Can’t Knock the Hustle
Talking 10 years of hip-hop classics with The Boom Bap's DJ Case Bloom
“I don’t have the benefit of distance. It’s still a blur, everything is still happening,” says DJ Case Bloom, promoter for Nashville’s long-running monthly dance party The Boom Bap, on the phone from New York City.
He’s still a little groggy from last night’s late-night gig, but there’s a spark in his voice as he recollects a decade with his boys Rate and Bowls, bringing classic hip-hop to the dancefloors of Music City.
Back in the days when hip-hop was still an outlier on the city’s social calendar, The Boom Bap incubated at Midtown haunt the Blue Bar, before branching out to Fluid in Philadelphia and The 5 Spot in East Nashville.
“Then,” recalls Bloom, “we did a stint where we were doing — I mean, this is the craziest period of time — we orchestrated these runs where we would fly to Miami on Thursday [host a Boom Bap], then go right to the airport and fly to Atlanta with the guest . . . do the party in Atlanta, then tear down, go to sleep, wake up, and drive to Nashville.”
As The Boom Bap crew darted around the Southeast, its reputation at home started to outgrow the cozy confines of The 5 Spot. While the Blue Bar years were populated by a small, insular crowd of rap nerds, the party’s move to the East Side saw The Boom Bap events become the hottest club nights in town, a party with a reputation for selling out early and staying packed and sweaty till last call.
“Everybody knew it was time,” Bloom says of the crew’s change in East Nashville venue. “The staff there, everybody was like, ‘It’s just wall-to-wall, just insanity.’ I don’t know, it was just getting crazy. Those were wild times, man. . . . I do miss those like really sweaty, like sweatbox moments at 5 Spot that were just so crazy, where like everybody was jumping. But then I’m grateful that we have the space now.”
These days you can find The Boom Bap posted up at The Basement East, bringing in some of the art form’s most respected practitioners, including Gang Starr’s DJ Premier, Philly legend DJ Jazzy Jeff, and Salt-N-Pepa’s platter-pushing high priestess, Spinderella. Even with more than twice the capacity of their previous East Side home, The Boom Bap has maintained its reputation as the sweatiest, funkiest place to be in Music City. But that doesn’t mean promoting hip-hop here is without its challenges.
“Nashville’s not really, like a DJ market. I mean, that’s the big thing,” Bloom says. “I guess we’re really lucky, because they trust us now, you know?”