Gig Seeker Pro


Chicago, Illinois, United States

Chicago, Illinois, United States
Band Hip Hop Alternative


This band has not uploaded any videos
This band has not uploaded any videos



"BBU @ Glasslands Gallery, Brooklyn, NY – 8/20/10"

As I write this, there’s a disgusting amount of humidity creeping up. It rained earlier and it’s making an already sticky summer more unbearable. Clothes stick to your back, water doesn’t sate thirst and you just want to fight to get indoors to some kind of controllable temperature right away. You want to be…not here.
Where I want to be, is Friday night at Glasslands Gallery, I want to be basking in some amazing dance music with hints of hip-hop and amazing hip hop with hints of dance as bass, bonhomie, and beer flow through me incrementally replacing blood with alcohol and euphoria and adrenaline. The performers moving the crowd, moving the dispassionate bystanders the hell out of the way because there are far more people in IT than there are the ones too cool for all of this. This dark joy in this dark club.
But it all threatens to get away from me here.

BBU a.k.a. bin Laden Blowin Up a.k.a. Illekt, Epic and Jasson Perez rapping along with Esquire DJing are a group of three (four) who pull in an expansive knowledge of revolutionary and antagonistic music to sample, riff, reconstruct and ignore in equal measures to produce music that is designed to destroy my ankles. The first time I listened to Fear of a Clear Channel Planet, I damn near dropped to my knees and became a believer in a Higher Power.
Three kids in Chicago had found a way to meld many of my musical tastes into one aggressive take on hip hop and Dance culture. Not so arcane as Das Racist, but not so entry level that the unstudied applicant will grasp it all on the first listen. It’s the kind of music that bloggers fall all over themselves to praise because in the songs, there’s the kind of music that those people would like to make if only they had some talent.
We can take “They” and “Bloggers” to mean “Me” if you like, because it’s hard to not find direct tropes within the music that I love. I can go through and pull from my classic house and techno records and show you the Cajmere in “Who da Fuck is You?” show you where they’ve lifted from Nirvana and Refused. Show you where the uses of house music and political thought meld and “Dancing is a Revolutionary Act” takes on meaning once more. Rescued from the archive of rave intellectualism. Dusted off, hastily prettied up like it hadn’t been hidden away for the past however many years.
Fear of a Clear Channel Planet is very, very, very, very, very, very, very good. And it is very free. If you don’t own it already, go and download it.
The opportunity to see BBU on the East Coast is a bit of a rare treat. The last time they were out here, they played The Studio at Webster Hall and I didn’t see them because, frankly, the name. “bin Laden Blowin Up” didn’t immediately lend sympathy to the act. Shades of black metal bands taking their names from atrocities in history and the like. For that appearance there was no Fear mix tape to push me in the right direction, I knew that I couldn’t let the opportunity slip through twice.
Popgun Booking managed to bring BBU, Das Racist, Tayisha Busay and Zebra Baby together for one night was incredible. It was like they read my mind of what I’d love to have play in one night and, brother; it was as amazing as you would hope.

Opening act was Zebra Baby, a three-piece ruinously foul-mouthed hip-hop duo with an ambiguous sexual preference whose clear-headed and open lyrical content is well matched to the duo’s stage presence. Fashion conscious considering leads Milky and Black Accent met working shifts at Urban Outfitters as much time given to image as was given to the music. On stage they bring in a drummer who competes against the beats of the backing tracks to fill the club with a punishing syncopation and stretched polyrhythm.
They had a CD available but I didn’t manage to get a hold of it and I took down Milky’s email address only to get it down wrong. The easy way to label Zebra Baby is dance music in the 90s house style but dark rather than diva, where even the act of love is fraught with potential peril and violence both physical and emotional. Zebra Baby’s sexual dynamic is strong and amazingly forthright without devolving to something within the realm of Lil’ Kim (no “I used to be scared of the clit”). Sex rhymes but not really on any kind of provocateur tip. Very well done all around. I need to get my hands on that CD they did and give that a few spins to solidify any final thoughts on Zebra Baby but the first impression was a great one.

