This extensive crew of producers and DJs out of Germany have been knocking out boom bap bangers for 20 years now, and they show no signs of slowing down.
From the humble beginnings of DJ Illegal (Manuu Rückert) and Det (D. Keller) making mixtapes at home and DJing small clubs, to their tyrannical compilation albums that feature a “Who’s Who” of U.S. underground rappers, the Snowgoons (along with members Sicknature and J.S. Kuster) have successfully created a signature brand within their sound; something that’s familiar, but also distinct. The way they substitute in and out of production duties with each other while simultaneously maintaining that sound is a true testament to their chemistry and tightness.
Although the Snowgoons released their first official project in 1999, their first breakthrough for major recognition came in 2007 when Babygrande Records released German Lugers. The album featured Sean Price, O.C., Last Emperor, Edo G and the Juice Crew’s Craig G, garnering the attention of true school hip-hop heads across the globe. Over the next three years they released Black Snow (2008), The Trojan Horse (2009) and Kraftwerk (2010), respectively, using the same working formula of sample-clad production and neck-snapping drums paired with an American MC for each track. These projects included collaborations with Heltah Skeltah, La Coka Nostra, Termanology, Apathy, R.A. the Rugged Man, Killah Priest, Defari, Crooked I and A.G. to name a few.
In 2011, they entirely produced the ten-track M.O.P. album Sparta. Both Brownsville legends sounded right at home over the European production, with fans heavily praising the cohesiveness of the record. Heading straight back to the lab, the crew then focused on an all-German release for the first time and dropped Terroristen Volk (2012) with a slew of MCs rapping in their native tongue.
The crew achieved the most notoriety however with their 2014 release #Wakedafucup, which also helped Onyx get back on the map. It was actually Onyx’s first album together in 11 years, and featured A$AP Ferg, Sean Price, Cormega, Papoose and Boston veteran Reks. The album was hailed as a consistent and grimy updated version to the classic Onyx sound that terrorized stages in the mid-90s.
The most recent Snowgoons project is also the most star-studded. Goon Bap (2016) has appearances by DJ Premier, Royce Da 5’9, Psycho Les, Ras Kass, Chino XL, Dilated Peoples, Method Man, Conway the Machine, The Doppelgangaz, Ghostface Killah and the late Pumpkinhead aka PH. Having already proved their dominance in the U.S. and German underground scenes, in late 2016 they took their talents to another continent, producing the annual posse cut from Australia’s premiere rhyme team “Golden Era Records Cypher” (with Hilltop Hoods, Briggs, The Funkoars, K21, Purpose and Vents) as a limited edition gold vinyl 10” record for Record Store Day 2016.
With a discography spanning over 34 releases in under 20 years, and a production resume longer than a phone book, there’s a good chance you’ve heard at least one of their beats, even if you’ve never heard of the Snowgoons. At the very least, your favorite rapper has.
European fans can catch DJ Crypt and DJ Illegal with El Da Sensei (Artifacts), Edo G, and Nine on tour next month.