To celebrate 20 years of The Hip Hop Project we look back on some of the best moments from the longest running mix show in the country. By CosmRoks (The Voice of The Hip Hop Project, 1998-2010)
In 1998, I was a High School Sophomore when I started working on The Hip-Hop Project. At that time my taste in Hip-Hop really started to expand as I met other kids in school. I first met Roper around the time Eminem got “Unsigned Hype” in The Source. Like any other Hip-Hop kids of my era and those before it, trading tapes was huge. It’s how your world expanded. You would learn about new underground MC’s and you could put your peers up on artists you liked. One of the groups I loved the moment I was introduced to underground Hip-Hop was Rubberoom.
I first remember hearing Rubberoom when The Molemen dropped the “Taste Of Chicago” 12″. Shortly there after there was Mixx Massacre’s “5 Fingers of Death” Mixtape. I played that tape until it damn near melted. Then, of course, there was “White Hot Razors”. Rubberoom, to me, was Chicago Hip-Hop personified.
When I first started volunteering at WLUW, the single “Smoke” was getting tons of airplay, and it remains a classic to this day. All the songs mentioned above created a momentum leading up to one of the most anticipated albums in Chicago Hip-Hop history: Rubberoom’s “Architechnology”. Again, I was new to the scene but I recall the entire Hip-Hop community rallying around this album and supporting it. This was clearly a big deal. Aside from the signature Opus production, the album featured over a dozen local DJ’s. They even had their pictures in the liner notes. I don’t recall a group showing love to DJ’s Norm, Massacre, Rude, etc. I remember going to Gramaphone as a youngster and seeing those guys like celebrities. I recently found the extremely dope flyer (designed by Stizo) promoting the “Architechnology” album. We all had it on our graf books, walls, and notebooks in school. The album ended up being critically acclaimed, and eventually cemented itself as a Chicago classic.
Years went by, and Lumba and Meta Mo eventually parted ways having only recorded two studio albums as Rubberoom. But in 2011, they reunited for their “Rebooted” Mixtape and we were lucky enough to have them on the show for the first time in well over a decade. Mr. Echoes brought them in, as he had been a friend of the show over the years through his work with The Opus, Earatik Statik, Thawfor etc.That night was a great show, we played a ton of old Rubberoom joints, and talked about the group’s history. I always felt that we missed many great opportunities (for whatever reason) to interview the “big” artists like Common, Kanye, etc. but getting the chance to sit down with Rubberoom was a night I will always remember. Chicago’s Hip-Hop scene would not be the same without their contributions.