will pair up perfectly with the subsequent “Gullah Punk” drops, as well as the visuals and short films that they are releasing in tandem with the music. This will lead up to a feature film being released sometime in 2022.
Through their label OTOLO Records, blond.bomber and dp.thuH are able to fully have control over their sound and release schedule, allowing them to fine-tune each and every project they create to the way that it sounds in their heads.
“Because everything is very organic and we produce everything, it adds to the ability to make songs. We’re building our songs as we make our beats, everything feels customized,” said dp.thuH. “Our whole thing is just us, not that we’re against collaborating or working with other people, we completely understand what it is we are doing. It’s been four and a half years now. It helps us make the dopest decisions. We love doing it ourselves and making something from nothing.”
dp.thuH and blond.bomber hope that those who listen can hear all the layers that are in “Gullah Punk: mod 1” that came from both of their years of playing music.
“[blond.bomber] knows theory, my ear is pretty wild. I’ve had these sounds in my head for years but now that [blond.bomber] is showing me theory, he shows me how it works and why what I’m hearing can be unorthodox but now someone can explain the intricacies, decipher the specific sounds I want to head and evoke it with a chord,” said dp.thuH. “That between us is rare, we’re the best out there doing this.”
“And we want our music to reflect that, how we’re saying we think this music feels great, but if Hans Zimmer heard it, we could discuss the theory of it,” said blond.bomber. “I think it’s very special what we’ve got.”
In terms of what lies ahead for Hippie Tribe, the duo says you can expect more modules of “Gullah Punk” to drop throughout the year, plus the anticipated film adaptation next year.
“We’re excited about these records and the music we’re making right now,” said dp.thuH. “We’re going to drop the album of the year next year, it sounds crazy because we’re virtually unknown, but it’s that.”
“When we want to be able to discuss it with other musicians, we want to ask, what is your album of the year and why? Are you hearing what we’re doing? Do you understand the gravity of what we are doing?” said blond.bomber.
“It’s objectively good music. Subjectively, if it’s strictly opinion, it’s going to be hard for people to argue that we didn’t drop the album of the year. Right now we’re virtually unknown but we don’t see that being the case for much longer,” said dp.thuH.
The group also plans to host several events in Bed-Stuy throughout the rest of 2021 in an effort to support the community they live in — the pair recently hosted Von King Woodstock, a festival that took place at the Almira Kennedy Coursey Amphitheatre to raise money to put back into the community.
“We are trying to inspire our community to go and do things in our community. You don’t have to wait for Governors Ball or Coachella out in California, we can do it right here. Why wait for anything like that when we can do it ourselves and keep the money in the community?” said dp.thuH. “We’re taking 100% of proceeds and putting it towards three different programs to help NYC youth and families. One is a back to school bookbag drive, another program is a breakfast program — we’re also going to host breakfast for about 10 weeks every Friday — and the third thing is a winter coat and sock drive.”
The two hope to continue to create a lasting impact on the Bed-Stuy community through fundraising events not only to give back to the community itself, but to inspire those young and old.
“If 50 people show up for an event, that’s incredible for your community. Let’s just start doing things. We want to inspire the youth as well, and show them that people care about this community. You don’t have to fantasize about kids doing all this cool stuff, New York City is the melting pot, the mecca, and Brooklyn has been very special and inspiring,” said dp.thuH. “I’ve lived in a lot of places where people didn’t look like me. When I’m here, it’s like a family reunion. It feels like where you can really thrive. I want to change the mindset in youth that we can build something right here with our own people. There’s a lot of talent and untapped potential, people who want to help but need a little bit of help or inspiration.”
You can follow Hippie Tribe on Instagram @hippiextribe.