Every so often we’ll witness the emergence of the next big thing to hit the scene that sends shock waves throughout the entire world. During it’s infancy we can’t predict the scope of it’s magnitude nor the length of it’s presence. We just simply bask in it’s greatness and enjoy it while it lasts.
Stretch & Bobbito: Radio That Changed Lives is a new Hip Hop documentary about a college radio station ran by two quirky friends in the 90’s who became unlikely legends by engaging their listeners and helped break the biggest rappers ever!
History In The Making
Adrian Bartos (Stretch Armstrong) & Robert Garcia (Bobbito) met at the record label Def Jam where Bobbito was working as an A&R and Stretch was a D.J on the hunt for new record promos to play at his nightclub gigs. Stretch was also planning to enroll at Columbia University and approached their college radio station WKCR about doing a rap show during the summer of 1990.
About The Show
The show was named “The Stretch Armstrong and Bobbito Show” and ended up having it’s premiere on Oct. 25, 1990 and quickly gained popularity. Stretch stated “It was a little signal with a little rinki dink station with a board from the 60’s. Sometimes the left channel would drop out and I would have to punch the console and it would pop back up”.
The radio station was unique from the rest in that it’s only intention was to play what Stretch and Bobbito considered to be the best of the best in Hip Hop. During the 1990s, Stretch and Bobbito introduced the world to an unsigned Nas, Biggie, Wu-Tang, and Big Pun, as well as an unknown Jay Z, Eminem, and the Fugees. The total record sales for all the artists that premiered on their show have reached a massive 300 million and counting.
“We didn’t care if you was signed or unsigned this isn’t for record sales this isn’t for the charts this is hip hop” -Bobbito
“What we did, we was curators and gatekeepers. We would pull artists and records out of an either and condensed it into a weekly program that for us, what we stood for and our personal tastes were the best of the best. We was a place you could go to every week and reliably spend time with two people that you’ve come to know over the years who were not only going to make you feel like you’re welcome but you know their going to deliver something to you that’s going to be meaningful.” -Stretch
The Stretch Armstrong and Bobbito Show garnered a plethora of accolades and praises throughout their run. In 1993 Neil Strauss from Village Voice stated “By far the best rap radio”. In 1998 The Source Magazine gave it high praise “The Best Hip Hop radio show of all-time”.
Eminem stressed how monumental being on the show was during an interview “Stretch and Bobbito, that was our dream. We was like we made it! This is it!” Nas addressed Stretched and Bobbito stating “At that point in time your show was the most important show in the world”. B-Real of Cypress hill gives credit to the show for his success “We’ve sold close to 20 million records and you guys are the guys that lit the fires for us”. And an early Busta Rhymes would record the show on tape and sell it at school for 5 dollars; you can’t knock tha hustle.
The Stretch Armstrong and Bobbito show ran for 8 consecutive years and ended in 1998 after Stretch & Bobbito had conflicting agreements on what their playlists should be. The two parted ways but remained friends and would work together occasionally.
About The Film
The film is unique in that it’s giving you a behind the scenes look that no one else was able to see. Stretch states “It’s a history that some people know but it’s a history behind the history and that’s why we wanted to make the film so we can show what the real history is”.
The film also tells it’s story from three different narratives in order to give you a broader perspective on how The Stretch Armstrong And Bobbito Show changed many different peoples lives from all walks of life. The three narratives are as follows.
1. Stretch and Bobbito’s friendship of 8 years and what lead up to them parting ways.
2. All the unsigned and up and coming artists who were featured on the show who at this point now 25 years later have sold an excess of over 300 million records.
3. A look at the vast listeners of the show. Some who we’re incarcerated, handicapped and at war in Iraq. The listeners get to share their perspective of what it took to get tapes of the show, listen and to participate in hip hop culture via Stretch and Bobbito’s lens.
Who Is Featured In The Film?
