24 Jun O-Dub Raps climbing in music – The Joy Trip Project
One of the great pleasure of putting together this podcast every week is finding those amazing individuals whose work bring art and culture together to tell the story of adventure. Unfortunately it’s not often that I can make a more direct connection to the active lifestyle through the performing art of music. But more two years ago I became acquainted with the work of climber and rap artist Kris Hampton, a singer known as O-Dub. His name was derived while a blending his love for music with his passion for climbing wide cracks on rock walls commonly called off-widths.
“I was recording songs in a studio in a bad neighborhood in Cincinnati. I was the only white that recorded in the studio,” O-Dub said. “And I came out of the booth one day to record a song…the song “Off-Widths.” And these thugged-out guys with white T-Shirts down to their knees are all staring at me like I’m an idiot. Like what is this guy talking about?
“They understood the spirit of the song, but they didn’t have a clue what I was talking about. So they caught onto the word off-width and started using it like ‘off the hook’ or ‘off the chain’ like ‘Man! That was off-width.’ So they used it all week while I was in there recording. And they started calling me off-width and then someone shortened it to O-Dub and it just went from there.”
With topical lyrics and bouncy jams authentic to his own experience Kris O-Dub Hampton brings the art of song writing to the sport of climbing. Through his rap songs he’s creating new anthems to both inspire and chronicle the life of adventure but with a modern twist that still’s reminiscent of the poets and ballad writers in the classic style of the mountaineering tradition.
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