Travis Barker: More Hip Hop than Hip Hop

Blink-182 drummer Travis Barker has had plenty of side gigs over the years. Box Car Racer and +44 both featured other Blink members, while a duo called TRV$DJAM included his friend Adam Goldstein. Known as DJ AM, Goldstein, of course, was with Barker in a Learjet crash that killed four people in September, 2008, and he died late last month in an apparent drug overdose.

Goldstein's death has overshadowed Blink's reunion and subsequent national tour this year, and the band has been performing their song “Down” in his honor. The recent MTV Video Music Awards brought a focus on his collaborations with Barker, as well. At the 2008 VMA ceremony the pair served as the house band, with Goldstein behind the boards and Barker on drums. After backing artists like Katy Perry, LL Cool J and Lupe Fiasco that night, they went on to release a pair of rock and hip hop mixtapes, Fix Your Face, Vol. 1 and Fix Your Face, Vol. 2 – Cochella '09.

Considering that he was a member of nu-metalish group Crazy Town and performed with emcees like Will Smith and Jay-Z, Goldstein's penchant for hip hop was well-documented. But Barker's affinity for the genre is less known. This is surprising, because he has built up an amazing resume as a rap producer and performer. With his appearance on G-funk godfather Warren G's upcoming album, The G Files, it is tempting to call Barker more hip hop than most rappers working.

His most well-publicized foray into the genre was probably his contribution to The Game's 2008 frenetic, blazing single “Dope Boys;” Barker's explosive drums are easily the best thing about the track. During Blink's hiatus he also fashioned a series of remixes of songs from everyone from Soulja Boy to Rich Boy to Flo Rida. (It's fair to say that the majority of them improved upon the originals.) Barker has also played drums on numerous rap albums and made beats for everyone from T.I. (!) to Black Eyed Peas. Additionally, he produced the first song off of Paul Wall's latest album, and the two have been known to perform together as a duo called Expensive Taste.

In any case, with Goldstein no longer with us, one suspects that Barker will continue on with these rap side projects, if only as a way to keep his friend in his thoughts. One hopes so, anyway.

Blink-182 perform with Weezer, Taking Back Sunday and Asher Roth 6:30 p.m. tonight and with Fall Out Boy, All-American Rejects and Chester French 6:30 p.m. Friday at Verizon Wireless Amphitheater. Both shows sold out.

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