NAS, BIGGIE, WU-TANG, SHAWN “JAY Z” CARTER, BIG L, BIG PUN, EMINEM, CYPRESS HILL, BUSTA RHYMES, FAT JOE, LAURYN HILL, COMMON, Q-TIP, THE ROOTS, KRS-ONE, DAS EFX, RAEKWON, TALIB KWELI, PHAROAHE MONCH, BRAND NUBIAN, REDMAN, MC SERCH, SOULS OF MISCHIEF, CASUAL, KOOL KEITH, DJ PREMIER, PETE ROCK, LARGE PROFESSOR, O.C., LORD FINESSE, SHOWBIZ & A.G., EL-P, ROB SWIFT, CLARK KENT, CRAZY LEGS, ROSIE PEREZ, ANGIE MARTINEZ, MARC ECKO, SWAY, DANTE ROSS, BONZ MALONE, LORD SEAR, AND NYC’S PUREST LISTENERS OF HIP HOP RADIO EVER!
DIRECTED BY & WRITTEN BY BOBBITO GARCIA
PRODUCED BY OMAR ACOSTA
CO PRODUCED BY BOBBITO GARCIA & ADRIAN BARTOS
EDITED BY EMIR LEWIS, MARIAH REHMET
EXECUTIVE PRODUCERS NICK QUESTED & DAVID KENNEDY
MUSIC SUPERVISION DJ STRETCH ARMSTRONG
DIRECTOR OF PHOTOGRAPHY & ART DIRECTOR OMAR ACOSTA
ORIGINAL ART BY JOSE PARLA, LEE QUINONES, ERIC HAZE & STASH
Why Is The Film Just Now Coming Out?
There have been several attempts to make a film about the The Stretch Armstrong and Bobbito Show as early as the mid 90’s while the show was still actively running. The Editor of the film Emir Lewis stated his journey with the film started in 1993 as a fan of the show and a up and comer in the film business. Mr. Lewis would occasionally call into the show to let Stretch and Bobbito know how the show had kept him going and he would jokingly heckle them at times out of love.
At the time Emir worked at MTV and he and one of his fellow colleges both had Yo MTV Raps mic cubes and would use them to sneak into the clubs. The two were able to get permission from Stretch And Bobbito to stop by the station and film behind the scenes footage on behalf of MTV. But just like all the others that have filmed footage over the years they never got around to completing the project.
In 2013 Bobbito Garcia & Kevin Couliau released a documentary called “DOIN’ IT IN THE PARK: PICK-UP BASKETBALL, NYC” which became a big hit and garnered the two an impressive collection of awards. The films success lead to Bobbito being approached by film producer Omar Acosta about doing a documentary about The Stretch Armstrong and Bobbito Show. Bob reluctantly responded “Yo I done heard this like a million times before” but Omar was quick to follow up and the two quickly began to work on the film. Bobbito also reached back out to Emir to see if he would be interested in being the editor of the film and the former fan of the show and MTV editor could not have been more excited to do so.
Bobbtio stated the following in relation to the significance of the timing of the film “we also created the doc to celebrate our 25th anniversary we started the radio show October 25th 1990. The digital release is on vimeo October 22nd at so it’s our true 25th anniversary.
The film has already began to receive rave reviews and is postured to be a huge success.
“unbelievable!” – Jon Hock Emmy award winning filmmaker
“filled me with adrenaline” – Lyor Cohen, Rap Mogul
Official Selection BFI London Film Festival 2015
Official Selection Urban World Film Festival NYC 2015
How To See The Film
The films first digital release will be on October 22nd via Vimeo On Demand and will continue to be added to more digital media outlets moving forward.
The film is currently being shown at select theaters throughout the world. Check here for updated locations and details.
To stay current on all things Stretch & Bobbito please visit them here. They are currently coming out with lots of cool merch and re releases of show archives via cassette tapes and are even taking over live radio shows together!
How Did I Do?
Did you find this article to be informative? Do you have any favorite moments from the show you would like to share? I’d love to hear from you so make sure you drop your 2 cents in the comments section below.
Hey, why was there no mention of the graffiti artists and calligrapher on IMDB. Maybe I didn’t catch the credits well enough, but can you tell me who they are? Thanks, man!
Hey Isabel, I can’t speak on behalf of why IMDB failed to mention the graffiti artists but I did mention them in this article if you look under the credits section toward the end. DIRECTOR OF PHOTOGRAPHY & ART DIRECTOR OMAR ACOSTA
ORIGINAL ART BY JOSE PARLA, LEE QUINONES, ERIC HAZE & STASH
Thanks for reading and I hope you enjoyed the Stretch and Bobbito Radio That Changed Lives Documentary! 🙂