hip hop Archive

Matisyahu on LSD (and Jazz and Reggae)

Musician, rapper and beatboxer Matisyahu arrived at his singular style of music via an unusual route. Growing up a Jewish kid in New York City, he says that the first music he explored outside his parents’ record collection was that of reggae superstar Bob Marley. “I loved the music and everything that went along with

Tank and the Bangas: Big Bang

One of the most intriguing and compelling musical acts to gain recent national attention is Tank and the Bangas. The New Orleans-based group combines spoken word, hip-hop, gospel and other styles into a unique sound all its own. Tank and the Bangas won the prestigious Tiny Desk Contest in 2017, and the group is currently

Natural Born Leaders: Their ‘Time’ Has Come

One of 2018’s most eagerly-anticipated Asheville, NC-related releases is the debut album from Natural Born Leaders. Even in an era of countless cross-genre mashups and hybrids, the music of Natural Born Leaders is difficult to describe, and it resists piegoneholing. The group’s sound starts with a relatively conventional rock instrumental lineup: guitarist Rex Shafer, bassist

Ozomatli: Building Bridges to Younger Fans

Genre-blurring band Ozomatli has long been recognized for its socially and politically conscious music. Combining rock, Latin music and hip-hop with positive messages, the Los Angeles-based collective has earned both commercial success and critical plaudits. And an important part of the group’s work continues to be its outreach to young listeners. In many cities on

New Release: Foul Mouth Jerk’s “Scofflaw”

Michael Capra – aka Foul Mouth Jerk – explains title and theme of his latest release, Scofflaw. “’Scofflaw’ is a prohibition-era term for someone flagrantly flouting the more petty crimes,” he says. And Scofflaw is a collection of party songs and more political ones. “I’m hiding a political stance under some party shit,” Capra says,

EP Review: DJ Audio — Shut it Down

The advent of low-cost, do-it-yourself recording technology has put the power to create music in the hands of a wider group of creative musicians. Knocking down barriers to entry has meant that the virtual stranglehold the corporate music industry has exerted is now far less absolute. But alongside those advances, these seismic changes in the

Album Review: Secret Agent 23 Skidoo — Mozartistic

At its best, kid-hop is a family friendly version of hip-hop, with lyrics full of universal appeal. Because while not everyone can identify with slice-of-life reality depicted in some rap and hip-hop, everyone has been a kid. Many still are. And at its best, kid-hop takes the form of the music made by sometime Asheville

Matisyahu’s Strategy of Risk and Reward

Once playfully describing himself as a “Chassidic reggae superstar,” Matisyahu is a difficult-to-classify musical force. And that’s by design: with roots in reggae, hip-hop and Jewish tradition, the beatboxing singer makes music that smashes genre classification. Across his six albums – beginning with 2004’s Shake off the Dust … Arise and through his brand new

Tuxedo: “Perfect is Boring.”

Tuxedo is a retro-funk duo fronted by two established artists. Mayer Hawthorne made his name as a modern-day soul crooner with a style firmly rooted in the music of his Detroit hometown. Seattle-based Jake One is a hip-hop producer and member of the famed Rhymesayers Syndicate. Both have earned Grammy nominations for their past work.

Brother Ali: Accentuating the Positive

If there is such a thing as a typical rapper, Brother Ali doesn’t fit that description. The Minneapolis-based member of the esteemed Rhymesayers Entertainment collective turns out rhymes that are often political in nature, but the 39-year old rapper is more interested in focusing on the positive. And that positivity comes naturally; Ali doesn’t employ