Ask any fan of Hip-Hop culture what the “basic elements” are and most will tell you MCing (rapping), DJing, Graffiti, and Breakdancing (B-Boying/B-Girling).
It’s rare that you will find someone mention the art of Beatboxing as one of the core elements though it has been present since the beginning of the culture. Few popular entertainers such as Doug E. Fresh, Bobby McFerrin, Rahzel, Biz Markie, and Michael Winslow of the Police Academy movies have been able to popularize vocal percussion. South Minneapolis’ DJ Snuggles aims to bring attention to the art with his new EP series and noteworthy appearances at home, lunches with Chuck D, and global performances.
With championships under his belt such as Cincinnati’s Scribble Jam Beatbox Championship, and the only vocal percussionist to ever win the Minnesota State Fair Talent Show, James “DJ Snuggles” Logan, has racked up a lot of miles for a former Edison High School student. As tour DJ for Brother Ali, he’s performed across the United States, Canada, Sweden and Germany. He’s opened up for acts such as Rakim, Kid Capri, MC Lyte and more. Still in his early twenties, Snuggles has been making serious moves for most of his life.
“I’ve been Southside Minneapolis all of my life. Since I was a young, young, younging. I started doing talent shows that lead up to winning the Yo the Movement City Wide Talent Show,” remembered Snuggles. “The prize was performing at First Ave. and even touching the stage where Prince had been was major. Word got out.”
On June 27th at Triple Rock Social Club in S. Minneapolis Snuggles along with MC Sean Anonymous will release a music video for their collaborate cut called “Weight” from for volume one of That Tape. That Tape is an EP mixtape series that combines beatboxing with music production. The 4-part series will be released for free digitally at the beginning of each quarter leading up to a physical CD purchase. The first of the series was released in February.
DJ Snuggles takes a music production approach that pays tribute to Timbaland, known for building drum patterns for songs by first beatboxing. Some songs are just the core vocal percussion while others have very elaborate production.
Volume One also features rhymes from Mally, Rapper Hooks and 1990 alongside production from LT and Big Cats. For “Weight” he collaborated with producer Big Cats for an unexpected smooth cut.
“I met up with Cats last year, early fall, he had these open style beats. I like a producer that understands the ambiance around the beat rather than the actual beat. Cats textures are crazy.” I met with him, went to the studios and it took me a month and a half to find out who to feature. Sean Anon he merked it,” says Snuggles describing how the how well the MC performed on the song.. “I needed certain tones and that sound quality to be right.” Snuggles also says, “Beatboxing is more intricate when coming up with new material. You don’t want everything to sound the same. You have to come from the spirit, to the brain, to the mouth.”
With lots of opportunity on his plate, DJ Snuggles is at a good looking spot in his young career. While opening up for legendary rapper/activist Chuck D of Public Enemy while DJ for Brother Ali, Snuggles was invited to lunch with Chuck’s family.
“I’ve had some stones thrown my way but you have to build to keep going,” said Snuggles
DJ Snuggles & Sean Anon’s “Weight” music video release party takes place Friday, June 27 at Triple Rock Social Club, 629 Cedar Ave. S. The doors open at 9 p.m. The event is 18-plus and cost $5 in advance and $10 at the door. The party features performances from K. Raydio, Illuminous 3, Manchita and DJ Willie Shu.