Hometown: Oakland, CA
Bas-1 is a multi-faceted practitioner of Hip-Hop in its rawest form. Although recognized worldwide for his emceeing skills, he has had a hand in all of the elements of the culture and possesses an undying devotion to the movement.
His foundation was forged early on when he began doing the “Robot” in the late 1970’s at house parties with cousins and family. He was later introduced to “Waving” in 1980 and has maintained a strong involvement with Popping ever since.
When Breaking swept throughout the Bay Area in the early 80’s through films such as Flashdance, Bas-1 picked up on it and took to the dance. Soon after, he also became involved in aerosol art, writing under names like Menace, Blend, and Madphat.
He wrote his first rhyme on July 9, 1985, with the intention of being an emcee. With his mind made up and his focus set in, he quickly excelled at his craft–developing a lyrical style that was known for its ferocity, flavor, and originality.
His stature as an emcee quickly grew throughout the Bay Area. By 1989, Bas-1 was working with the likes of Dion Evans (producer for 2Pac) and many other respected artists. In 1993, he was on Digital Underground’s “Return of the Crazy One” release. He was also a member of the Underworld, which would become known as the Living Legends; was the creator of the Bay Area rap crew Cytoplasmz (Cyto-P); and was the original producer/mentor to Japanese rapper Shing02.
It was through his heavy involvement in the underground Hip-Hop scene that Bas-1 eventually met and became a part of Style Elements in 1997. He became widely recognized as the voice of the crew, making appearances on videos, hosting live performances, producing music for shows, and touring with them throughout the world.
In 2001, Bas-1 debuted his full-length album entitled “For the Mentally Astutue: Theory of a Throw Up”, which was produced in collaboration with Fanatik. The album is considered the world’s first Elemental LP, given its consistent representation of the four core elements of Hip-Hop throughout the record.
In addition to his solo recordings, Bas is also a recognizable figure in the turntable scene, due to his collaboration with the likes of Q-Bert, DJ Swamp, DJ Flare, Swamp, Rhollie Roll, and Roc Raida (RIP). His voice has been heard on countless DJ break records, the most popular of which is Dirt Style’s “100mph Backsliding Turkey Kuts.” He also named nine of the tracks on Q-Bert’s classic album “Wave Twisters.”
Other credits to his name include being a contributing curator and adviser for the Rock-N-Roll Hall of Fame exhibit in San Francisco, being named as part of Urb Magazine’s “Next 100” in 2002, and being a part of the groundbreaking radio series “Skratch Attack: I Want My Battle Record Back You Bastard!”
Perhaps the most defining feature of Bas-1, however, is his vocal and unrelenting advocacy for the elevation of Hip-Hop culture. He has lectured on the subject at several universities throughout the world and continues to serve as a mentor to upcoming young artists. He also carries on his work in the community as a member of Mighty4 and the Universal Zulu Nation Waset/North Star Chapter.
For Bas-1, Hip-Hop is a way of life, a spiritual calling. Every aspect of the culture is incorporated into what he does and he is unapologetic when it comes to maintaining the integrity of the art. As he himself explains it, “Before most people were into Hip-Hop, I was here contributing to the culture. Long after most of these people are gone, I’ll still be here.” Meaning Behind the Moniker
The name Bas-1 (pronounced Boss-swan) derives from Botswana, the northern neighbor to South Africa which was center stage in the 1980’s struggle against Apartheid. The name came to him in 1990, as he became more aware of the suffering of those who may be elsewhere, but was still his DNA. It is a reminder of consciousness and the struggle to end injustice