When it comes to the Rap and Hip-Hop scene, we always see artists reppin’ it hard from the East to the West coasts and even the Dirty South. Don’t ever underestimate the Northwest, though. Hailing from the 253 (Tacoma, WA), Island Trybe is here to blow your mind with their lyrics and musicality. Though their journey has been anything but easy, their close-knit family mentality and efforts to always remember their culture is what has kept them together and going on to pursue their ultimate dream as music artists.
Island Trybe started back in 1996 with Chamorro brothers B.O.I. and Y.Dz. YD explained that he “came about the group name [Island Trybe] from the Boo-Yaa T.R.I.B.E. – those guys were a big influence on us. They were the first Islanders in mainstream Hip-Hop. We took a little bit of where we’re from, the islands, and took ‘Tribe’ but spelled it T-r-y-b-e.” In his early stages of making music, YD started recording off of karaoke machines and writing to instrumentals. “My brother came through a couple of years later and started making the beats. He’s been making the beats for Island Trybe ever since.” B.O.I., which stands for Beatz On Instink, is definitely the mastermind in creating and producing Island Trybe’s sounds. “We started off making simple music,” said B.O.I. “As we got older, we progressed to more complicated-type sounds.” Practicing and perfecting their craft as rappers and music artists was put to the test with their first live performance.
“The first time we actually performed together, we were down in Oregon,” says YD. “I think I was about 16 or 17 years old. That was the first time we did a show, the first time we ever performed our music. I actually had to make the beat at the show. The keyboard I had, every time you unplugged it, the beat erased [laughs].” In the end, YD reassured that the performance went well. “Everybody showed us love afterwards.” Island Trybe began opening for various artists including fast-lyric-spitting rapper, Twista.
The group expanded as B.O.I. and YD welcomed two more artists, Les’sonz and Kuzzin Pizzo, to the Island Trybe family. They released their debut album, Marination, and their sophomore album, Fresh Off Da Grill, before tragedy struck. Just last summer, Les’sonz and Kuzzin Pizzo passed away within two weeks of each other. “That was definitely a hard time for us,” YD expressed. To lose half of your group just within such a short amount of time is devastating. To see these brothers get back up from such a difficult time and continue to live their dream and make music is admirable. As a pre-show ritual, the group says a prayer. “We always gather the boys up and say a prayer for Kuzzin Pizzo, for Les’sonz and that we have a good performance. Prayer really gives us strength for our shows.” Also, in honor of these two who have passed away, Island Trybe is planning on coming out with a tribute album.
B.O.I. and YD continue to make music and are preparing to release their third album entitled Bak 4 Secondz this summer. The first single from their album, “Blow Ya Mynd,” is already on YouTube and gettin’ mad hits from viewers! Expect more of their Reggae/Hip-Hop/R&B-sound fusion and bass-bumpin’ beats. “We let our music speak for itself.” Besides focusing on their third CD, Island Trybe hopes to head back to their homeland of Guam and do a show for their family, friends, and fans. They would also like to make a shout-out to all the Islanders who are working hard to make it in the music scene. “We always gotta make sure people know where we come from, to put a good name out there for all Islanders and to do it the right way. Shout-out to 3RP for hooking us up with this interview and to the entire Wet Coast Nesian Movement on the West Coast. RIP to Kuzzin Pizzo and Les’sonz.”
Article Written By: Pesi Kava
*YouTube Video Courtesy of IslandTrybe
*Photo Courtesy of Island Trybe