Hip hop artist Rob Base is making his return to the 519 this year with an encore appearance at Bluesfest Windsor on July 5.
Although his initial recording career was short-lived in the late 80s and early 90s with his partner DJ E-Z Rock, he was success at it. Base and E-Z Rock scored four hit singles in 1988 and 1989, including the massive hits It Takes Two, Get On The Dance Floor and Joy and Pain.
We managed to track down Base on the latest tour for a quick chat.
Here we are on the 30th anniversary of It Takes Two and the song is still as popular as ever, did you think it would be like that?
Definitely not in the beginning. When we first did the record we thought it’d be a tri-state hit, we didn’t think it would travel around the world, the way it did. I’m really surprised and blessed that 30 years later, I’m still out here doing it. It’s a wonderful thing.
What was going through your mind when you wrote It Takes Two?
I definitely wanted to make a party record that everybody could get up and dance to and have a good time, as simple as that sounds, that was pretty much it.
That song is the theme song for Lip Sync Battle. How cool is it to see all these stars lip syncing to your song in the opening credits?
It’s a good feeling. When I first saw it, I was like wow, it’s 30 years later and people are still singing my song and having a good time dancing to the song This is a blessing – that’s all I can say.
Was there anyone famous that you never expected to appreciate your music that totally surprised you when they told you how much they loved it?
When I see young kids that weren’t even born when the record came out, I really love that. They come out to the shows, they might have “It Takes Two” t-shirts on, and they know the lyrics word for word – it’s amazing!
That album was big on beats and hot on the raps. That’s kind of a lost art form now.
I don’t know. I wouldn’t say that it’s a lost art form, music change over the years. It was a different time and a different era; they just do it a little differently than the way we did it.
My husband is a big old school fan. He still loves your first album and a lot other guys from the era like Grandmaster Flash and The Furious Five, Jonzun Crew, Sugar Hill Gang and Kurtis Blow. Who influenced you in the beginning?
I would definitely say all the guys, Grandmaster Flash — all of those guys from that era. When I was a young guy coming up, I listened to them all the time, so they definitely influenced me.
When you started out, was it in the streets and at parties with a mic and turntable?
Well I started out in my neighborhood. There was a group called “The Crash” and they used to come out into the park and DJ and rap on the mic and I used to watch those guys. Eventually I got my chance to get on the mic and I started doing it, so we would go to block parties, wherever the turntables and mics were outside, and we would go in and try to get on the mic. That’s basically how I started.
How did you get discovered?
I was doing a lot of performing all over the Bronx and Harlem when it happened. My manager was seeing what I was doing, and he heard around town who this Robe Base rapper was, and he just pulled me in. He said come to my office and he took me to the studio. We went to the studio and it was just history from then on in.
Rob Base is part of a 90s music celebration at Bluesfest Windsor with Vanilla Ice, 2 Live Crew, C+C Music Factory, Tone Loc, Young MC and DJ Scorpion on July 5. 90s Throwback is one of four nights at Bluesfest Windsor at Riverfront Festival Plaza July 5 and 6 and July 12 and 13. Visit bluesfestwindsor.com for more information.