Origins is a recurring new music feature in which an artist charts the influence of their latest hit single.
Ryan Hassan is a drummer and DJ whose spent his career supporting rappers and electronic outfits like Tinie Tempah, Clean Bandit, Fat Man Scoop, and more. It’s never easy for a drummer to pummel his or her way into the spotlight, but the ravenous Glaswegian is ready to step out on his own. Hassan’s been studiously cultivating his own sound when not lending his talents to others, and with beats in his quiver he called upon rapper Kofi Stone to help him bring it to life.
“I really wanted to move forward from the original live show that I was doing and I knew the best way to do that was by introducing original tracks,” Hassan says in a statement. Hassan and Stone met while supporting Tinie Tempah in 2013. “We were at the hotel and we spoke about collaborating,” he continues, “and I played him some beats and then from there it was always in my mind to do the right track with him.”
Stone’s nimble, ravenous vocals pair perfectly with Hassan’s bombastic style, the pair’s mutual relentlessness giving way to “Bomb Squad”, which Consequence of Sound is premiering today. “I’m just trying to be peaceful,” Stone spits, but there’s nothing peaceful about Hassan’s crushing drums, the song’s staticky beat, or the chorus, which promises to “drop bombs on these rappers/ They got paranoia.” Both performers exude a palpable, combative energy in the song’s music video, which you can watch above.
For our latest Origins feature, Hassan details the punk and hip-hop influences that helped him create “Bomb Squad”. Check it out below.
Kanye West — “Black Skinhead”:
I’m always listening to the beats in tracks and for me “Black Skinhead” has so many influences from different styles. The punk rock feel with sampled drums is a feature of “Bomb Squad” that was taken from Kanye’s production methods. If you listen to the live drums on their own in “Bomb Squad”, you would think they’re from something way heavier with the massive toms going through the verse. Once we’d mixed in the 808s, it pulled together the rock/hip-hop vibe we were going for. Also, the bass line is majorly distorted and aggressive sounding, like a lot of the tracks on Yeezus. It was also important for Kofi to keep the energy high, we didn’t want to give the audience a chance to relax with this track!
Travis Barker and the Cool Kids — “Jump Down”:
I’ve been a huge fan of Travis Barker since I heard him play with Blink-182 when I was a kid. He always manages to play beats you don’t expect, even at the tempos Blink songs used to be! In recent years he’s done a lot of collaborating with hip-hop artists and remixing hip-hop tracks, so as an artist he is a big influence for me. When it came to mixing “Bomb Squad” we had a listen to the drums and samples in “Jump Down”. You can hear this in the drum fills before the choruses in both tracks. When making the “Bomb Squad” video, it was important to me to take influence from this video also. I think the relationship between The Cool Kids and Travis is captured perfectly. I’ve known Kofi for a while now and I wanted that to come across in the video.
Beastie Boys — “Sure Shot”:
To be honest I could pick any Beastie Boys track and find some sort of influence in what I do. “Sure Shot” is just a classic though. These guys are masters at sampling and looping drums. Some of their tracks have crazy amounts of loops weaving in and out through the song but “Sure Shot” has a simple live sounding loop. The flute sample is so laid back but mixed with the rhythm and the vocal the whole vibe is in-your-face, classic, energetic hip-hop. The way the Beastie Boys create such great choruses out of rhythm is amazing!