Wettworker and Strange Famous Records pay tribute to Cubbiebear on what would have been his birthday with a remix and lyric video for ‘Are You OK?’.
In 2017 Joshua Bailey aka Cubbiebear lost his battle with brain cancer. His contributions to indie hip-hop remain as an indelible legacy. His passing affected a close circle of family, friends and peers but reached far further through his music.
January 16th would have been Cubbiebear’s birthday. In tribute to the much loved rapper, producer, Wettworker, has teamed up with Strange Famous records to release a remix of Cubbiebear’s 2015 track, ‘Are You OK?‘. With it comes a truly unique lyric video concept that fits the tone of the track perfectly.
Truth be told? I wasn’t familiar with Cubbie’s work before today. Many of our readers probably won’t be. But the very point of this project is not only to pay tribute, but also to maintain the legacy of a much loved artist.
In the accompanying notes for the video, Wettworker shares his thoughts:
“One of my favorite MC’s once made a post asking for producers to work with. I messaged him and we began working lightly together on pieces of things. He released an album called “Are You Okay?” and the title track hit me so hard that I asked him if I could remix it. He said yes, sent over the acapella and told me that he’d recently received some pretty bad news and would love to hear what I made as soon as possible.
Six months later he passed away from extremely aggressive brain cancer. He never got to hear what I made. His name was Cubbiebear. He was from Baltimore. He had a serrated sincerity and angst in his music. Most sad and angry music, especially in hiphop these days, sounds like affectation incarnate, performative and homogenized beyond recognition, but Cubbiebear had a style about him that seemed supremely genuine, honest and disinterested in trends.
As a producer, I’m a complete snob and often find myself underwhelmed with most hiphop production, but every single instrumental Cubbiebear rapped on top of had such a strong command of emotion and usually did super interesting things that hit you out of left field. Listening to him was such a treat for me.
Lyrically, his songs just felt like actual poetry – and not in a reductive, hip, minimalist way – but in a way that made it seem like writing was the only catharsis and therapy he knew. I used to write exclusively in this manner myself before I overthought how many creative devices I could juggle in a project and slathered gimmick after gimmick onto my work. It felt truly rejuvenating and inspiring to see a person do it so shamelessly and bravely, regardless of how easy it is to judge someone for being vulnerable and real.
It was an absolute privilege to work with such an original, inspirational, and kind dude.“