Q&A with Track 96

London’s premiere improvised Hip Hop group, Track 96, are coming to the Bristol Improv Theatre this weekend- and we cannot wait! We chatted to them all about how the group began, their Hip Hop inspirations and why everyone should try improvised Hip Hop.

Hey Track 96! Tell us a bit about your company. How and when did you form? 

Hellooooooo Bristol!

We are a group of improvisers that hail from different places in the UK (and the world) and are all passionate about hip hop improv. Our group originally formed over 3 years ago after many of us participated in a hip hop improv workshop. Immediately after, we felt compelled to continue mixing bars with improv beats. One of our founding members, Cartsten, hosted ‘rhyme & dine’ at his flat every Sunday. Funny enough, vegan food goes really well with rapping! After some months of dining and rhyming, the idea came to form a group and Track 96 was born.

Tell us a bit more about the show; what do you love about performing improvised hip hop? 

We take audience suggestions, creates a world of rhyme and rhythm.  We freestyle on the spot and, as improvisers, invent a story/scene that audiences can connect with.

There are many reasons we love hip hop improv! Of course, we get to make stuff up on stage with our friends. In addition, we like the challenge of creating never heard before track and bringing together rhymes that actually make sense 😉 Lastly, we love laughing along with the audience and showing how we can transform their suggestions into a song that may linger in their head for days, months, or years!

What’s your starting off point for the show, have you had any unexpected/ remarkable suggestions? 

We once performed in a shopping centre and, as we discovered, our audience was primarily young children. It was great to learn about what makes kids angry and incorporate that into a rap. Apparently, when a younger brother plays with his older brother’s toys…it’s a big deal.

Who are your greatest hip hop inspirations?

There are too many to list! Off the top, Notorious B.I.G., Snoop, Dre, Eminem as well as some more recent artists like Lizzo, Stormsy, Lin Manuel Maranda are also spectacular. 

We’re also really looking forward to your class on Saturday! What can people expect from the workshop?

During our workshops, people get the opportunity to learn some rapping/free-styling fundamentals and how to integrate these into an improvised scene. These workshops have a laid-back and fun atmosphere. Regardless of your experience level, we’ll ease you into the world of free-style and you’ll be laughing a lot!

What would you say to someone who’s thinking about trying improvised hip hop but is nervous about starting?

Just come along. We’ve taught many people over the years and have developed a workshop that eases people into the concepts and techniques of hip hop improv. To use a common improv expression, we’ll have your back & will make sure you have fun!

What’s your favourite thing about running classes on improvised hip hop?

When we have people that come in doubting that they can rap and, by the end of the class, see those same people spitting mad bars! It is great to see people progress and it is a privilege for us to be able to share this artform with others!