When amNewYork caught up with Shredders, the hip-hop group comprised of four-sevenths of Minneapolis rap collective Doomtree, spirits were high from a miraculous moment in the Vikings’ playoff run, which would soon be cut short.
That kind of upbeat energy is pervasive on the group’s first album, “Dangerous Jumps,” which features rhymes from Sims and P. O. S and beats by Lazerbeak and Paper Tiger. After a run of serious solo records and a darker full-length album from the entire Doomtree crew, Shredders sounds like four talented musicians letting off a ton of steam.
This record seems a lot lighter than, say, the last Doomtree crew record.
Sims: We had been talking for years about doing a project together, and then we [Sims and P. O. S] put out really cathartic records, [Paper Tiger] put out a record, and Beak has been executive producing every project and working on various stuff. The timing just lined up perfectly.
P. O. S: I think that was kind of the point. Sims made a big, heavy, personal record, I made a big, heavy personal record. I think it was Beak who said let’s just smash out some [songs].
Lazerbeak: We wanted really high energy, fast BPM. The last Doomtree record was really slow BPM, kind of brooding, and all the songs were really long because you’ve got five voices to get on. And with two voices, we thought we could make some songs that were 1:45. So let’s try that.
You’ve each got your solo records, the crew records, and then collaborations like this one. How do you divvy up the time — and how do you know the right destination for a beat or a verse?
Paper Tiger: If I’m working on something brand-new, I don’t know yet if it’ll be a Shredders thing or a solo thing. The sound will dictate where it will go.
Lazerbeak: With this one it was cool because we didn’t have any beats and that was super intentional. It wasn’t, “Let’s go to the vaults and you guys pick which ones you want.” It was, “we’re making this specifically for this project. And it’s gotta be really fast.”
This year is the ten-year anniversary of the first full-length Doomtree crew record. If you had been told in 2008 that you’d be here today —
Lazerbeak: I don’t think when we made that crew record, we had any expectations of anything, outside of making a compilation.
Sims: I’m beyond stoked that this is still a piece of my life. I didn’t see myself not doing it. I’ll be the last one on stage, 75 years old.
P. O. S: When we started there was a ton of us — way more than the seven of us we have now. And same as Sims — I just assumed that this thing is a thing until I’m dead at least.
Lazerbeak: I never thought of it not being a thing, because I was living so much in the moment. I never would have thought, “10 years from now, we’ll be doing this.”
Sims: When we made the CDs, I started doing the math and my 21-year old brain was like, “if we sell a thousand CDs, we’re like set for life. We’ll have eight thousand dollars!”
If you go: Shredders perform on February 10 at 8:25 p.m. at Knitting Factory, 361 Metropolitan Ave., Williamsburg, bk.knittingfactory.com, $20.