BIGru and Paja Kratak (Hood Vibes Only): “We want a relaxed vibe to reign in the hood”

BIGru i Paja Kratak | Hood Vibes Only festival

Serbia has been waiting for a long time for a real homegrown hip hop festival to appear on it, where all the scattered rap heads could “pay” for the hard earned respect, in one place. This year’s first edition Hood Vibes Only festival, organized by two brothers from Medaković, BIGru and Paja Kratakfinally filled this niche, and our journalist took the opportunity to talk with them about this important moment in the history of domestic hip hop.

Balkanrock: Hello Milos, hello Pavle! We are very glad that you agreed to give an interview, and thereby help to reduce the gap that still exists between rock audiences and hip hop music fans. Unfortunately, it is clear to everyone – the current situation in Belgrade is tragic, but despite everything, I hope you look at the immediate future positively?

BIGru & Paja Brief: We are to blame for everything that happened and befell us and our country, but I think it would be best if we return to normal flows as soon as possible and continue to look positively as much as possible.

BR: From a few videos on YouTube, to clubs full of kids who know all the lyrics, millions of views and a well-deserved place in the domestic hip hop pantheon. You will soon have a real festival behind you, and you still managed to stay down-to-earth – two ordinary characters from the area. All this indicates that your love for hip hop culture is still burning the same, since day one?.

BIGru & Paja Brief: We try to stay down to earth and contribute to hip hop culture and music as much as we can. That’s why we decided to organize a festival dedicated to that type of music.

BR: You must have felt that this is a niche that has been unfilled on our scene for years. But, specifically, when and how did the idea to organize an event of this scale come about?

BIGru & Paja Brief: Last summer, we organized our first big solo concert, which went great, and we made sure that the audience was very interested in this type of concert. With this, we believe that together we can reach a much larger number of people and turn this into a traditional festival, which the region deserves.

BR: Although hip hop is accepted quite well “by the people” today, you will agree that it is still far from the level of visibility it had at the beginning of the 2000s. With that in mind, have you encountered any difficulties in organizing?

BIGru & Paja Brief: Considering that we recently organized our concert on our own, we broke the ice in terms of organization and negotiations with sponsors. So this time we didn’t have any difficulties. We also believe that this festival will put hip hop back on track.

BIGru and Paja Kratak

BR: Judging by the names announced so far, the line-up will mainly consist of names that over the years cherish the original old school, boom bap, and related sound. And you yourself are known for a similar approach, with a strong g-funk note. What, for you, is the durability of the old school of rap?

BIGru & Paja Brief: Old school rap is a timeless sound that doesn’t adapt to trends and for this reason songs and albums are classics that have been listened to for years. The audience recognizes and appreciates our loyalty and devotion to the direction we have chosen.

BR: Everyone knows that the regional scenes are no less powerful than ours, the Serbian one. Will there be “reinforcement” from the neighbors, or even beyond?

BIGru & Paja Brief: Of course, these are exactly our plans and ideas for next year. We hope to bring names from the world rap scene, maybe if not next, at least in the next couple of years.

BR: On the other hand, this is a great opportunity to give new artists a chance to prove themselves. Do you have hope for future generations, and how will this be reflected on stage?

BIGru & Paja Brief: This year, we will provide an opportunity for young unestablished performers to perform at the festival, in order to motivate and encourage them to continue to strive and work. In a few days we will announce a “competition” for young MCs and we will choose a couple of the best according to our taste.

BR: Generally speaking, what kind of vibe do you want in the hood right now? That is, do you see this as an opportunity to send a certain message, especially to younger listeners, who will come to the festival?

BIGru & Paja Brief: We wish for a positive, relaxed vibe to reign in the hud, which will invite young people to a healthier way of thinking. We also want to give them the big event that rap audiences deserve. If this venture is successful, and I have no doubt that it will be, are you open to the possibility of this story continuing?

BR: As for your work, since it’s been a couple of years since your last long play, can we expect some new material in the near future?

BIGru & Paja Brief: It is most likely that we will release a new album next year, we are slowly working on it and gathering material.

BR: Finally, thank you for taking the time to talk to us! See you at the festival, and you have the last word!

BIGru & Paja Brief: Thank you! We are looking forward to your arrival, we hope that you will have a good time and enjoy the good sound! See you on June 9!

The full list of performers and more information about the festival can be found here, and tickets can be purchased by clicking on the link below: Hood Vibes Only | Atrium of the Belgrade Fair | 09.06.2023

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