Wednesday, May 5, 2010


Is it just me, or does anyone else miss that whole Miami Bass/Custom Mini-Truck trend that went down in the early 90's? I'm not sure how pervasive of a cultural movement The Bass actually was, but my early high school memories (hazy though they may be) are populated with images of ridiculous, low-riding neon mini-trucks, bumping Bass Jams at impossibly low frequencies as they cruised "The Strip" in the small town where I grew up.
As a musical genre, Mini-Truck Bass-Hop had it all: slow, repetitive, easy to follow beats rarely interrupted by "vocals" or "changes", cool album covers (often featuring butts, cyborgs, outer space, chicks in bikinis, spray cans, or cyborg chicks in bikinis), massive distribution, mysterious, enigmatic artists, and lots of neon colors to lure in the kids. It was the ultimate in superficiality -- Music without music, whose sole purpose was to rattle the windows of your Nissan.

Join me today for a brief sojourn into the short and illustrious history of Mini-Truck Bass-Hop, a genre that had as much in common with classical minimalism as it did with any sort of popular music of the era. Of course, no actual music will be discussed today -- The Bass wasn't about that. It was about cool packaging. It was about 'Warning - May Cause Speaker Damage' labels. It was about a snuggy full of woofers, gullwings, dangle balls on the headliner, tandem axles, stickie outies and a dancing bed. Style over substance. The REAL SHIT.

BASS BOY's 1992 classic I Got the Bass, home to such epic jams as "Bass Boy Crazy", "Non-Stop Bass", "Bass Me Up", "I Got The Bass", "Blinded By The Bass", "Bass Wave", Mo' Better Bass", and "Funkin' Bass".

How 'bout motherfuckin' BASS PATROL?
These guys BASSically blew the lid off of the Bass-Hop world by actually rapping over their Bass jams, throwing a complete curveball at a genre unaccustomed to change. These guys had it all: butts, awesome cartoons on their CD covers (see below), style, but most of all -- BASS. Lots of Bass.
Their dystopic, far-futurist vision and use of technology as metaphor for man's struggle against the self was aptly summarized on the cover of 1990's Rock This Planet (below).

1992's The Kings of Bass

Below: Custom graphics on your camper shell = PANTY INCINERATOR.

BASS JUNKIE's game-changing 1995 release System Terminator, home to such hits as "Pump The Bass", "Man With The Bass", "We Got That Bass", "Prepare For Digital Bass", "Confronted With Bass", "G-Funk Bass", and "Bass Junkies Power (Lowest Bass on the Planet)". And of course, who could forget the heart-wrenching ballad "Bass Craft"?

BASS OUTLAWS: Illegal Bass, 1992.

Track list:

1. 3 Kinds of Bass
2. I Want Some Bass
3. Slow Down the Bass
4. It's Bass
5. Slo Mello Bass
6. Bass My Beat
7. Bass on It
8. Beau's Bass
9. In Your Bass
10. Boomin' Bass
11. Illegal Bass
12. Stereo Bass [Extreme Woofer Test]

TECHMASTER P.E.B. (Patrick E. Baker) was a Bass renegade who refused to play by the established rules of Bass. Mashing up low-frequency Bass with the robotic compositions of Kraftwerk, P.E.B. created a Bass sound that felt more at home in the discos of Berlin than the warm beaches of Sarasota.
Although he was considered something of a "nerd" by the Bass Cogniscenti, no one could deny the thump of P.E.B.'s ULTRA LOW BASS, and today the Techmaster is remembered as one of Bass-Hop's finest.

Above: Techmaster P.E.B.'s It Came From Outer Bass II, which contained such Bass anthems as "Dragon Bass", "Eurobass", "It Came From Outer Bass", "Invading Bass", and "Do You Like Technobass?"
Below: Bass Computer (1991), home of mindbending hits such as "Bass By Numbers", "Scratchin' Megabass Mix", "Techno Bass Beats", "Power Bass Ultra Mix", "Bassgasm", and "Outerbass Mix".

Of course, if it's 1994 and you're looking for a place to stick your new BASS PATROL disc, you're gonna need wheels.
The Japanese Minitruck Forum is a good place to start, but if you're having trouble locating the perfect 1992 Mazda Scrum there you can always check out the Old-School Mini-Truck Trends message board, too. If that fails as well, I recommend pumping the GREATEST MINITRUCK ANTHEM OF ALL TIME until inspiration finds YOU.

