by Preston Peet
"Does anyone have a joint?" called out Le-Frost, the one "female" robot of the gangster rap robot foursome, 8-Bit, to the crowded room at CBGB’s gallery downstairs back in July, 2005. This gave my girlfriend, DJ Ness, the excuse to approach them on more than a "gosh golly, I’m such a gushing fan" basis and proceed to light them up with some of the best Strawberry Cough marijuana New York City has to offer. I myself earned a call out from the stage by the rappers one night later at the club Lit in Manhattan’s East Village, for having also smoked out the band, throwing a bit of Afghan hashish into the mix. This group’s members either smoke as much herb as they can, or they support those members who smoke as much herb as they can.
Two months later, more than a thousand bands converged on NYC, Sept. 14-17, for the CMJ Music Marathon (College Media Journal), mainly up and coming bands that are trying to draw attention, make a lot of noise, and get themselves signed. The band that I was most looking forward to seeing and hearing was 8-Bit, performing self-described “old school Nintendo rap.” This band is dangerous, assaulting the senses with graphic lyrics and extremely original beats and mixes, over which the four rap their robot hearts out while simultaneous putting every drug and drink into their bodies as possible.
Their official CMJ appearance was performed at Cake Shop in Manhattan’s Lower East Side, on September 16, filling the room with enthusiastic fans and several record label representatives, among them Epitaph and Geffen Records. Their second, unofficial CMJ gig was booked by DJ Ness at the Slipper Room, for the following night, at 2AM. With slightly goofy but fun choreography, the robots took the stage, periodically making their way into the crowd, rapping lyrics to songs like "Suck Ma Dick," "Eatin’ Cat," "I-Deez," and "Jerry Juice," among many others, turning the oddest, most mundane topics into instant classics of rap. Spacey-K, Anti-Log, Le-Frost and Robo-T, agreed to an in-depth interview but it turned into me chasing the various members around trying to get answers from extremely fucked up robots now wearing their people suits. They claim that they landed on our planet back in 2002 after their own planet, the Digital Planet, was destroyed in the "Analog Wars," when Analog took over, and now they make their temporary home in Highland Park, California, the "taco-truck capital of the world." Le-Frost does their choreography, Spacey-K and Robo-T create the beats, and the raps and rhymes are a collaborative effort.
Among recent accomplishments, 8-Bit recently remixed Beck’s "Hell Yes," which became an iTune’s Number One download for a short while in early 2005. "The song we did for Beck is ‘Ghettochip Malfunction/Hell Yes’ and it’s going to be the next release for his album," Anti-Log tells me. "They are shooting the video right now and it will be on MTV, MTV2, and Fuse. It will also be on like every radio station on the planet. In a month, every person who reads this article will know the song but not necessarily know that we did it." (This is because 8-Bit did not obtain a contract before recording their remix, a remix specifically requested by Beck, and in turn will not get credited for their work on the song.) The rappers were also nominated in the 2005 LA Weekly Music Awards as "Best Hip Hop/Rap Artist" too. Despite these triumphs, the band tells me "we are the same robots we’ve always been and we always will be no matter how famous we eventually become." They tell me they have no trouble handling "all the groupies," mainly dealing with them "while we create our music," which must add something special to the recording sessions. Putting out their music through their own label, Ninjastar Records (ninjastarrecords.com), they’re almost always on the road, claiming they never actually practice, "as we’re always on stage somewhere playing, so we really don’t have to practice, because we are literally always playing."
Preferring their natural form as robots then to when they must don their people suits, no matter what form they’re taking, the band tells me they are "always" working on a new record, the next one to be titled "Chrome." And they tell me they "really are as inebriated as we appear," although Anti-Log did have to ask me what "inebriated" meant, slurring a bit from both alcohol and the invited beating he took from a fan with a beer bottle handed to the fan by Anti-Log himself during the show. "Drugs and blowjobs" are their main focus, after their music of course, and this band can fucking party. Claiming that they are the only rapping gangster robots, they warn me to alert my readers that if they ever see or hear other robots, particularly rapping robots, to be aware that these are only posers, that 8-Bit are the only genuine article, and I’m willing to buy that. Not normally a major rap fan, I’m seriously taken with this band, both with their music and their attitude towards life on this planet. They mix hard-driving, relentlessly powerful beats and rhythms with hilarious lyrics that rip on the absurd and ridiculous around us in modern society.
They tell me that in their opinion, "prohibition of alcohol didn’t work. It created violence and corruption at a staggering scale. Marijuana prohibition doesn’t work either. Just hang out with damn near anyone and they will happily produce a bag. Criminalizing a
harmless drug while backing and marketing pharmaceuticals that harm people more than help them is an oxymoronical joke. The 8-bit robots don't subscribe to the drug policy of the US because it’s illogical. Robots don't understand and reject illogical information."
I myself am an old hand at doing drugs and staying out all night, but even I, a professional, had to really work hard to keep up with these young robots. Since DJ Ness had booked the Slipper Room show, we delighted in taking 8-Bit about the town afterwards, first to our own home, then to another apartment where we could all drink, snort drugs, smoke weed and watch the sun rise from the most beautiful patio imaginable.
After their CMJ adventures, 8-Bit intends to return to take on NYC as soon as possible.
PS: They’ll need a place to stay.