The Sub Soldier Sound | Enter hip-hop’s parallel sonic dimension

By Kia O. Moore | +Subscribe |


The sleek Hpnotiq-filled glass glides erratically down the spirit-glass runway. Ripples pervade the sky blue luminescent liquid every time it inches toward the end of the bar. Neither Houdini trickery nor Ghostbusters II pink slime is causing this self-propelled beverage kinesics phenomenon. No, it’s just pure dynamic vibration.


You have just entered the Dubstep Zone…where body, mind and sound converge to cause unexplained body rockin’, head noddin’ and damn-that-shit-sounds-good faces.

Enter DJ Rusko and DJ Caspa: the Sub Soldiers. These London turntable veterans coax listeners into a parallel hip-hop sonic dimension known as Dubstep. This subgenre of electronic dance music is a blend of Jamaican deejay techniques, warped 808 drums, dark minor keys, syncopated snare snaps and recognizable music samples.

The reoccurring drum patterns and musical samples that compose a dubstep mix further divide the subgenre. The Sub Soldiers could be classified as urban dubstep because (a) everything associated with hip-hop involuntarily becomes urban and (b) I can’t think of shit else.

The Sub Soldiers have been dropping dubstep mixes filled with a-bombs of bass since 2004. The two have different approaches when crafting urban dubstep tracks. Hip-hop radio listeners should use Rusko as their introductory guide to the dubstep sound because he often dubmixes well-known hip-hop tracks into this darkly tone EDM genre. Rusko composed “Da Cali Anthem,” his rendition of Dr. Dre’s G-Funk classic “California Love.” He also revamped Kid Cudi’s “Day N’ Nite” and Kid Sister’s “Pro-Nails.” Rusko’s sound follows the hip-hop format of repetitious kick thumps and snare snaps laced with music samples. However, Rusko injects body jarring, subwoofer-friendly bass that could shock even the best car sound system.

Caspa on the other hand takes the focus off the music sample and redirects it to the deep sub-sonic bass sound. His bass is like a chopped and screwed version of Muppet character Fozzie the Bear’s joke finisher, “Wocka, wocka, wocka.” Caspa’s subwoofer “wockas” vary in pace and range, but are often accented with sound effects reminiscent of those heard in the 1988 classic Nintendo game “Mega Man 2.”

Dubstep is an auditory oxymoron to the hip-hop ear. It’s an old-new sound built from the bass drums, but warped to a level unfamiliar to the mainstream hip-hop crowd.