An Exploration in Contextualizing Hip-hopÂ with Hundy Thou
By Ali Lopez
Amidst a plentiful assortment of ob- jects, trinkets, knick-knacks, puppets, pots, records, lamps, paintings and what-have-yous littered throughout a collectively used productive space dubbed â€œThe Cloudhouse,â€ I got toÂ sit and chat with the intellectual two-some that make up Hundy Thou. Hundy is a hip-hop duo based out of our sometimes sunny, sometimes rainy, but all around pleasant Victoria, B.C. I joined members Chris Hernan- dez and Mark Guimond on a casual exploration to contextualize hip-hop in our contemporary music scene.
â€œI would definitely say that the whole four elements thing is kind of over. I mean, itâ€™s still part of it, but
in terms of what people think of as rapâ€”itâ€™s kind of over,â€ says Hernandez, explaining that the defining four ele- ments of hip-hop cultureâ€™s old-schoolÂ ethos consisted of DJing, MCing, break dancing and graffiti.
â€œOut of all the genres right now, I think that hip-hop is all these multiple contradictions within itself,â€ adds Guimond. â€œItâ€™s at one hand very anachronistic . . . a joke. But at the same time itâ€™s still a subversive and cutting-edge music style. So I find that very interesting.â€
The two proceed to decon- struct this archaic mould that hasÂ housed hip-hop for decades, and search for a definition of just what hip- hop is to them.
â€œAt the beginning of Mos Defâ€™s solo album he talks about that. Itâ€™s like whoever is doing hip-hop is what hip-hop is,â€ says Hernandez, speaking to the inevitability that any art form will be defined by the very people and culture that are produc- ing it, since it is a by-product of these things.
Guimond elaborates: â€œItâ€™s pretty funny actually because we come against this really weird sect of hip- hop or rappers here, [and] you see that in all towns still, [people] who kind ofÂ cling to this idea. The, like, â€˜Holy Grailâ€™ of hip-hopâ€”like itâ€™s almost a romanti- cised idea. You have to have the four elements, you have to be acting like its 1983 and youâ€™re in the Bronx.â€
As a rap band, Hundy Thou presents rap music that does not fit the conventional sentiment of what hip-hop is, a sentiment that has dominated the public psyche since the â€˜80s. For many critics out there, any- thing that doesnâ€™t fit this mould lacks legitimacy. This seems to come almost unconsciously, leaving the genre itself with no room for experimentation and progression. This is not to say thatÂ the music of hip-hopâ€™s past isnâ€™t still amazing and highly influential, but that artists today should not confine themselves to mimicking that past.
So what are Hernandez and Guimondâ€™s influences?
â€œWu-Tang, because of their rawness,â€ says Guimond, and alter- nately, â€œThe Beastie Boys, because
I could just listen to them forever. I learned a lot about music from them even, like jazz music and dub and stuff like that.â€