Rather than try again to talk about how much I love Tayisha Busay, I’m tempted to just copy down all the lyrics to “Tonight” with it’s implicit command to “escape the monotony of the so called real world to enter the Narnia of Night Life” and write some personal essay about how that four-minute essay encapsulates what most of my life has been an attempt to accomplish, to try to show you how a stupid shallow dance act can be far more than it at first appears. Or I could tie “Soul Power” and all its r -

"DOWNLOAD: BBU - Please, No Pictures (feat. Das Racist)"

All up in your earhole: socially-conscious hip-hop, now with more pop culture snaps! One genius indie-to-mainstream crew (Brooklyn’s Das Racist) helps out another (Chicago’s BBU) by trading Miley Cyrus and Waka Flocka Flame shoutouts in weed rap’s newest anthem, “Please, No Pictures.” Throw in a boom bap beat from mash-up kings the Hood Internet, and you’ve got a campy sundae of greatness à la early Beastie Boys. It is seriously that good. Sadly, there’s nothing to buy just yet, though eager fans are encouraged to check here on an hourly basis and report back. - RCRDLBL

"MP3: BBU x Das Racist – “Please, No Pictures”"

Chicago hip-hop crew BBU and the stoner-dissertation trio behind Das Racist have collaborated on a song called “Please, No Pictures,” which was produced by famed mash-uppers the Hood Internet in one day and contains references to hitting a bong with Miley Cyrus. It sounds like how you might expect based on that information – that beat is great, all snaps and a little synth riff that sounds like alien communications. The gentlemen behind both BBU and Das Racist are, for the most part, smart and articulate rappers — race and class-conscious rhymes permeate the whole thing and, though it initially seems campy (“when you see me with your moms, gettin’ it on!”), once you get into the meat of “Please, No Pictures,” it’s an endlessly listenable package. Check it out. - Pretty Much Amazing

"BBU ft Das Racist, “Please, No Pictures” (MP3)"

Teaming up to blow your mind BBU comes in with Das Racist to become the 2011 truth mobile but I’m going to let you go ahead and stream the song for yourself. As for the song, exactly what we all need to hear after walking into a suburban Nordstrom and being followed around the store until we get lead out to the parking lot or driving to work with the car you love and having a cop follow you until you sweat so hard, get pulled over and get taken into jail because your license plates were slightly askew.

""Please, No Pictures" (Prod. The Hood Internet) PREFIX PREMIER"

While in Chicago this past year, Das Racist teamed up for a performance/recording session with Chicago's up-and-coming young crew, Bin Laden Blowing Up, aka BBU. The resulting track, "Please, No Pictures," was produced by the Hood Internet and recorded in one day, and we're premiering it right here right now.

BBU and Das Racist get into some serious snappy boom bap here, trading verses and rapid-firing pop culture references like crazy (the Waka Flocka Flame shoutout is pretty funny in this context). BBU could be Das Racist: Midwest, since they're concerned with race in America and pop culture with equal gusto and rhyming technicality. A perfect pairing, to say the least. And who knew that Hood Internet could do stuff that didn't involve mashups? - Prefix Mag

"Uncovered: BBU"

Naming your group after a suspected terrorist might cause some double-takes, but it’s about time hipsters tore off their keffiyeh scarves and started listening to what’s really happening in the world. Whereas Kanye West’s and Lupe Fiasco’s lavish lifestyles have catapulted Chicago’s hip-hop scene into the mainstream, Chicago’s gritty trio BBU (a.k.a Bin Laden Blowin’ Up or Black, Brown and Ugly) coast on underground appeal. A confluence of juke music, rap, and political rants, BBU’s singles incite a dancing good time. The threesome (Illekt, Epic, and Jasson Perez) began performing together in small and cavernous Chicago clubs two years ago. More eyes fell on the inscrutable group in May when Pitchfork named their infectious single “Chi Don’t Dance” a “bonafide summer jam.” With the lyric, “Chi don’t dance no more/all we do is juke,” BBU attempts to shed light on Chicago’s dance scene (or lack thereof).

Juke music formed in Chicago several years ago as an offshoot of house, but with hip-hoppers like Dude ‘n’ Nem and BBU, juke is now more popular than ever. The fast-paced music and fancy footwork features prominently into BBU’s effusive live shows. On “Somebody’s Watching Me,” the guys sample ’80s one-hit wonder Rockwell’s song of the same name (the track also includes MJ singing in the background) while rapping about the Patriot Act, giving the song a much needed attitude boost. The mood lightens up a bit on “BB Who” where they give a shout out to influences Marvin Gaye and Dead Prez and reference Chicago’s West Side neighborhoods (all the while encouraging listeners to throw their hands up in the air). BBU’s lyrics on social and racial issues garners comparisons to another incendiary rapper, M.I.A, but BBU’s frank statements veiled in dance music strike in a non-confrontational demeanor.

