DJ Afrika Bambaataa made hip hop’s maiden voyage into the digital age in the early 1980s when he began mixing with “Trans Europe Express,” a 1977 release by electronic pioneers Kraftwerk.
The computer is now as integral to the continued 21st century proliferation of rap as the turntable was in the old school.
“The scene is prolific,” Campbell said, referencing the digital circle of like-minded artists they surf with online. “Everybody is hustling.”
Campbell, who raps as youngster jiji, said they buy beats from online producers like NajaesBeats, Arkasaur and Manitee. Although about a quarter of them are free, they pay a modest sum of around $20 for the others, he said.
As for the sound, they’re trap beats mostly, a particular brand of rap music most audibly recognizable through slow tempo, pounding drum machines and heavy bass.
The duo first met online about three months ago — a meeting spurred by Soundcloud.
University of Idaho student Becker, also known as Bill $mith, messaged Campbell to give props and invite him to collaborate on a tape. Becker figured chances were slim, given Campbell’s Seattle-based location on his Soundcloud profile. So it was a welcome surprise when he learned Campbell is a music composition student at Washington State University in Pullman — and yes, he was interested in the project.
Early on, Campbell is determining their success not by online likes and listens, but by future gigs.
“Relatively, it’s kind of blowing up for us,” he said.
The duo’s next gig will be at 9:45 p.m. Saturday at the Kazzufest Music and Arts Festival in Pullman. Illridic will take the stage alongside eight other prominent Northwest acts. The event, which starts at 4 p.m., is put on by WSU’s student-run radio station, KZUU 90.7 FM.
In May, Illridic will play at the three-day music festival Music At The View in Tonasket, Washington.
Lyrically, their themes dwell inside the walls of a college house party – and its most warped attendees’ minds – not the southern urban streets that gave rise to trap. Their visuals portray the blood of horrorcore rap, while the fondling of label-less glass bottles filled with unknown golden liquor in their photos harkens back to the ubiquitous use of the archetypal 40 oz. in the 1990s by artists like Tha Alkaholiks.
Yet, being controversial and polarizing is a more accurate reflection of the men behind the mic than any particular topic they choose to rhyme about, Becker said.
Becker said he hopes to build a base of diehards, not just partygoers passively pressing play,partly by shocking audiences – Illridic may go as far as burning religious articles.
“It obviously isn’t going to happen overnight but it is going to happen, definitely,” he said.
If You Go:
Where: BellTower Live Music Venue, 125 SE Spring St., Pullman
When: 9:45 p.m. Saturday
Cost: $12 students, $15 public