There has never been an anomaly in hip-hop quite like the southern trio CunninLynguists. Sampling genres from psych-rock to blues, New Romantic to polka, they have been musically compared to UGK and Atmosphere in the same breath. They have toured and shared stages with Kanye West and Aesop Rock to equal success. They have produced for Lil' Scrappy as well as KRS-One. They have crafted songs with international soul superstar Cee-Lo Green and politically charged indie-favorite Immortal Technique ... on the same album. CunninLynguists have eschewed categories, boxes and labels for 6 years, 3 albums and 2 official mixtapes, all while having what XXL Magazine described as the "Most Hated Name In Rap".
He's won a string of distinguished battles, though he's far from just a battle rapper. He's garnered a rep for his signature, rapid-fire delivery, yet he's considerably more than just a fast rapper. He sings and produces-though not quite a singer nor producer-and is the founder of QN5 Music, though you wouldn't just call him a label head. He's the artist you can't quite categorize.
Perhaps most impressive is that he does all of these things, and well. With a background as colorful as his talents, Tonedeff grew up in Chicago, IL, before moving to Miami, FL, for the remainder of his adolescence. While it was in Miami that he began recording and performing, it wasn't until relocating to Queens, NY at 21 that the well-traveled emcee really began making noise. He won a string of battles, including the Braggin' Rites MC Battle and NYC's notorious Da Cypha battles, to name a few. At the same time, he built a name for himself by opening for esteemed acts such as the Common, Royce Da 5'9, Blackalicious, Beatnuts, Brand Nubian and Rahzel.
Futuristic Mastermind? Female Magnet? Fairly Magnificent? Freestyle Majesty? While the world ponders the meaning behind the initials attached to the end of PackFM's moniker, after the release of his debut solo album, whutduzFMstand4?, FM will stand for Finally Makin' it.
When Substantial was recording his debut album, ...To This Union a Sun Was Born, he was driven by adversity. The Maryland native was struggling to balance school with a budding music career, was homeless at times and still reeling from having buried more than ten friends and family members.
The resulting album--produced by Nujabes and Monorisick of Hyde Out Productions and released in October, 2001--earned Substantial international critical acclaim and a particularly devoted following in Japan, where it was recorded and distributed. ...To This Union was a top ten seller for two months at Virgin Megastores in Tokyo, Japan, and outsold artists such as Ja Rule, Jermaine Dupri, Faith Evans and Angie Stone in November. The album was dedicated to his late father and niece.
In the years that followed, Substantial -- real name Stan B. Robinson-- released a slew of singles and featured appearances, choosing to remain an independent artist to maintain creative freedom. In March of 2007, however, he officially joined the like-minded roster of independent hip-hop record label QN5 Music, whose artists are both close friends and frequent collaborators of his.
A synaptic overload of afropunk/hip-hop/funk/rock/psychodiscobilly. Whichever box you seek to put him in, he explodes out of.
Kokayi (Carl Walker) is a Grammy-nominated singer/songwriter, emcee, producer and educator. Pronounced "Ko-Kah-Yee" (or KOKE for short), this Washington D.C. native takes his name from the Swahili word meaning "to summon the people". Musically self-sufficient and versatile in ways that are reserved for upper-echelon talents, he produces his own music, writes his own rhymes, sings from the gut, and is self-taught on several instruments.
Saturday Beatles Brunch