It may be hard to believe, but Indy’s long-running rap act the Mudkids are celebrating their 10th year together. They’ll perform an anniversary show Aug. 3 at Spin Nightclub. What started out as two guys — Tyler “Elp-Mass” Knapp and Russell “Rusty Redenbacher” Johnson — has bloomed into a full-fledged enterprise, with Brian “Skittles” Philps and Ryan “DJ Helicon” Hickey on board full-time, and the funk-improv quintet the Twin Cats joining in on stage.
NUVO: Ten years! What’s it like for you guys these days?
Redenbacher: It’s been phenomenal. It’s been a great time, as good as any time as I can remember. We’ve got this new band playing with us. It’s just a really good time to be a Mudkid.
NUVO: Tell us more about this team-up with the Twin Cats.
Redenbacher: We’ve been messing around with them since April, and this is going to be the first show with an organized set with those guys. We’ve got to do something different for the 10th anniversary, and this was a really natural progression for the group. There’s not going to be any turning back from here. Everybody knows how open we get with the freestyles; just imagine that with five more cats who can keep up with us!
NUVO: This whole thing started out with two guys, and now you’re four, plus the Twin Cats. How does all this change feel?
Redenbacher: It feels like a natural thing. Ten years is an eternity on a lot of levels. It’s two eternities in hip-hop. There’s no way people should still be into us, according to what every major hip-hop pub would have you believe, but we keep getting better and better. It doesn’t feel like anything has changed, but it feels like a lot has changed. I almost feel like the city is rooting for us. People have caught on, and I think they’re going to keep catching on. We’ve got about another 20 years of this, easy. The last ones to give up on us are going to be us. This 10-year thing will be a revelation. It’s exciting as hell being a Mudkid.