Hip-hop and Valentine's Day go together…
- Posted on Aug 26th 2010 11:30AM by David Dacks
In any other context, you might think the old-school hip-hop beatboxer is off on some kind of delusional rant. But that's Biz's everyday life on wacky kids TV phenomenon 'Yo Gabba Gabba.' And this fall, both kids and grown ups can trip out to the magical land as a live version of the show visits 60 cities throughout North America. You can expect DJ Lance Rock and the five creatures who star on the show -- Muno, Foofa, Brobee, Toodee and Plex -- to bring along plenty of party-starting music for the whole family.
The toddler-centric show, produced by Nickelodeon, features the orange-suited DJ Lance Rock bringing toy creatures to life with the aid of big beats from a boombox. Toddlers learn life lessons about brushing their teeth and crossing the road safely, while older fans get indie-flavoured dance parties with special guests as diverse as the Roots, Weezer and Chromeo.
The show's fall tour is far bigger than anything Biz has ever experienced before -- even though his hip-hop ballad, 'Just a Friend,' cracked the Billboard top ten back in 1989. But Biz is taking it all in stride, as he has since his career took this fortuitous turn.
He's been involved in 'Yo Gabba Gabba' since the very beginning in 2007. "I knew the creators," he explains. "They'd told me to come in [to audition for a segment called] 'Dance of the Day,' but my back was hurting. So I made up 'Biz's Beat of the Day' right there." It's exactly what it sounds like -- a short segment with Biz 'Making the Music With His Mouth' (to paraphrase his old hit) for an impressionable audience.
Biz brings beatboxing back for a new generation far removed from the era when it was considered one of the pillars of hip-hop. He doesn't think it's likely to make a real comeback in today's music world, so trading on its pure entertainment value for the kids may be a savvy career move.
"Hip-hop isn't what it used to be," he observes. "I guess we got older. It evolved into something else. Some of the veteran rappers can't be new-school rappers. It's like in baseball -- old players retire and coach, or become batting instructors."
So here he is in 2010, an important player pinch-hitting in dozens of cities for the 'Yo Gabba Gabba' team. There will be plenty of super-secret special guests, too -- Biz won't give any names, but past participants in the live Gabbafest experience have included Sarah Silverman and Talib Kweli.
When asked what kids and parents can expect from the show beyond established favorites like 'Party in My Tummy' and 'Peanut Butter Stomp,' he stays mum on the details. But, in his best Tony the Tiger voice, Biz assures fans that, "It's going to be a grrrreat show!"