Pete & Bas: Redefining “Old Heads”
“Old heads” have increasingly become an enemy in hip-hop as the artists and clientele get younger with each new generation. You don’t have to go back far to remember 90’s-era hip-hop fans viciously ripping Soundcloud era “mumble rappers”. J. Cole and Eminem crafted entire albums around dissing the subgenre, cementing a rivalry between old-school and new-school. Who better to bridge the gap between these two warring tribes than 70-something-year-old rappers Pete & Bas.
Originally from South London, Pete & Bas have exploded onto the scene of U.K. grime and drill music. With unmistakable chemistry and authentic flows, it’s hard to believe these two grandpas met just a few years ago. Though much of their past remains a mystery, the duo has revealed bits and pieces of their life story.
Prior to rapping, Bas was a lawyer and spent some time serving in the army. Admittedly, he’s an exceptional piano and trumpet player, teaching piano for several years prior to meeting Pete. Pete was a local postman and advertiser who, rumor has it, also sold stolen cars on the side. He stumbled upon one of Bas’ piano lessons and the two quickly became friends. But how exactly did this lead to a late-blooming career in the U.K. grime scene?
Not surprisingly, Pete was inspired to try grime by one of his grandchildren. He started listening to hip-hop and enjoyed it quite a bit. Shortly after, he went to his friend and musical savant Bas and the two teamed up to make grime tracks. Though they get assistance from their grandchildren with beats, production, and updating U.K. slang, Pete & Bas write and record all original tracks.
Pete & Bas released their first track “Shut Ya Mouth” in 2018 on Youtube through the channel Grime Report TV. Viewers instantly revered their lyrical skillset. Pete’s gruff, raspy tone and Bas’ deep voice complement one another fantastically, particularly when they’re trading bars back and forth.
The duo went viral on Twitter a few weeks ago following their appearance on the Youtube show Plugged In with Fumez The Engineer.
Now you must be wondering, how do these old geezers perform live??? The energy at their shows is closer to an underground mosh pit rather than a subtle nursing home. When asked about performing live, the duo had this to say:
“Our shows are always bloody mental. Bas stage dives, he almost broke his leg once. I’ve punched some geeza in the face and then kissed his forehead and brought him up on stage. We like to walk in that room and bring the whole crowd onto a whole new level. We tear it up and can promise anyone that comes will have the time of their life.” – Pete
“Next time we’re at a live show I’m gonna get so smashed I might knock out the DJ. Can’t bloody wait.” – Bas
The duo has a tour lined up across the U.K. this upcoming October. They recently released their first official project, Quick Little Mixtape, on April 23rd. Coming on the heels of going viral, both the tour and mixtape are sure to continue the unprecedented rise of Pete & Bas. A duo like this has never existed in any subgenre of hip-hop previously, thus bringing new meaning to the term “old heads”.