Above: BASS 305, "bad boys" of the Mini-Truck Bass-Hop world. Their Best Of album sold over 750 thousand billion copies.
Below: Who could forget DJ LAZ, whose 1993 Bass epic Journey Into Bass featured as its centerpiece the one-two punch of "Stick Out Your Butt" and "Freak Bendover"? And who could forget his trademark lazer-eyed Rottweilers?

DJ Magic Mike's "Power" controller doesn't even HAVE an "off" button!

Let us not forget the innovative DJ Magic Mike, who Amazon describes as "... the music's most crucial recording artist. An underground label impresario on the order of Master P, Mike's productions were much rougher than the slick Miami bass sound and pursued a gritty old-school vibe."

Above left: DJ Magic Mike's 1990 album Bass Is The Name of the Game which contained the timeless Bass jams "Feel The Bass Again" and "Drop The Bass (Pt. 2)".
Below: 1993's Bass: The Final Frontier, often considered to be Magic Mike's finest hour. This is where you will find the genre-defining gems "Bass to the Interprise", "Man With the Bass", "My Bass Machine", "Bass Check II", "Feel The Bass 4", "Drop the Bass (Live)", and "This for the Bassheadz".

Hopefully this post has served to educate you - at least a little bit - on the major players, the customs, the aesthetics, and the culture of Mini-Truck Bass-Hop. The overarching theme here is clear: there is nothing more fulfilling or rewarding in life than the consant pursuit of BASS. Spouses come and go. Children grow up and move away. Pets die. But BASS will never let you down. BASS.


Crankenstien said...

it's hard for me to get nostalgic about the soundtrack of middle school beat downs and cracker day in south florida.No fun.

Steven said...

I used to have a 1991 Mazda B2200 with a camper shell. Nice truck. Uncustomized - uncool. And my preferred listening was Entombed and Malevolent Creation mostly...

RyGar said...

My bAss is sore. What a bunch of BASSholes. Anyone up for some Bass fishing?

Spookywolffe said...

I think you hit the recommended daily allowance of "bass" within the first paragraph.

Hey, you forgot to remember the singing bass that hung on the wall and sang!

Mister Booze said...

This post is all kinds of awesome. I had a friend in high school that was really into bass. He used to build custom bass contraptions (see what I did there?) for peoples cars. He had one of those ultra bass CDs with the warning. He played the bass test which went from an inaudible 20 hz all the way up to 200. Around 80 is where the cones in shitty speakers would lock up. Hence the disclaimer. I lost contact with him after graduation; he went to school in Florida to learn the art of building bass. Good times!

Shelby Cobras said...

Crankenstien -Sorry to awaken bad memories, but answer a question for me: Coincidence?

Crankenstien said...

ahahahaha holy shit i forgot i ran into that comp along my travels and even thought i was in danger of having to change my name! Dr. Crankenstien might attack me in his booty bassmobile! The best part about those comps were the fat ass bikini babes. That is a funny coincidence.

cdg said...

woah, i had no idea that this subculture even existed. early ninties, you say? huh. was this just a west coast thing?

Shelby Cobras said...

I really don't know how widespread the phenomena actually was. It obviously existed in Florida, and spread to such isolated places as rural far-northern California. Doesn't seem like it was ever really well documented (even on the internet!), so I'm really just going off of memories here. Definitely a "thing" around '92-'96 in Humboldt County, I remember because me and some buddies recorded a "rap" dissing on mini-trucks around '97. What I wouldn't give to have those tapes back.

Erik Del Tigre said...

Did anyone else youtube this shit? BASS PATROL IS FUCKING AWESOME. I am totally blown away.

Check out Rock This Planet. It's like Daft Punk meets Zapp & Roger. Fuck yeah!

Here's the entire album, ripped @ 320 from cassette tape. Shit fucking OWNS.

I can't stop listening to it. And neither can my neighbors! BASS BASS BASS BASS BASS BASS

Crankenstien said...

i guess i should write something about it since i had first hand experience

Erik Del Tigre said...

^^^ Dude, just let these dope-ass jams speak for you.

Anonymous said...

Bass is the place.

Crankenstien said...

ground control we have some turbulence and are coming in for an emergency landing.

Anonymous said...

What about Power Supply: Bass Boom Bottom(& follow up LP More Bass More Boom More Bottom), M.C. A.D.E.: My Bass in It, & old school Dynamixx 2: Just Give the DJ a Break! Ahh the memories.