Records, Hoops and Sneakers: Bobbito Garcia’s autobiographical doc Rock Rubber 45s makes its Philly debut this week

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Rock Rubber 45s | via Facebook

“Cutting and pasting is the essence of what hip-hop culture is all about for me. It’s about drawing from what’s around you, and subverting it and decontextualizing it.”
– DJ Shadow

There are few cliches in popular culture that get bandied about more than the term “renaissance man.” While the phrase may work as part of an easy promotional tagline, it does little to help us understand the complex ways in which individuals relate to and process culture. New York born cultural polyglot Bobbito Garcia is often referred to as a renaissance man, but a look into his backstory reveals much more. Known around the world as a DJ and label owner (the legendary 90’s indie rap outfit Fondle Em’ Records), writer, sneaker collector and Basketball historian, filmmaker and co-host of the greatest radio show in hip hop history (Columbia University WKCR’s Stretch & Bobbito Show), Garcia’s name rings bells in a variety of seemingly disparate corners of the music, art and entertainment worlds. In a time of corporate multiculturalism and cheap eclecticism, Garcia’s multifaceted career is the product of Hip Hop’s exploratory spirit and nearly 5 decades of New York street culture.

With his latest film, Rock Rubber 45s, Garcia takes us through an autobiographical trip his highly diverse life and career. The son of Puerto Rican parents, Garcia landed an internship at legendary Hip Hop label Def Jam as a youth. During this time he teamed with DJ Stretch Armstrong to form a partnership that would be the focus of his acclaimed documentary Stretch And Bobbito: Radio That Changed Lives. After Stretch and Bobbito went off the air in 1998, Garcia’s varied interests blossomed in many forms, ranging from his work as an arts and culture writer, his genre-spanning DJ sets of to a partnership to make sneakers with Nike.

Screening at Punchline Philly on Sunday July 1st (and immediately followed by a dance party featuring Philly’s own master of many trades, DJ Rich Medina.), Rock Rubber 45s will attempt to pull from all of these cultural touchstones to tell the story of what can happen when an extraordinary human being uses his curious mind to craft an extraordinary life.

Rock Rubber 45s screens at Punchline Philly on Sunday, June 1st; more information can be found here.

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