Snowgoons, the four-man production/hip-hop outfit comprised of Det Gunner, DJ Illegal, Sicknature, and J.S. Kuster have been one of the most visible best-kept secrets in hip-hop for a while now. With a decade-long rap sheet of content in their catalogue, they’ve made it their business to keep that chunky orchestral boom-bap energy alive and kicking. They’ve been working with a who’s who of golden-age icons, and up and coming underground royalty producing full projects for acts like Philly rapper Reef the Lost Cauze, legendary Brownsville, Brooklyn, bullies M.O.P., and the newest iteration of Onyx. The latter of that list definitely brought them the most social notoriety, racking up millions of YouTube spins.
If you followed my year end posts, you might have noticed that I placed their latest (compilation) album, Goon Bap, amongst my top albums of the year. If you are just getting into these guys, and you at all loved the 90s, this album will blow your mind. Not only is the production incredible, but they somehow connected with cats we haven’t heard of for years, like Nine, for example, who appeared alongside Psycho Les, Sticky Fingaz, Ras Kass, Dres, DoItAll, and OC on one massive posse cut.
I was excited about interviewing them, as I’ve been following them for a while now. Check out the conversation below, and if your haven’t get your hands on Goon Bap wherever you stream fine hip-hop.
How did you guys originally get together?
Me, DJ Illegal, and Det Gunner met in ‘96 at a hip-hop jam in Germany and exchanged Mixtapes. After some time, we did a Mixtape together and had the idea to add some of our own remixes. That’s how we started producing together. Sicknature and J.S. Kuster joined the Goons around 2008 during the work on the second album, Black Snow.
What is it about 90s hip-hop that’s kept you guys so influenced?
Simply put, that’s the era we grew up with; actually, late 80’s, but still the 90’s had the most impact on us with classic groups like Wu Tang, Mobb Deep, DITC, Onyx and more.
Tell me about the new album—how did you guys choose the features?
We started by picking 90s artists we always liked and wanted to work with. We are really fortunate to have Nine, Dres, Psycho Les and Method Man on the Goon Bap album–beside our homies Onyx, OC, Ras Kass. But we wanted to have some new artists as well, and added Chris Rivers, Token, Passionated MC, Big Kurt or Doppelgangaz to name a few.
Do you see yourself as ushering boom-nap into a new generation? (Particularly by featuring newer artists like Chris Rivers)?
Maybe, yeah. Overall we’re just doing the music we love so if other people discover the 90s again through our music, I would call that a positive side effect.
Ok, “The 90s Are Back,” what was the process of putting that record together?
It all started with the beat. Originally, we wanted to use it for the intro cause it gave us that typical 90s New York Boom-Bap-Jeep-Beats kind of feeling. But then we figured it would be really dope to have some artists like OC or Nine on the song. We couldn’t figure out which artists to pick and we decide to make it an All-Star track with many artists. We went with only 8 bars for each Emcee to keep it not too long. The only artists who did a longer verse was Dres with 16 bars and Ras Kass with 12. We just didn’t want to cut them down. Originally, Smoothe Da Hustler and Billy Danze supposed to be on the song too, as well Edo G–but they didn’t make the deadline.
Some of the artists were crazy unexpected, particularly Nine—how did you pull it off?
Like we said, we were 100% feeling Nine on this beat in our heads, so we had to track him down.
Luckily, he just visited our homie DJ Eclipse’s radio show “Rap Is Outta Control,” so he connected us. After approaching Nine with the idea for the song he was down.
Tell me about your experience working with Pumpkinhead…
PH was always a funny, impulsive guy–and artist. He did whatever he wanted and felt like. When we recorded the song for our first album German Lugers back in 2006, he actually did two songs for us just because our session was dope in the studio. We forgot about the second song and it got lost on the old hard drive. When he passed, we wanted to look up some older pictures with him to post and pay some respect. We came across the lost files and instantly had to remix the old song and add it to Goon Bap. It would have been a shame to not release the song.
What’s next up for you guys?
We are still working on the Onyx vs. M.O.P. record, we are working on a project with our new artist Big Kurt, as well; Sicknature, of the Snowgoons, is about to drop his solo record this year, too. Besides that, we’re working on a couple of projects that we can’t mention right now. Basically, we stay busy.
Who do you want to work with that you haven’t been able to get yet?
There are a couple of artists, like Nas, Immortal Technique and Westside Gunn, who we’ve got on the list. We will see soon or later we might have them down.
Any last words for our readers?
We appreciate the hip-hop culture for letting us express ourselves in the purest form. Our slogan is “We Keep Hip Hop Alive” and that’s what we going to do. Make sure you check out the whole Goon Bap album because it is way more than just Boom Bap influenced album. Thanks for the Interview and thanks to every single head out there.