Call Him A Triple -Threat And You’re Being Disrespectful – An Interview w/ Skip Rip

*written by A’Damaged Pro for Electronica Life

The interests in Denver extend beyond football and compassionate care. There is a thriving EDM scene there as well. Starting in the underground but poised to attack the mainstream, one of Denver’s finest, Skip Rip, shares his adventure into the world of breaking and mixing.

Good news comes in all shapes and sizes, and I love getting it. I was talking to the head talent coordinator over at Uberground Production and he said that he had something special for me. He said this guy was the real deal, on multiple levels: a versatile DJ, turntablist, Bboy/breaker, and a humanitarian to boot. After a few videos and a few mixes, I was beyond convinced. I needed to meet this character. I was given a name, a phone number, and a mission. Skip Rip aka Dj Skip Ripkin is capable of igniting the dance floor and tearing up the decks, while still being one of the most humble individuals on the planet.

A’Damaged Pro: How did you get into spinning records and break dancing?

Skip Rip: I became inspired when I got my first stereo. It was a dual cassette boombox. I would record songs from the radio and try to make my own mix tapes. I was 10 at the time. At about 14, I was in a music store and checked out a sample station. I was regularly listening to music and always in search of more. This particular cd stood out. It had a snippet of some Dj scratches which was a sound I had always liked but it stood out much more this time. That’s when I knew that I just had to become a Dj. I didn’t really have the chance until 5 years later to make it a reality. The year was 1998. It was May and I recall a group of us decided to kill the boredom with craftiness. We combined resources which included a radio shack mixer, one belt drive technics, and a technics 1200. One of the friends was already a Dj so we had a few records to work with. From that day on I would be there as much as possible learning to scratch and mix, eventually buying records and equipment myself.

When I was 8, I had been introduced to breaking and only could do two things, neither too well. Those moves were the back spin and the wave. I learned the wave from my neighbor, Will, who was in high school at the time. It took some hounding for him to reveal that he had no more moves to show, so I kind of moved on with things.

I got back into breaking at 18, after I realized I needed to channel my rage into something constructive. Went to a prom after party and saw some heads getting down. That was it. Breaking was where I needed to be and I have been going off ever since.

A’Damaged Pro: How long have you been spinning, what equipment do you use?

Skip Rip: I have officially been spinning for about 15 years now. Currently I am using Tech 12′s with a Vestax 07 mixer, Serato Scratch Live, Macbook Pro, and M44-7 Needles.

A’Damaged Pro: Who were/ are your biggest influences?

Skip Rip: I have to say anyone who has pushed the envelope of Dj’ing and turntablism from its early days is an inspiration. Turntablism-wise: it’s Dj Magic Mike, Dj Q-bert, Mix Master Mike, The X-ecutioners, The Beat Junkies, Jam Master Jay, Terminator X, GrandMixer DST, Craze and Afrika Bambaataa.

Drum and Bass wise we have Mampi Swift, Mickey Finn, Roni Size, and Goldie.

From the house side of things it’s Miguel Migs, Dj Sneak, and Mark Farina.

A’Damaged Pro: What are some of your greatest memories/accomplishments?

Skip Rip: Wow… I have a lot of great memories! I have met quite a few artists, both Dj’s and MC’s. The best in recent memory is when Q-bert and Z-trip showed up to our party and cut it up with us after we rocked on stage with Q-bert at his show. It was epic to say the least and had the city buzzing for a while.

As far as accomplishments go, being in the 2010 Technics DMC US Finals in NY was a great accomplishment for me. With 3 days before the contest I decided to get to work with an all-vinyl routine. It was the last year before MP3′s would be allowed in the contest so that was kind of fresh.

Dance-wise, I was blessed enough to tour with a few of the Jabbawockeez before their debut on America’s Best Dance Crew and had the privilege early in my dance career to connect with some members of the Rock Steady Crew.

Here are a few more great memories:

• Performing at Red rocks

• Filled in as Headliner for Dj Dara/ opening for AK 1200

• 2008 Red Bull Hit and Run video contest Finalist

A’Damaged Pro: What is your favorite type of venue to spin at?

Skip Rip: I love spinning at underground spots and high profile parties, wherever they are. I also enjoy concerts and festivals. There seems to be an increased level of appreciation amongst partygoers at these types of events.

A’Damaged Pro: What is your favorite type of music to spin?

Skip Rip: Hip Hop, Funk, and Bass music, all equally, without a doubt! By bass music I mean D&B, Jungle, Trap, Dubstep, etc. Sprinkle in some reggae and dancehall and for me that’s a slice of heaven.

A’Damaged Pro: Who would you like to collaborate with?

Skip Rip: Damian Marley, Mix Master Mike, Q-bert, Diplo, Busta Rhymes…and maybe a few others.

A’Damaged Pro: Any new projects that you’re working on now?

