By Mike Romero
Provo rap group Can’t Stop Won’t Stop has been making bangers since 2009. The project of David Eff (David Peterson), Davey Hawkins, and Fresh Big Mouf (Aaron Hatch), they got their start after performing a night of hip hop covers here in Utah.
“The room went absolutely insane. It was an ecstatic experience. People were screaming and sweating and, to my surprise, smiling,” says David Eff. “When I came up on stage to perform a clean version of ‘Forgot About Dre’ with them, something just clicked. We immediately saw the potential.”
The group released their debut EP Kitchen Clean in 2011. Since that time, their music has garnered billions of streams between Spotify and YouTube. They have collaborated with the likes of SiDizen King and Linsdey Stirling, releasing consistently engaging pop/rap singles with an old school sound peculiar to Deseret.
As most active musicians know, millions of streams do not guarantee mainstream success. Burnout is real. “With our play counts crossing into the billions on YouTube, it looked like we might be able to actually live out a dream that neither of us had even previously dared to dream,” David Eff says. “We might actually be able to just sell our music and support our future families.”
Then streaming took over the world. Spotify’s seismic disruption of the music industry cut their revenue by 90%. Facebook doubled down on charging pages to advertise to their audiences, which further complicated things. After consistent releases, relentless shows, and the release of “Mighty & High” in 2015, CSWS took an extended break to regroup and live life. They returned in 2020 with the single “Fridays” and have released 2 more singles since then.
Interestingly, their next big break didn’t come from one of these new singles. Rather, it came a song from 2011’s Kitchen Clean. “Stop, Drop, Roll” was the first track from that EP. It’s also the opening number for the new DreamWorks Animation film, The Bad Guys, out April 22, 2022.
David Eff, Davey Hawins, and Fresh Big Mouf performed at The Bad Guys premiere party last night. “This is a major bucket list item for me,” David Eff says. Even though the group has had film placements before, none of them have been of this magnitude.
For a group that got their start in the pre-streaming era and went inactive for half a decade, they’ve still managed to average an impressive 80,000+ monthly listeners on Spotify. With a placement of this scale coupled with an already devoted fanbase, the future looks bright for CSWS.
It goes to show that the art that you create now can come back to bless you in unexpected ways – even 10+ years down the line.
You can support Can’t Stop Won’t Stop on Patreon here. Listen to “Stop, Drop, Roll” below. The Bad Guys is in theaters everywhere April 22, 2022.