Promoting Boston hip-hop is a thankless task. Yet Tim “T Banga” Damrath spent damn near every moment of his free time propelling local artists toward the spotlight. When Damrath died this past Sunday, the Bean rap scene lost one of its most enthusiastic supporters and most hard-working executive producers – a hip-hop head whose selflessness landed many underground artists in corners of the rap atlas they never before imagined.
You'd never know from his seemingly non-stop commitment to marketing Boston hip-hop that Damrath had a full-time day job with Sports Images in Woburn. In the warehouse there he entertained his passion for pro athletics, shipping autographed baseball cards, bats, and jerseys around the world and sometimes working marquee events for the major memorabilia company. Despite those commitments, collaborators recall an extracurricularly ambitious cat who appeared to be hustling music (on their behalf) virtually every minute of the day and who never asked for cash or recognition.
If this all sounds like generic bullshit, just take it from me. Since I'm a fellow cheerleader of Bay State boom-bap, Damrath reached out to the Phoenix on several occasions with tracks and albums he helped develop. As a result, this past year,we recognized his first Certified Bangas compilation and acknowledged that Damrath and his brother Brad, collectively known as the Banga Brothas, had an emerging powerhouse in the works. More recently, Damrath put us on to new material from Dese of The Camp, a North Shore outfit that the Stoneham native made his top commitment.
“The Camp had big plans for this summer, and he was a big part of that,” says Excetera, whose latest disc was done largely with help from his long-time friend. “He was constantly reaching out to other rappers and producers on our behalf, and helping us when no one else was helping us. We've been working with him for six years – this kid believed in us when nobody else believed in us.”
Excetera also tells a story about how Damrath once convinced New Jersey icon Pace Won to rip a track with The Camp – for free. On their own time and dime, the Banga Brothas helped Pace increase his online vote tally in an MTV competition – just so he and producer Mr. Green would collaborate with Damrath's homeboys. More recently, Damrath secured verses from extended Wu-Tang family member Shyheim, Statik Selektah affiliate Kali, and Rapper Big Pooh from Little Brother. And to ensure that his artists weren't making moves in the dark, Damrath even nurtured strong relationships with leading rap sites, including hiphopdx.com. If such actions seem unheard of in a day and age when everybody wants to rhyme and no one wants to do legwork, that's because they pretty much are. Indeed, it is not hyperbole to say that T Banga was an anomaly.
: Music Features
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