Hip-hop that knows its history
MC Runt and DJ Deeko feel like they’re a dying breed in hip-hop.
James Owens (aka MC Runt) and older brother Jason (aka DJ Deeko) started as unknowns in 2000, handing out thousands of homemade CDs to passersby. Now their hip-hop outfit, Jivin’ Scientists, is an established fixture of the Tucson music scene. “We make very touchy-feely hip-hop,” James says. “I think the genre is becoming less personal, to where now people make a few songs, get a few plays on their MySpace, and then think they can start playing shows, without really recognizing what it takes.”
For the Owens brothers, making a name for themselves required an understanding of where hip-hop came from and an awareness of the days when funk samples were as common as today’s vocoder trend. “You need to be experiencing the full culture,” Jason says. “A lot of MCs don’t go out and support b-boys, graffiti writers and DJs, but then they get mad at those guys for not coming to see them. Why should they support you if you’re not doing the same for them?”
Their strong foundation came in handy—they hit the ground running. Both brothers grew up in Gallup, N.M., and each eventually moved to Tucson, Ariz. After piecing together their first album, Good For Nuthing, the boys opened for Atmosphere at one of Jivin’ Scientists first shows in Arizona. “All I ever wanted to do, when we started this whole thing, was open for a group I look up to,” James says. “When I heard the news, I was so excited, I even cried a little bit. Everything else we’ve done has been icing on the cake.”
“A lot of MCs don’t go out and support b-boys, graffiti writers and DJs, but then they get mad at those guys for not coming to see them. Why should they support you if you’re not doing the same for them?”
That icing includes five albums, a handful of tours and opening slots for groups like J-Live, Wordsworth, Cali Agents, Jean Grae, Brother Ali and Murs of Living Legends. Jivin’ Scientists has stayed methodical in its approach. The flows don’t shoot out of the gate with blazing speed, but they’re delivered with purposeful precision. The beats, usually composed by producers Chase Crusher and Phen, establish deep, organic grooves, without synths or other distracting racket.
For their latest release, the brothers teamed up with Oklahoma and Las Cruces-based 8Bit Cynics to create Self Help. James worked closely with 8Bit MC Dewey Binns throughout the recording process, and the project required both wordsmiths to swallow their pride. “Making Self Help made me mature more than anything else I’ve done,” James says. “Sometimes it’s hard because all MCs have an ego. It’s important to learn to control it so that you can try new things and be able to do what you both wanna do.”
When it’s time to bring the tracks on the road, James applies the MC’s golden rule onstage. “I treat the audience the way I’d like to be treated at a show,” James says. “You almost act like a father: You’re assertive, but you talk to them like a friend you want to show something great.”
The stereotype of dueling brothers competing for attention seems far removed from the dynamic at work when the Owens brothers take the stage. “I’m his older brother, but he’s my boss,” Jason says. “I got into DJing because I saw how good James got at MCing. He’s the voice of Jivin’ Scientists.”
Jason reciprocates the respect. “Deeko’s a humble dude,” he says. “He’s our secret weapon. I know when he’s there with me, things are going to work out.”
Jivin’ Scientists will make a guest appearance at the weekly Vinyl and Verses Underground Hip-Hop night on Wednesday, May 7, at Burt’s Tiki Lounge. Before you catch the free show, hear cuts from Self Help on the group’s MySpace page: MySpace.com/jivinscientists.
The album came together randomly. One day, EYE was listening to some rough cuts with Mike Schank (formally ‘Impulse’ of Sector 7 G/ Fill in the Breaks) on the way to a show in Duluth, MN. He thought it was some of Schank’s best writing to date… and his comment on one of the songs was… “I really like this chorus, but, I think someone else should be on it….. ME!
From then on the collabo expanded to showing a few rough cuts to Mr. Dibbs. He was excited to hear something different too. Low and behold, he was in Minnesota a few weeks later and we worked a few days drinking Steel Reserve, and the cuts laid themselves in. I remember him saying “this is by far the most comfortable recording session that I’ve ever been in… when I am working with (big producer’s name deleted) he always wants to have me do the take 20 times, then he chops it up into pieces that I could never duplicate live”.
Underground legend and top notch emcee Aceyalone is coming back to Club Congress. Aceyalone has always prided himself on quality control. He has long been a lyrical master, able to weave the personal, political and social into one cohesive fabric, has never been questioned. The music takes equal billing, with Acey striking down sonic boundaries and throwing the listener back to a time when music was pure, energetic, and fun. Joining him will be JNatural, Pat Maine and the always incredible Jivin Scientists, a staple of the local Tucson hip hop scene. Get your tickets here!!
The seventh album from the Jivin Scientists !!!
10 The Girl Hurts
11 The Future Is Magical
12 Ego Shoot
14 Ten Snows
16 Bobby Pins
18 Out of the Dark
2 Morning After
3 The Night Before
4 Drugstore Spaceship
5 Right On Talkin’
6 Break It
7 The Devil Lives Here
8 Massive Failure
We are in New Mex shooting a video with our boy Flux and his crew. We are embarking on a new kind of journey and its a bit crazy. Never in a million years would I have thought we would be working at this kind of level. Flux has been our brother for years and we have seen him grow. With a dream and hard work he has come to a level of professionalism that is a bit hard to grasp.We are stoked to bring you a video that will truly entertain. The next couple of weeks will be crazy for us, so please keep an eye on whats going on. The release of The Morning After is just around the corner. Hear is a small look at the video shoot, there is much more to come.
love you all
hug some one amazing.
Alright my little droogs its time to kill the empire!!!
Please share and post the pics below to help us prepare for the upcoming release. If we are facebook stocking or twitter creepin and we see one of our photos as your profile or just sharing we might send you a copy of the album early.