Arts & Events

Overlooking The Sound: A review of KUPS radio shows

This week: Back on the Boogie, a music genealogy with DJ Lil’ Bito Thursdays at 6:00 p.m.
These are the first weeks of live DJs on KUPS 90.1FM The Sound. This is also the premier of Overlooking The Sound, a column randomly critiquing radio shows. To you DJs who are relieved to have gotten a show: don’t go lax, someone is always listening. Yes, someone heard the four syllable curse word you let fly last Wednesday, so thank you for apologizing, you morning hosts.
There were no such mistakes on Lil’Bito’s show Thursday. This is one of the most well thought out hours on KUPS. “Back on the Boogie” usually takes a look at a hip-hop song and spends the rest of the hour musically exploring the roots of that song. Lil’ Bito does this by playing the samples that the artist uses. Samples refer to part of a recording taken from another artist.
‘A celebratory closure of summertime’ described the premise of this week’s show. A well-defined theme never hurts to ground an hour of music and keep shows organized that would otherwise be chaotic. This one in particular stayed upbeat and funky.
Inspired by Chicago’s top 40 hip-hop radio stations we heard music from Frank Ocean to Destiny’s Child.
True to her mission of the show, Lil’ Bito’s listeners were also educated with musical genealogy. During this week’s show she took us through Kanye West’s sample heavy song “Mercy”. Starting with the island grooves track by Fuzzy Jones from the beginning of “Mercy,” Kanye goes on to use recordings from five different artists. One of the sampled artists was Big Sean. The other artists are less well known.
After lacing together all these different tracks, even a newbie to hip-hop feels like they know the tracks more intimately.
DJ Lil’ Bito has a great way of explaining the common threads throughout her show. She speaks through the smooth transitions of almost every song, guiding the listener to what musical refrain or quality to focus on next.
Some may complain that there is too much radio babble and not enough non-stop music. When the talk is interesting and well informed, though, there should be no uproar. The occasional “Yo yo yo! This is KUPS” takes you out of your musical reverie, but only for a brief amount of time before Lil’ Bito hits you with another jam.
The last element of this week’s show was its danceability. It is the rare KUPS show that you can dance through in its entirety. True to our strictly off the beaten path view that each Puget Sound student seems to share, there is not a Top 40 show which we could probably dance to for an hour. But we do have “Back on the Boogie.”
Audience relations could prove to be a challenge. 6:00 p.m. is usually a prime time for car listeners. Will more synthesized music at this hour drive away our community listeners? KUPS always has a phone line open to feedback (253-879-3267). The station is taking a risk by putting hip-hop on when in the past world music or folk has hit the airwaves. The risk is well evaluated, however. Lil’ Bito is a great DJ to ease our listeners into a new genre, especially since she guides listeners through each song.
For future shows Lil’ Bito looks forward to spending her typical three hours preparing and researching controversies about sampling and histories behind musical phrases. When modern artists use older music they are keeping that artist’s tradition alive, or are they? The interrelations between whom takes sound bytes from who makes this genre a large, twisted family tree.
Lil’ Bito will be DJing her third semester of “Back on the Boogie” Thursdays at 6:00 p.m. Wherever you may be listening from keep it locked on The Sound — especially when this girl is dropping the beats.