So far the budding group hasn’t put together a record, but a potential mixtape and a fall tour lurks on the horizon. It’s really only a matter of time before —excuse the pun — BBU blows up the world. - LimeWire

"Singles File"

BBU: "Chi Don't Dance"

Chicago outfit BBU turns in one of the year's most criminally overlooked tracks. The group's name (it's short for Bin Laden Blowin' Up) might have something to do with this. - Washington Post

"Political Party Rap"

In his 1994 single "Juicy," the Notorious B.I.G. turned the 1993 World Trade Center bombings into a punch line ("Time to get paid / Blow up like the World Trade"), and after 9/11 you could feel a lot of MCs fighting the temptation to do something similar. Maybe because that tragedy was so much larger, most had the good taste to steer clear. Even eight years later, the extended 9/11 metaphor Jay-Z attempts on The Blueprint 3—proposing an analogy between the crack game and the WTC attacks on the third verse of "Thank You"—feels pretty tacky. So it seems like a safe bet that the Clear Channels and MTVs of the world aren't ready for the trio of Chicago rappers who call themselves Bin Laden Blowin' Up.

Jasson Perez, Richard "Epic" Wallace, and Michael "Illekt" Milam often shorten the group's name to BBU, which can also stand for "Black, Brown, and Ugly"—Wallace is African-American, Milam is Puerto Rican, and Perez is both. But either way it's obvious they've got politics on their minds.

The name "was supposed to be like Public Enemy or the Dead Kennedys," says Perez. "It was supposed to be in-your-face." The music, on the other hand, is full of bangin' club-friendly hooks that help the message go down easy. "I was surprised, maybe foolishly, that we'd get confused for party-rap shit," Perez explains, "because we really tried to make sure our name was not glossy."

BBU make some of the best dance-floor hip-hop in Chicago, though, thumping with the restless energy of juke and Baltimore club, so they'd better get used to having their tracks mistaken for party-rap shit. Not everybody is going to pay attention to their lyrics or pick up on the touch of punk prickliness in their delivery. If you've only heard one BBU song, it's likely the lethally infectious juke-hop anthem "Chi Don't Dance," recorded last year and a steady-growing phenomenon since the spring. And it's a case in point: over a hazy, weirdly melancholy minor-key synth figure and a stripped-down beat that's almost double the tempo of a laid-back G-funk cut, a chanted mob vocal worthy of a So So Def Bass All-Stars comp tells us that "Chi don't dance no more / All we do is juke," and between choruses the three MCs trade double-time raps a la "Bombs Over Baghdad." It's such a simple, addictive track (and spends so much time talking about dancing) that you might be surprised by the content of those rapid-fire rhymes: "BET taught me to hate me," "Red black green / Let's get free," "No bitches, no hos / We ride with queens."

BBU came together two and a half years ago in a relatively politicized corner of the city's underground hip-hop scene, a loose circuit of DIY spaces where rappers and spoken-word artists tend to spit their diatribes about social injustice to other rappers and spoken-word artists. Both individually and as BBU they were regulars at Quennect 4, an activism-minded arts space near North and California, and until recently—maybe nine or ten months ago—they stuck mostly to DIY shows for ideological reasons. Now they're trying to bring the conscious message of Bin Laden Blowin' Up out into the larger world. They've put out all their songs for free through MySpace and other online outlets, and that's also how they plan to release their first mix tape, which they hope to have finished in November.

"These dudes," Milam says of his partners, "they love to go to a straight-up hip-hop show and see, like, Atmosphere and get down to that, but then they're like, 'Damn, man. I still have all this energy,' and they'll run off to a Flosstradamus show and dance and have fun. It was like, 'How can we bring those two worlds together and not be lame about it?'"

"We want music that we can send to our cousin or whoever's locked up," Perez explains, "and they can relate to it and get down to it and have it not sound like a Mos Def thing."

I figure that's as close as he's going to get to saying BBU want to reach fans who don't hang out with white kids—the three of them are hardly hostile to the north-side scene, but they don't want to end up roped into it either.

For BBU, though, what's more urgent than avoiding the hipster-hop pigeonhole is bucking the stereotypes attached to conscious rap. "We want to push hip-hop forward," Perez says. "We all felt like that Beatminerz shit, that 88-Keys shit, was dope, we fucking love it, but that shit got caught in a box, and that box was a coffee shop, nag champa, and whatever the fuck it was."

"A lot of cats can MC or whatever," says Wallace, "but can you turn out a beat that's at 180 BPM and spit some conscious shit?"

