The duo's first two beat tapes, GirlGrabbers and Good Time With a Bad Girl, served as a smooth and fitting introduction to the pair and their pronounced knack for using audacious samples to produce head nodding rhythms. The progressive and soulful diversity of their productions have Qknox and GypdaHip in high demand.
In addition to being featured on several albums and new releases, from Whygee and Foe's Dispensary Music to DJ Cavem's Teacher's Lounge, the two each maintain their individual projects, as well. Gyp's Magic will be released this September, and Meet Mr. Q, the solo beat tape from Qknox, has been making the rounds.
We spoke with Q and Gyp recently about the GirlGrabbers moniker and gained some insights on how a producer maintains the integrity of samples while applying his own stamp, and the difference between beat making and producing.
Westword (Ru Johnson): GirlGrabbers is an interesting name for a beat making duo. There's a story behind this, right?
Qnox: "GirlGrabbers" started as the title of the first beat tape we released. Paradox put on a show at PT's show club in 2009, and after digging through some vintage movie posters, we thought this one would be perfect.
We didn't have a name for the group at that point, but the people who listened to the first beat tape started calling us "GirlGrabbers," and it seemed to stick. As artists, we also understand that the female is where it all starts. If you can't grab the girls, you're gonna have a tough time grabbing anyone else.
Ww: Gyp, you're known for having one of the most expanded music understandings in the hip-hop scene. How do you blend all these elements together on your creative end with GirlGrabbers?
GypdaHip: I don't know, [it] kinda just comes out! I never sit down and try to make a certain kinda beat or something else I've heard. I just sit down and let it flow.
Ww: Qknox, in asking the most nebulous question, how do you attach your mark to the rarest of samples and still maintain the integrity of the record?
Q: In giving the most complicated answer to a nebulous question, it depends on the record. The samples, like an instrument, are just a tool we use as producers to convey whatever it is we are trying to convey in our music.
I buy records I like. Sometimes I buy records I hate. Sometimes I buy records 'cause they have an amazing cover and are 25 cents. Your stamp, or the style you create from the way you utilize the sample is something that comes from the way you use your influences and environment. I still feel like I'm looking for that place in both my production and playing.
Ww: Is there a difference in beat making and producing?
Q: Beat makers make beats. But being a producer is something that involves a lot more paperwork. We would rather not get our hands dirty with some of the things producers have to worry about in terms of shaping and developing artists. We make beats.
Ww: Meet Mr. Q is the latest solo release from Qknox. It's like a rhythmic alphabetic revenge. Where do you draw the concept?
Q: With this latest beat tape, I didn't directly remix any entire song and made an effort to make the samples and music the forefront rather than too many vocals.
It felt more like a Qknox beat tape than a mixtape of remixes, and Meet Mr. Q sounded right after I found a lot of kids records and samples of kids learning about the letter Q.
There are also a few samples from other Q movie characters and Q TV show characters. They helped this eclectic group of beats gel together a lot more cohesively.
Ww: There's talk of a GirlGrabbers remix service. Tell me more.
Q: The GirlGrabbers Remix service will make your old ish* sound like new and your new ish sound classic. We are working all over with MCs and singers, and we feel that there is a lot out there that isn't being put out that could be put out, were it to have that special touch, and we have a lot of beats. You can be friends with us on Facebook [GirlGrabbers beats] or email [girlgrabbers at gmail.com].
Ww: So there's Lamp!, the band you both perform with at Appaloosa on Wednesdays; Qknox, you play with Big Wheel every week, and Gyp, you maintain steady deejay gigs. How do you balance everything?
Q: Well, work is work for anybody. It's great to be able to play music and get paid for it. But you have a routine just like anybody else -- the hours may be a little different, but we still put it a lot of them. We feel like we are having a great time, and as long as we can be involved in projects we enjoy doing, we don't mind a long day.