DJ Stretch Armstrong: “Nas was Always Bone-Chillingly Spectacular”

New York City’s  legendary late-night radio duo, Adrian ‘Stretch Armstrong’ Bartos and Robert ‘Bobbito’ Garcia, reunited last night to celebrate the 20th anniversary of their radio show. Bartos revealed to Niteside that while they have a long list of great guests that came on their show, Nas is undeniably his favorite. 

“Nas was always bone-chillingly spectacular,” Bartos said at the le Poisson Rouge club in the East Village last night. “When he was on, even before he was signed, you just got the sense that something really important was going on.”

Many of the artists the pair had on, including Nas and Fat Joe, were unknown at the time but are now famous hip-hop stars. Bartos said it has been interesting to watch them change and progress over the years.  

“I know them as broke, struggling artists,” Bartos said. “Some of them have a policy of positivity, but it’s very superficial as part of their strategy of being successful. Whereas some of them are just genuine and haven’t changed and they’ll see me on the street and practically tackle me.”

Stretch Armstrong and Bobbito’s show ran on Columbia University’s WKCR 88.9FM throughout the 1990s and catered to an insomniac crowd, airing from 1:00 a.m to 5:00 a.m. every Thursday. Doing a live show outside of the DJ booth was a first for them, and Bartos said it was an entirely different experience.

“The crazy thing about doing radio is you’re isolated in a room and you know you’ve got many more listeners than if you were in a club but you don’t see them,” Bartos said. “I think that’s part of the magic of the show we had, is we didn’t act like anyone was listening.”

Bartos said they had their show before the days of podcasts, online streaming and social media sites, so people were listening live on their stereos and calling in. But now, they’ve discovered a whole new age for radio with the Internet.

“When we did the show before, we weren’t in the digital age yet, so we didn’t have that immediate feedback,” Bartos said. “But after doing one now, we were a trending topic on Twitter nationally and the live streams were getting shut down from too many listeners. We wanted to feel more of that and so we decided to take it to a live venue and see how it goes.”

Live appearances may become a regular thing for the Stretch Armstrong and Bobbito show.

“Maybe [we will] do it again in the spring time at a bigger venue,” Bartos said. “Possibly a tour too. We’ll see what happens.”

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