KRIS HAMPTON, BETTER KNOWN BY HIS HIP-hop handle, “Odub,” drops hot joints about climbing like no one else. While he makes a living painting murals, he is better known for his rap music. His tunes range from original tracks that deal with serious personal issues to more lighthearted parodies that poke fun at the climbing community.
Such was the case last year when Odub released “Not All Roses,” which criticized Dean Potter’s controversial solo of Delicate Arch, in Utah. “Not All Roses” became so popular on the climbers’ forum that Potter’s attorney reportedly sent Odub a cease-and-desist letter, though nothing transpired from it.
Odub has lived in Cincinnati his entire life, the Red River Gorge is his home crag, and he loves offwidths. He says his proudest sends are of the Vedauwoo offwidth Squat (5.12b), and the offwidths Hidden Dragon (5.12c) and Country Lovin’ (5.12b) in the Red. (Go to www.rockandice.com to watch Odub send Hidden Dragon.) Odub balances his work with taking care of his 10-year-old daughter, Kaitlynn, and climbs about six days a month. The music, he says, is just a serious hobby.
HOW DID YOU GET THE NAME ODUB?
A group of thugs heard me recording my first climbing song, “Offwidth.” That became the buzzword around the studio and eventually it was shortened to “Odub.” It stuck.
YOU’RE KNOWN AS A PROVOCATEUR. HAVE YOUR LYRICS HAD ANY CONSEQUENCES?
Strangely enough, a certain professional climber who preaches freedom of expression hit me with a cease-and-desist letter, mainly because he didn’t like how I freely expressed my opinion.
WHAT DID YOU DO?
Posted the letter on the Internet. The next morning, I got a call from the attorney involved, who asked that the matter be considered closed. I made another song, a little more personal. You can find both songs on my newest CD, I Know … Dyno.
WHY DO CLIMBERS LIKE TALKING SHIT?
That’s easy. Climbing is an ego-based sport. Yes, it can be about spirituality, individuality and connecting with nature. But we’d also never try harder, never report what we’ve done and never advance the numbers if it weren’t for ego.
DO YOU HAVE A FAVORITE AMONG YOUR LYRICS?
Concerning climbing, it would have to be:
Left foot’s in the forest, right in the urban jungle
Traddie at heart, damn right I’m rough and tumble.
I HEAR YOU’RE DATING A SALSA INSTRUCTOR YOU PICKED UP IN HER CLASS. GOT ANY GOOD PICK-UP LINES?
I can dance. I don’t need pick-up lines.
WHAT’S YOUR BIGGEST FEAR AS A CLIMBER AND A PERSON?
As a climber, I fear that there’s not enough time to do everything I want to do. As a person, I fear that I might somehow turn into the kind of father mine was. The fact that I haven’t, so far, has been my biggest triumph.
WHAT WAS SO TERRIBLE ABOUT YOUR CHILDHOOD?
I wouldn’t say it was terrible. I just had a deadbeat dad and a mother who was probably too young, even though she tried her hardest. Typical story, really. It can either make or break you. It made me. There’s a song, “Dear Father,” on my site. It tells the story.
WHAT REALLY PISSES YOU OFF?
People who talk a big game and can’t back it up. Hypocrites. Posers.
WHAT GETS YOU STOKED?
When I see people push their limits. I asked my daughter how hard she wanted to climb. She answered, “Harder than you.” That gets me stoked.
CAN YOU LEAVE US WITH A RHYME?
Some of you, you had the audacity to dis
Now I’m on your iPod playlists, your favorites
I make this look easier than 5.6, surprise it’s
Another stroke of genius
Stuck in your head just like a crux sequence
Can you believe this?
You thought it was corny
Now I see ya checkin’ the Internet for me
It’s obvious you adore me, but I won’t call your bluff
I’ll just let ya act hard and tough.