On "We Came to Dance," BBU prove they can do just that. The song actually runs at something closer to 185 beats per minute—a flurry of looped hand claps, woozy synths, and rapid-fire bass a la B-more house—but the lyrics read like something straight out of the nag champa ghetto, mentioning raised fists, Fela Kuti, and Nina Simone and breaking the beat down for a shout of "power to the - Chicago Reader

"8/10 Pitchfork Best New Music"

Gangstas don't dance, they boogie. Chicago doesn't dance anymore either, apparently, but only in a certain sense. Every genre that the Second City has left its indelible mark on, from blues to house to hip-hop, has subscribed to a different set of criteria when it came down to actually moving it. Hip-hop outfit BBU (which is PC-short for Bin Laden Blowin' Up) are the latest in a long string of Chicago musicians who cherish the subtle style and substance evoked from a simple lean, shake, or percolation. "Chi Don't Dance" does carry the cadence of a regional hit (and not just because of the Lake Shore Drive shout-outs), taking a simple idea and spinning it into something heartening and communal, a flavorful medley of call-and-response, spitfire rhymes ("MTV gave me ADD, BET taught me to hate me") and beat structures so primal that even the shyest of partygoers will be forced to show us what they got. Trying to meld pieces together that should lock perfectly into place but often don't, BBU fuse flute-y, Radio Slave-ish synth rolls with a double-dutch two-step that suggests that this brand of boogie will soon spread coastal. "Chi don't dance no more, all we do is juke," advises the crack-addictive, Goodie Mob-inspired shout-along hook, but word to the wise, don't take it too literally: Juke, shimmy, rock, bounce, do whatever the fuck feels good. You're now officially grooving to a bona fide summer jam. - Pitchfork Media

"Chi Don't Dance"

Don’t you just love Chicago? I do. I had to work there for a handful of months in 2008, and I really enjoyed my stay, but more than anything I enjoyed the music scene in Chicago. The Windy City is famed and notorious for its deep culture. Ground-breaking architecture, legendary crime, and gorgeous art can be found in Chi-Town, but my favorite, and I mean my favorite part of Chicago is the music scene. I’m not a local, but a tourist who may have overstayed his welcome, but from what I gathered, Chicago is known best for the glorious hip-hop legends she has given birth to; and its easily given credit has the come to Hip Hop’s new school. Chicago also has an impeccable electro/dance music scene that I came to love night after night. Of course, some of my favorite memories of Chicago were when these two styles mixed within themselves, and to my surprise, it happened often.

BBU (or Bin Laden Blowin’ Up or Black, Brown and Ugly) are next in the long line of exquisite Chicago talent that is about to blow up. In their self-released single, “Chi Don’t Dance,” BBU showcase a raw energy and caliber of originality and skill that hasn’t been seen since Chicago’s own Cool Kids, Lupe Fiasco, and dare-I-say, Kanye West. - Pretty Much Amazing

"Barometer: Ben Taylor; Danger Mouse, Sparklehorse & David Lynch; BBU; J Tillman; Marina and the Diamonds; Black Lips"

Ben Taylor Wicked Way

The new single by the singer-songwriter son of James Taylor and Carly Simon is a tongue-in-cheek tale of honest lustfulness.

Danger Mouse, Sparklehorse & David Lynch Dark Night of the Soul

The unlikely trio are weirdly brilliant on the eccentric title track of their controversial new album.

BBU Chi Don't Dance

A great bout of shout-along, hip hop from Chicago.

J Tillman Steel on Steel

Stand-out track from the Fleet Foxes drummer's recent solo album, Vacilando Territory Blues.

Marina and the Diamonds Seventeen

Upbeat, keyboard-happy pop reminiscent of Kate Bush. She may sound East European, but she's from Wales.

Black Lips Starting Over

A typically lo-fi slice of Fifties-flavoured scuzzy pop from Atlanta's mischievous and lovably chaotic garage rockers. - The Independent

"Bin Laden Blowin' Up: "Chi Don't Dance""

We ran into Jason Perez of BBU last night at the Evil Olive, and he told us about the strong response they've been getting from their Goodie Mobish "Chi Don't Dance". Pitchfork gave it an 8 out of 10, not to shabby from an outlet known for pissing off artists with their reviews. The track's definitely a favorite at our offices as well, and we can finally drop it on everybody. Grab it below, and you won't be disappointed. - Ruby Hornet


Fear of a Clear Channel Planet (Self Released)
Please, No Pictures (Single - Self Released)



BBU, the politically correct abbreviation for Bin Laden Blowin’ Up or Black, Brown and Ugly, are not terrorists, and not your average cool guys looking for the controversial-band-name shock value. Rather, they are a Juke-infused, B-More-inspired trio of Hip-Hop activists tossing out sounds somewhere between MIA and Dead Prez that come from the heart of Chicago. They are a product of the 80s, survivors of the inequitable public policies of the reactionary Reagan era, and three conscious laureates that are bubbling up from underground hype to main stage recognition to share what they have coined as “Revolutionary Juke Music”.