Geebeats could quite easily have grown up in the Bronx alongside Rock Steady and Kool Herc. Like many old school heads he is entirely aware and educated on Hip Hop. His old school Hip Hop radio show spins nothing but quality Hip Hop, a most wanted for many genuine Hip Hop heads. He is someone who reminds us all that we can’t just practise Hip Hop, we are Hip Hop.
Nino managed to give the Bristol bred DJ a proper Hip Hop grillin’ and it took them both back to roots and the reasons of Hip Hop and how it has become such a fundamental part of our lives.
Nino: Alright? Could you give us a little Geebeats bio, who you are, where you’re from, how you got into this Hip Hop ish…
Geebeats: Ok, I am Geebeats from Bristol in the South West of England. The reason I call myself Geebeats is ‘cos my first name is Gavin as for the Gee and beats ‘cos I have been collecting vinyl since ‘86. Therefore, we have Geebeats – makes up my street name. I got into Hip Hop 1982 when an old neighbour Mark Louthweaght come around one day to the house I lived in when I was young and said, “you heard of this new craze called Break dance?”
I said, no, he said, listen to the charts. So I did, I heard and also heard Malcolm McLaren – Buffalo Gals then as time went on a bit I came across the street sounds electros to discover the underground sound of what I thought was break dancing, was later known to me as b boying.
Nino: From peace, unity, knowledge and having fun to guns, bitches and bling. From Eric B to Young Jeezy… What’s happened to Hip Hop?
Geebeats: I think the culture and the whole meaning of Hip Hop is getting lost as us older Hip Hop artists retire, that have been in the Hip Hop world since the ‘80s, but we still have groups and artists like Public Enemy, EPMD, and KRS 1, bringing out new Hip Hop albums. But the new Hip Hop, Rap peeps are coming with the guns, cars, bling and bitches, not the culture of Hip Hop like the b boying, scratching, beat boxing, spray can art, and proper MCing with a real good flow lyrics and style all with breath control.
In a track nowadays, or video you do not see this, nor hear it much so it is getting lost. That’s why we need the younger generation to carry it on and the older ones like me to keep teaching it and bringing it though I think it will all come back around again things all ways do, but hopefully it will stay more than 30 years the next time around.
Nino: What’s your response to the modern mainstream attitude of people such as Lil Wayne who suggest DJs are nothing more than MCs promo tools? When back in the day, the DJ was the pied piper of his block.
Geebeats: I totally disagree with Lil Wayne here, ‘cos a true Hip Hop DJ is part of a Hip Hop crew or you can have a crew of DJs as turntablists like the DMC world champions or the X man such as Rob Swift etc, then DJs can be a tool as a radio DJ in promoting your music , I am a radio DJ, but I will not promote pop Hip Hop or pop rap – meaning the wack stuff. And I only like to play vinyl besides my project which is on CD. Cos without DJs like Grand Master Flash, Grand Master DST, Eric B, Scott La Rock (R.I.P.), Marly Marl, Pete Rock, The 45 King, 2 Tuff, Termantor X, Rob Swift, Cash Money, Jam Master Jay (R.I.P.), Cut master Swift, Cheese, Kool Herc, Jazzy Jay, Jazzy Jeff, Spinderella, Jazzy Joyce, Premier, Lord, Cool V and Polo, to name some of the world of Hip Hop, you would not have Hip Hop ‘cos it is part of the culture.
Nino: What other major aspects of old school Hip Hop do you think have been lost in recent years?
Geebeats: The scratching on Hip Hop tracks along with Beat boxing, spray can art and b boying in the videos, and vinyl; not much Hip Hop is getting released on vinyl. As I am collector and I play out with it.
Nino: Do you think modern Hip Hop has lost all its breaks and funky floor beats?
Geebeats: Some of it has yes. But artists like KRS 1 have not. Alongside DJ Premier who has produced him and I’ve seen Public Enemy play in my home city in Bristol where they had a live drummer and two funk guitarists all on stage playing live with the DJ. But there are a lot of artists that are not, you just have to have your ear to the ground and separate the good from the wack stuff – that’s all.
