Posts Tagged ‘Hip Hop’

Eaddy and TheOGM of Ho99o9

Cut to a chilly Saturday night at Bowery Ballroom. The stores are closed, but whole street glistens with spray-painted names and signs. A young *somebody* in a hand-altered hoodie is having his photo and video taken by onlookers. A clown-faced goth waits for her friends in front of a tequila bar. Randoms donned in black get their last burn of rolled flower before getting their wristbands. Some fresh-faced kid tries to take a piss in the waning daylight while his friend stands guard. New York City.

I’m mostly a stranger to the many worlds of hip hop. Until recently I hadn’t found that band that gave me an “in” to start really looking around the alternative hip hop universe. Then M-S-G OG Soda invited me to a free show one Halloween night to see Ho99o9, a band he saw open for Korn. Holy fucking shit. I got to watch TheOGM tear a wedding dress off of his body while being assaulted with the most guttural cyber-queer industrial noise I have ever heard. It was glorious and terrifying at the same time. So when Soda told me they were coming around again, I knew I had to be there.

The show starts with Baseville, a duo of New Jersey locals known as The General and Hoddy the Young Jedi. It didn’t take long until the crowd jumped into a frenzy and a pit opened up. Baseville’s beats are deep and deliberate and throbbing with noise, and it suddenly occurs to me how close punk and hip-hop really are in terms of attitude and rage. “Never Nothing No More” sticks in my head as a song with a kind of frustrated gravity, while one of their other tunes held a repetitious refrain of “I’m working” that that caught me as a little mischievous. The songs rang quick and short and burned with noisy undertones. The set ends, and Soda comments about already seeing a bloodied face in the men’s room. “He’s like, ‘do I need stitches? Do I need them yet?,'” quoting a stage diver worried about the impact of his head wound on his viewing experience. That kind of night.

I had no idea what to expect from N8NOFACE, only knowing that my friends heard good things. I’m burning up the last sips of a vodka double when up on stage comes this man with a glorious moustache and crazed expression. He simply declares “I’m N8NOFACE and this is synth punk.” Seconds later this man is shouting his stories of drugs and sobriety, murder and suicide, all over fast-paced darkwave synths. Who the fuck brings Xymox to the hip hop kids? N8NOFACE does, with an austere DIY setup and his own devilish madness. He pulls his shirt up over his own head and beats his own face while screaming in a kind of excited rage, as if reveling in his self punishment. He switches between devil horns and post-punk shimmying. His gruff facade fits right in with the gangster genre, but he’s got a sense of humor about himself, too. There’s also something nougaty he’s trying to show you in his mentions of lost friends, or his request for kindness at his sole acoustic number. I immediately swarmed his table and bought the good shit. N8 is one to watch.

N8NOFACE

Then came 999. Past mixtures of punk and hip-hop were never my flavor, but the two genres become blood brothers here. Eaddy ironically sports an L.A.P.D. tee to poke at the law, a favorite song topic. The cacophony is noisy and rhythmic, and the crowd pumps in time. Someone jumps on stage at the start, brandishing a shirt that says “God is Gay” to “a roar of enthusiasm,” as Olivia Cieri of Invisible Oranges writes. Stage jumpers make OGM and Eaddy light up. “Motherfucking Action Bronson” they call one tattooed fella who jumps into the crowd. I worry that the crowd parted for his landing. Dark thumping beats vibrate the brain stem during fan favorites like “Bone Collector” and “Battery Not Included.” At one point, Hoddy sits on the side of the stage watching the show, still in his orange jumper, before using his Young Jedi mind tricks to make eye contact with the pit and launch himself into the crowd. I swallow my last double so I can free my hands to pump with the crowd.

A brief interlude as we approach the end of the show and TheOGM lights a joint and sways softly to Crystal Waters’ legendary house track, “Gypsy Woman.” I see his head and shoulders hanging backward in a cloud of smoky ecstasy, thick dreads falling down his back, *feefeefeeling* it. The lyrics thicken now that they’re nestled between Ho99o9’s biting assaults on police brutality, politics, and dystopia. He then smiles and then flirts at Eaddy, who strips off his teeshirt to reveal a tattooed musculature. Eaddy responds with a grin. TheOGM is repulsive and divine… and terrifyingly sexy.

Ho99o9 is just full of these wild juxtapositions, sometimes darkly comedic, causing them to pull up a really diverse crowd. “Punks, goths, queers and queens,” Soda says, noting the sprawl, a melting pot of subcultures others would think too insular to meld like this. In front of me, a duo of elder punks make space to avoid of the clutches of the pit. Across the floor, rave kids in bunnies and rainbows talk to hip-hop kids in all black streetwear. Kids in Los-Angelean baseball jerseys share the floor with platform-boot goth girls and genderfuckers, all united by the horror and political rage and dirt of lives lived in America’s economic taint. It seems it’s the one thing we all have in common.

Hoddy & Baseville BandcampBaseheadTV Youtube

N8NOFACE BandcampN8NOFACE Linktree

Ho99o9 InstagramHo99o9 Website

Fingathing are an English electronica duo of Sneaky (bass) and Peter Parker (turntable) that have been at it in the English underground for twenty or so years. Their mostly-instrumental electro-meets-hip hop sound is given further character by driving percussion and vocal sampling. The result is a groove like no other – spacey but dramatic, heady but body rocking at the same time. Their new 4-track EP Where You At? carries their deep red energy into a new era.

Where You At starts with “Devil Banger,” a smash of heavy metal guitar and turntable scratch that I could foresee devolving into a pit at a show, if their crowd were so inclined. It’s an introduction to a zombie dance party that continues into “Man Made Monster,” where the bass feels like cartoon monsters having the best basement rave. The monsters rise from the dead, possibly to feed on the brains that make up the cover of the EP. These visuals aren’t present in the songs themselves, but Fingathing’s album covers and art paint a NickToon panorama of characters and aesthetic details that make me, as a visualizer, so intensely engaged. I only hope they swing around NYC again, because visuals (by third Finga Chris Drury) are apparently a major part of their live show, and I missed my last opportunity.

May 26th 2015 Fingathing in Berlin Photo: Pablo Castagnola

The next tune is the titular track, “Where You At?” which brings that drama and suspense that feels much like an action scene. “Where you at?” the vocal loop asks, among sirens and steel pan drum over a vaguely Caribbean beat, that lends the notion of apocalypse, danger, and need to escape and find one’s people. This exemplifies Fingathing’s creativity at their best – layers of careful percussion paint so much flavor into a four minute masterpiece. Where You At? ends with “Disco Grande,” another simply delicious groove with claps and strings. Disco has always had a way of bowing heartstrings for aural drama, but Fingathing’s style makes “Disco Grande” feel devastating – like we’ve been listening to a groovy tragedy. The fates of the protagonists in my visuals are unknown, but damn is my body moving.

Fingathing produce story-laden soundscapes coupled with narrative concepts that make it completely unique. Add to that the sci-fi visuals, one might be tempted to make a comparison to Gorillaz except without Damon’s presence constantly pulling you out of the fantasy. Fingathing is one of my favorite bands to just lay back and feel – Sneaky’s double-bass has its own gravitational pull. Where You At marks another entry into a brilliant catalog. Don’t sleep on them.

Fingathing Bandcamp

Fingathing.co.uk Website

Fingathing Instathing