Storied hip-hop radio DJs Stretch Armstrong and Bobbito Garcia are celebrating their 30th anniversary with the release of a new EP featuring remixed freestyles from Notorious B.I.G., Jay-Z and more.
Freestyle EP 1 is the first in a series of three that will feature remixed and remastered freestyles performed by various hip-hop luminaries on The Stretch and Bobbito Show. The show first aired as a late-night program on Columbia University’s radio station, WKCR, but quickly became a pillar of the NYC hip-hop scene and a proving ground for up-and-coming talent during the Nineties. Eventually, the show became so popular, Stretch and Bobbito were invited to take their show to NYC’s commercial hip-hop station Hot 97.
The first EP boasts freestyles from Method Man and Ghostface Killah, Big L and Jay-Z, and the Notorious B.I.G., all of which were remixed and remastered from the original cassette recordings by Stretch and Bobbito’s band, the M19s. Armstrong tells Rolling Stone that to narrow down the track list for the EP series, both he and Bobbito made lists of their favorites and chose “the ones that have stood the test of time, by artists that have endured.”
“I hope that listeners feel the era,” Bobbito says of the release. “The excitement. The focus. The craftmanship at hand by the MCs. I also hope that for our diehard followers who have heard these a million times since the Nineties, that our remixes bring new life to them. No one in their right mind could have imagined that a cappella versions of archival live moments in hip hop could be created, but we did it. And then flipped it. So enjoy to the fullest.” The next two EPs will arrive in the coming months.
On top of the EP series, Stretch and Bobbito’s 30th anniversary celebrations also include the launch of a new show on Apple Music, which premiered yesterday, October 22nd. And, on October 25th — the actual date of the duo’s first broadcast — they’ll host a virtual Q&A and screening of their 2015 documentary, Stretch and Bobbito: Radio That Changed Lives.
“We’re still driven by sharing music that matters to us, that has substance, and that screams to be heard,” Bobbito says. “And not just hip hop, either. We’re both into a multitude of genres, and just how people who fell in love with our debut LP, No Requests, with our band the M19s (released in January), we expect our audience, new and old, to have an open mind and trust what we’re offering.”