Nino: Do you think female DJs get enough genuine respect? Any you want to shout out?
Geebeats: No, I do not think they get any respect, this goes pretty much the same for male DJs ‘cos scratching and Hip Hop DJs in Hip Hop music is not part of it much nowadays. Yeah, I would like to shout out some female DJs and they are Jazzy Joyce, Spinderella, Shortee , Jen Mas, Annalyze, Lori, Minx, and Valida.
Nino: Is mainstream radio partly to blame for the loss of quality in sell out 21st Century Hip Hop?
Geebeats: Yes, in some ways it is partly to blame I think. But they are two ways at looking at things – the radio helped me to get into Hip Hop in 1982, so you could get someone young like I was, listening to the radio after a friend told him about a certain track or a commercial Hip Hop track. Then he could find all about Hip Hop like I did, and what it means and the history and culture of it.
Nino: Do you think Hip Hop is darker nowadays? Is it just a reflection of our society as a whole or are we not as good at hiding it anymore?
Geebeats: I think it is darker, yeah, but we know a lot more and things are not hidden from us with such things as the internet to find out information, and we know a lot more than we used to which can make things confusing; as in don’t eat this, don’t eat that, or you should not do that, or this. I say make up your own mind and use your common sense that’s all it comes down to at the end of the day.
Nino: I know it is hard to generalise, but can you name three things every hot Hip Hop track should contain?
Geebeats: One, a good beat or beat box with scratching on. Two, style, flow and lyrics. Three – breath control.
Nino: Will Hip Hop get its revolution?
Geebeats: Yes, I am very sure it will one day. Good things come to those who wait and as Hip Hop heads will definitely see that one day, if not in my time, the next generation or the next and so on – until it happens and I am very sure it will happen one day in the future. Who knows when? But sometime.
Nino: Would you even call mainstream gangster pop Hip Hop?
Geebeats: Yes, I would ‘cos you have these idiots like 50 Cent with his bitches, cars, bling talking about guns, making money off it and using Hip Hop and rap to make his money. I ain’t jealous of him making his money, just that he is using the rap to do it, which is part of the Hip Hop culture.
Nino: Were there any particular DJs who really inspired you?
Geebeats: Yes they are  Marly Marl  Jam Master Jay R.I.P.  Scot La Rock R.I.P.  Grandmaster Flash  The 45 King  Jazzy Jay  2 Tuff  Polo  Pete Rock  Chuck Chill Out  Terminator X  Spinderella  Cheese  Moe Love  Cash Money  Rob Swift  The X Men Crew  Endo and  Cool V.
Nino: Is modern British Hip Hop the quality equivalent of old school US Hip Hop?
Geebeats: No because it is both from different times. You know Hip Hop started in the Bronx in 1972 with b boying, the first Hip Hop tune to come in USA was in 79 with the Sugar Hill Gang and ‘Rappers Delight’ and Hip Hop started over here in the early 80s. It is totally two different times and years and styles apart. USA Hip Hop and UK Hip Hop are totally different, as we both are following the Hip Hop culture the true Hip Hop heads that is our sound and styles are both different even are voices are.
Nino: If you had to pick one old school DJ to see live?
Geebeats: DJ Marley Marl.
Nino: Best DJ you have seen live?
Geebeats: DJ Marley Marl, who I was lucky to meet and to talk to when I seen him play live in my home city in Bristol last year, 2007.
Nino: Is there too much of a divide between different area’s Hip Hop communities, both within and without the UK? Has the unity Hip Hop is supposed to provide been lost?
Geebeats: I think there is a divide with all the Hip Hop communities across the country and in the USA, and I think the Hip Hop unity has been lost in England, USA and around the world ‘cos there is too much hate and not enough love for it. That’s why I am doing this project to show Hip Hop is worldwide and always has been, also there is too much violence going on in Hip Hop as in the raps which is a very bad influence on the peeps that listen to it, but I hope and think the real Hip Hop will come back around again with the culture and the unity.