Skip Rip: I’ve been working on an album for a while now with no real projected date yet. It’s going to be a genre breaker. It will include hip hop beats, yet also include influences from house, drum and bass, trap, reggae, dubstep and who knows what else. I want it to be unlike any album anyone has ever heard, in a good way of course.

I also teach break dancing as a positive outlet for at risk youth in Denver public schools with a very reputable organization. I have been working with them for about 7 years now, with great results.

A’Damaged Pro: Who are some people you would like to be on a flyer with?

Skip Rip: Q-bert, Mix Master Mike, The Roots, Chemical Brothers, Metalheadz, Gorillaz

A’Damaged Pro: Being a turntablist, do you find it easy to mix all types of music?

Skip Rip: Being a turntablist gives me a different perspective and it does help, yet I think that my love and appreciation for various types of music is equally as important.

A’Damaged Pro: What is the scene like in Denver?

Skip Rip: There are many words that come to mind…growing, hungry, under-valued, fickle, challenging, and fun. I think people here are reluctant to take a chance. Some do and those are usually the ones to keep things fresh and exciting. There is a real lack of support on the part of the clubs here. In most other markets Dj’s fare better and I’m not quite sure why great talent isn’t really rewarded or respected as it should be. I must admit that things seem to be getting better though and I look forward to the progression.

A’Damaged Pro: Where do you see the future of party music going? (EDM and Hip-Hop being one)

Skip Rip: I see it becoming more accepting of multiple genres. Electronic music has always been influenced by other types of music, that’s what keeps things moving. I see it growing and as a way of unifying people through the power of music. As far as Electronic music and hip hop becoming one, I don’t ever think that’s going to happen, yet the 2 genres have definitely influenced one another and will probably continue to do so.

A’Damaged Pro: “Trap” music is defined as an electro/hip-hop fusion.  Does this synergy open the doors for a unifying movement?

Skip Rip: Sure. It has in the past and at the very least will introduce people to new and relevant music on both sides of the fence that they may not have experienced otherwise.

A’Damaged Pro: What crowds bring the best energy?

Skip Rip: The underground party crowd. They dance, are mostly open-minded, and are ready to get down!

A’Damaged Pro: What is your ideal venue to play?

Skip Rip: A well equipped venue, with great sound and lights to match… It’s all about the lasers. Of course turntables, for me, are essential.

A’Damaged Pro: What is your Mission, words to the public.

Skip Rip: My goal is to bring you the best in skills and selection, whatever the event or venue. I look to display unique styles and combinations of tracks all with a turntablist twist for your listening pleasure.

In the words of Run DMC: I won’t stop rockin til I retire!

A’Damaged Pro: He teaches break dancing classes five days a week to children with mental health issues.

Skip Rip: They are actually just regular kids. There is a common misconception when you say mental health. Just like there can be good physical health and bad physical health, there is good and bad mental health. Statistics show that 1 in 4 people have a mental illness or disorder. It doesn’t mean these things are permanent either. For many these conditions can be treated and/or reversed. Very common disorders could be bi-polar disorder, depression, or anxiety. It can also be not as common like: obsessive compulsive disorder, schizophrenia, or paranoia.

The classes I am a part of help the youths understand who they are and encourages them to check their heads in day-to-day situations, leading to better choices and ultimately a better, healthier lifestyle that not only positively impacts them directly but the community as a whole.

A’Damaged Pro: What has been going on lately? (Westword, Qbert, Z Trip)

Skip Rip:

• In July I provided sound, spun and danced at the 13th Annual Colorado Dragon Boat Festival for the Cultural Unity stage. This year brought a record attendance with 115,000 people.

• I recently put together a few after parties. One party Z-Trip and Q-bert came through and at another, hip hop group, Souls of Mischief, kicked with us til the break of dawn.

• I just regained a residency in the University of Denver area, which officially kicks off next week on Sept 20th 2013. It’s a place called Crimson and Gold Tavern. I was the first resident Dj at the establishment when it opened in 2010 and rocked until early 2012. It has since changed ownership and I’m back to crank up the party madness with a soft launch of Fluid Fridays starting this week.

A’Damaged Pro: Shot outs. Crews. Last Words.

Skip Rip: Thanks to everyone who supports what I do. It is a way for me to share a piece of myself and share the work of others with the world.

Shout out to everyone down with Dj Skip Rip and the Against The Grain Network! Also shout out to my Lordz Of Finesse crew!

Please check out my mixes, like my page, give me feedback, or say what up! Keep an eye and ear open for me…


A’Damaged Pro’s final words…

I’ve always been of the mindset that people are inclined to gravitate towards situations that allow them to exhibit enthusiasm for the subject at hand. When you talk to Skip Rip, you can hear the enthusiasm in his voice when he speaks about any of his interests. It’s a truly beautiful thing when someone can have their passions become their vocation and then take it to the next level, but you don’t have to take my word for it.

Connect with Skip Rip on: Facebook | Twitter | Soundcloud