Adrian Bartos aka Stretch Armstrong is known to be a master of the high-octane, nightlife that feeds off the young generation of partygoers in every city that he visits. Inside Rec Room at The Gale Hotel in South Beach, the spot was thick with hotel guests and tourists eager to cook up a flashy post for their Snapchat story about their glamorous Saturday night at the club with the legend behind the wheels of steel.
After feeling out the vibe , Stretch played the perfect fusion of 90s hip-hop, jams from the early 2000s, several reggae bangers, and even some disco. He stunned the masses with classic hip-hop and reggae sets for over 25 years, and recently hit South Beach for a lavish party that folks in Miami are still talking about.
The 26th anniversary of The Stretch Armstrong and Bobbito Show just passed in October, and the hip-hop tastemaker is finding a new way to celebrate his revered radio show. After all, he did spend the 25th anniversary by releasing the critically acclaimed documentary Stretch & Bobbito: Radio That Changed Lives, which was co-produced by his partner Robert “Bobbito” Garcia.” One would find it difficult to top that kind of milestone, yet Stretch didn’t find it hard at all.
From the WKCR radio station at Columbia University to breaking major rap acts, Stretch has done so much for hip-hop. After reviving the show, fans of the duo have had plenty of new content to take in from the hip-hop icons.
The documentary is like taking a trip back in time when hip-hop’s rough exterior, yet passionate character thrived through the rhymes of talented, unsigned emcees like a Nas, Jay Z, The Notorious B.I.G., Busta Rhymes and more. The historical angle of the documentary is enough to entice any hip-hop head without a doubt. However, there’s another aspect of the film that he was “skeptical” about at first, yet Stretch has come to appreciate it.
“For me, I was more surprised by some of the things that ended up in the film rather than what’s not in it,” said Stretch as he sipped on his coffee in the lobby of The Gale hotel. “Like the whole spoken word part with Anthony Alonzo. In the 90s, I used to make fun of spoken word. It wasn’t my thing at all. It’s still not my thing. So when I learned that there was going to be a sizeable amount of time devoted to that, I was a little bit skeptical, but I’m thrilled with the way it came out. Anthony’s story is really compelling, moving and beautiful. It’s one of the more tender parts of the film. I was really pleased with that.”
While he rings in the anniversary with his trusted friend and cohost, Stretch Armstrong is exploring other ways to celebrate his tenure as a top notch DJ who has revolutionized radio and taken over nightclubs across the globe for over two decades with his sets. After pushing the documentary worldwide over the past year, Stretch plans to shift his focus on the release of his upcoming visual book while Bobbito remains hard at work on his next flick.
“Immediately following the release of the film, Bobbito and I left the United states for 14 weekends in a row to South America and Europe,” Stretch explained. “Bob’s working on his next film, which is in pre-production already. And I have a book coming out in December called No Sleep.
The Manhattan native recently collaborated with esteemed hip-hop historian, UpNorthTrip’s Evan Auerbach, to create a book filled with classic club flyers and quotes from the 90s. Each page holds a vintage collection of artwork from the personal archives of NYC DJs, artists, promoters, club kids, and nightlife organizers. But it’s not a just hip-hop based.
“It’s a book that chronicles basically the history of New York City nightclubs from ‘88 to ‘99 as told through club flyer art, but it’s from all scenes: hip-hop, house, gay, straight, freaky, everything. It’s New York.”