Nino: Do you think non-London UK Hip Hop gets enough props?
Geebeats: No I don't 'cos it gets dominated by the capital with radio stations and music channels. When I do a radio show I play Hip Hop from all over the country.
Nino: Is Hip Hop nowadays just one big game?
Geebeats: I think it is mainly, but you have some proper real Hip Hop artists and crews representing the real Hip Hop.
Nino: Approximately how many Hip Hop records do you own?
Geebeats: I would say about 2,000. And that is LP'S and 12 inches.
Nino: Are you into live Hip Hop bands?
Geebeats: Yes I am, like I went to see Public Enemy in my home city of Bristol in May and they had a live band with them as part of their crew.
Nino: So, you’ve got this old school Hip Hop show, which no doubt, many of the worldwide restless Hip Hop heads will appreciate. What’s it like and where do we catch it?
Geebeats: It is very good, I also play my project which is on CD and the rest I play is all vinyl and you can catch it here – www.passionradiobristol.com every Friday 12am to Saturday 2am and for big ups and requests the Passion studio msn is email@example.com and the telephone number is 07794655178.
Nino: Would you ever consider doing some youth based shows to get youngers into old school and away from the ‘guns, bitches and bling’ attitude?
Geebeats: Yes I certainly want to do anything to get them away from negative things and show them the positive way in the Hip Hop world. Cos we were all young once and it's still the same as when I was young and definitely got much worse for them and there is nothing for them to do as the same as when I was young and the generations before me and got worse for each generation for things for them to do and music for me was one way as in listen to it and buying it. And the whole Hip Hop culture that I learned.
Nino: Is the UK lacking in decent old school style Hip Hop joints? Or can you name us some of your favourite spots?
Geebeats: Yes I think the UK is. Pup up Gloss Rd in Bristol that has graf covering the outside of it and has an open mic night and also b-boys there.
Nino: So imagine you’re chatting to a group of kids who have grown up listening to 50 Cent and T-Pain. How would you describe old school Hip Hop and compare and contend it with this shit?
Geebeats: You could not compare this to 50 Cent and T-Pain ‘cos this is shit yeah. Don’t get me started about 50 Cent, he is really the one who has brought all the bling, cars, bitches, dissing the ladies into Rap which he thinks is Hip Hop ‘cos it sells – bull shit I say! I would tell them to check DJ Kool Herc, Afrika Bambaataa, KRS 1 the Hip Hop teacher etc.
Nino: Can we download your shows as opposed to just listening live?
Geebeats: You will be able to shortly.
Nino: What was the last old school record you stumbled on by surprise and couldn’t believe it wasn’t in your life already?
Geebeats: UTFO – UTFO album from 1985.
Nino: Do you think DnB has more of a lively feel and better club atmosphere compared to modern Hip Hop?
Geebeats: No, sorry, I disagree.
Nino: What’s your take on grime?
Geebeats: Yeah it's ok. I don’t mind it. I even have a Wiley 12inch vinyl. I think it is part of the tree of Hip Hop as in the rap not the beats.
Nino: Would you agree that there is a hell of a lot less misogyny in old school Hip Hop compared to nowadays? Why do you think this is?
Geebeats: No I don't agree with this, I would say that there is more female MC's nowadays than in the 80's and early 90's as Hip Hop was still it's early years after it started in the 70's.
Nino: Thanks a lot for chatting to us, any final words before we go listen to your show?… For old school Hip Hoppers or just anyone wanting to hook up their own show like you?
Geebeats: Yes, remember all Hip Hop heads don’t forget you are not just doing Hip Hop you are Hip Hop. And don't for get to check and join http://www.templeofhiphop.org. Ok peace and bless up one love all the way for Hip Hop.