I first came across Ripshop back in 99. He is one of the main reasons I got into the indie hip hop scene. “Versus” is still to this day, one of my favourite records. I recently caught up with Ripshop for a brief interview.
THHF: Tell us a little bit about how you first got into hip hop and who your musical inspirations where growing up?
RIPSHOP: I got into Hip Hop Culture being that it was all around the hood. That’s all u heard. My favorite MCs were Grandmaster Caz from Cold Crush Bros, Melle Mel from Furious 5, Rakim, Big Daddy Kane, KRS, Nas, Black Thought from The Roots, Common, Pharoahe Monch. Dudes like that.
THHF: Where did the name Ripshop come from?
RIPSHOP: That was Sweet Cousin Cash…a staple in Boston hip hop culture. He gave me my name and it’s stuck with me ever since.
THHF: I can remember getting more into the indie/underground scene in the late nineties. “Versus” was one of the first records I bought. What was it like as an up and coming mc to release your first major record and be a part of the history behind the legendary record label that was Rawkus records?
RIPSHOP: Being signed to Rawkus was a dream. It happened through my old producer, legendary Kon. He knew some people there and it just all came together.
THHF: You have had two official album releases, “Playtime’s Over” and “The Authenticity” Speak on each one and what they are about?
RIPSHOP: “Playtimes Over” was my debut album. It was basicly an answer to the disposable rap out there. I got sick of hearing the bs…hense the name. “The Authenticity” was kind of about the same thing, but musically more mature. It spoke on everything I wanted to speak about on the fist LP.
THHF: Boston has always had a long list of dope mc’s. Tell us about the Boston scene today and who is reppin?
RIPSHOP: Today you have people like the legend Edo G, as well as Reks, Termanology, Akrobatik, Special Teamz, Big Shug, Moroney, Krumbsnatcha, STLD GLD, Singapore Kane, Boycott Blues, M Dot, etc etc.
THHF: As a fan, buying the physical form of music was a big part of hip hop culture. The whole digital downloads kind of kills that pastime but the social media explosion allows us to connect with people like yourself which was impossible twenty years ago. As an artist, what impact has the Internet had on the industry and hip hop culture?
RIPSHOP: I think the internet helps in a lot of ways being that people can get to know you personally. your not untouchable, and label’s realize they’re not needed anymore with regard to putting out your own music.
THHF: Time for some real talk. Share your views on mainstream hip hop, if you can call it that and how it is so wrongly defined to the masses?
RIPSHOP: I don’t deal with mainstream rap. Its full of propaganda and agendas. Knowing that these “artists” aren’t comin from the heart. And its not from a place of art. Its too trendy.
THHF: What’s next for Ripshop? albums? Collaborations?
RIPSHOP: For now we have “Come Up With Something” on SoundCloud feat Rockness Monstah from The Boot Camp Clik, We also have “Remember Them Days” video available on YouTube. “Rock Rock Y’all” will be available by the time people read this. Both will be on “Regime Change”. Which features Rockness Monstah, Tragedy Khadafi, Reks, Big Shug, Edo G, Tame One from The Artifacts, J Tronius, Nodoz from Golden Brown Sound, and more.