Applebum is the newest addition to HiFi’s regular roster of nights. It is a multi dimensional brand that operates in several cities, celebrating everything about hip-hop and R&B culture – its people, its fashion and its music. We spoke to Jordan Hallpike about what we can expect from their events, the first of which is tomorrow (Saturday 24th September 2016).
Could you give us a brief introduction to Applebum. How did it begin? What do you do? And where does the name come from?
Applebum is a celebration of Hip Hop and RnB culture. Created by Stephen Guy (our master art director) Nicola Hedden, and myself. We’ve been friends for years and have done a lot of partying together, mainly at House and Techno raves. It was only after a few years of knowing each other that we realised that we all also had a huge passion for Hip Hop and RnB and it turned out that lots of our rave friends did too. We decided that we should create a friendly party where our mates could come together and let loose to the hip hop and RnB that reminded them of their youths. We say “rediscover, relive, reimagine”…and that’s how it started. The name Applebum comes from a track by our favourite Hip Hop group, the infamous “A Tribe Called Quest” called “Bonita Applebum”. It’s one of those tracks that we would always put of at after parties, just great vibes that would always connect with people from all backgrounds, with incredibly playful and clever lyrics that we would recite all the way through to each other from start to finish. It was then, reciting the line “bonita Applebum, you gotta put me on” that we decided that this should be the name of our Hip Hop Party!
What was your introduction to hip-hop and R&B?
I grew up on Soul, Funk and Jazz as a child. My dad always had this playing in my family home I was hugely influenced by what he had playing. When I first started listening to hip hop I could hear a lot of those influences in my favourite artists like J Dilla, Gang Starr, Big L, Erykah Badu, Lauryn Hill and Slum Village. These are still some of my favourite artists today and are still hugely influential in a lot of the new music we love too.
Your focus seems to be on figures and fashions from Stateside. Why is this? What do you think of hip-hop (and grime) emerging from the UK?
I wouldn’t say our focus is on this. We love and celebrate Hip Hop as a culture from all over the world. We champion a lot of UK Hip Hop with artists like The Age of LUNA, Hawk House, Eva Lazarus, Loyle Carner and loads of other exciting young UK artists. For us the culture of Hip Hop isn’t defined by where you’re from.
What is it about hip-hop culture that you want to celebrate? Why do you think it is significant that we remember it? Do you feel that its spirit is fading a bit? In what ways do you see it to be still alive?
We celebrate the creativity, individuality and conscious messages that hip hop can deliver. From the moment hip hop was born the culture was expressing itself in so many ways, through the way DJs played the music (on turntables playing old disco tunes before the breakdown and beat juggling so MCs could rhyme over the top) to the way people dressed, the art form on the streets, the messages through poetry. The culture then was about so much more than just the music, and for us that still hasn’t changed.
Do you see yourselves operating in the context of Black Lives Matter?
This needs a separate interview entirely let’s concentrate on the music in this one and get political at a later date ;-).
After David Bowie died, a video surfaced with him talking about how hip-hop was the most important musical form, if not art form, of the time. Do you feel it takes his level of genius for people to really understand the genre’s significance? Do you think it is a misunderstood genre?
I think your right, its not just important that someone of his status and genius sees hip hop as such an important art for but the fact that he is perhaps seen as from “outside” of the culture but still see’s how much it has effected popular culture. And its not just the music, fashion, art, film and politics have all been hugely effected by hip hop and still do today.
If you could pick an all time favourite hip-hop album, what would it be?
It’s really hard to pick just one, but I think my favourite all time Hip Hop album is Common – Resurrection (1994). Common is one of my favourite MC, I love his flow, the tone of his voice and his content is always on point. My most listened to album is probably A Tribe Called Quest – Midnight Marauders (1993). I think I know pretty much every track word for word. In fact myself and fellow co-founder and resident DJ Little Price often go head to head on “Electric Relaxation” He takes the Q-tip lines, I take the Phife Dawg lines. We kill it at every 7am after party (or we think we do). I know you only asked for one album, but my favourite album of the year is Anderson Paak – Malibu. As a body of work I think it pretty much sums up an Applebum vibe perfectly. The blend of funk, soul, RnB and Hip Hop is in perfect measure. He’s like a young James Brown, who is pretty much the godfather of Hip Hop in my eyes.
Tell us about your previous parties and why you are expanding to Leeds. How have you turned the brand into a nationwide and international event?
Our parties are just such a good vibe. We don’t take ourselves too seriously we have no problem in playing Gang Starr followed by Beyonce, Big L followed by T-Pain. It’s a vibe that has served us really well in London and Bournemouth. We’ve also had some amazing opportunities this summer to throw parties in Ibiza, Croatia and host a load of festival tents and stages across the country. We’ve found that the vibe we bring can quite easily fit alongside pretty much any sound at any festival. We recently hosted a stage at Made festival which is mainly house, bass and techno…but we had our area rammed all day, it just felt like a nice place to hang out between the big house headliners.
What can we expect from your club night?
Expect an action packed journey through our favourites sounds from a culture that we love so much. Incredible DJs playing everything from late 70s Hip Hop classics through to the most exciting sounds of today, stopping off at all our favourite moments from the last 40 years of Hip Hop and R&B. We’ll also be showcasing some of our favourite home grown live Hip Hop talent on the night. Watch out for Cul De Sac, they have a bright future ahead of them and will be playing at a number of show across the country for us. We have been looking forward to bringing our vibe to Leeds for a very long time so can’t wait to kick off our monthly residency in style!