K-os, born Kevin Brereton, is a genuine neo-crossover rap n' roller who's music, much like your Ipod, might speak to hipster club kidz, pop
chart gazers, Canadian indie rockers, dirty south electronic rap renegades, or reggae rude boys simultaneously. As it should - his rhyme and
crooning skills took root in arguably the most polyglot and multi-cultural city on the planet, Toronto. And he's quite vocal about his not
belonging to any one genre - he belongs to them all. Says K-os: "I'm a historical opportunist who's grown up on everything from Dylan to
Marley to KRS-One... I've never seen myself as just a hip hop artist".
On Yes!, his 12 song deep fourth album, released in Canada on Nettwerk/Universal, the now Vancouver-based upstart has consolidated everything
he's done before, and chimed in where his head's at now, like a more musically seasoned audio auteur would, despite his past successes. "As
cliche as it may sound, this record really does take the best elements of my past work" he explains. "Strangely, three albums later, it feels
like I'm starting new again, with a new label, manager, and agent. This album is a return to me picking up drum machines, guitars, keyboard
and going for broke!"
The opening track "Zambony" is an electro-revivalist dance floor number where M.I.A meets Justice and The Cool Kidz in Amsterdam to dance and
get musically high - craftily using his keyboard as a drum machine, aided by haunting, ethereal vocals, strings and tabla, and spits some of
the tightest rapid-fire verses of his celebrated career.
A superb danceable pop album in the classic sense, Yes! leaves behind much of the social commentaries present on his previous albums. Surefire
stealth hit single "4321" utilizes the aesthetic template of hip-hop with a neck snapping break beat, but mashes up the other elements
you've always heard on K-os tracks like "Superstarr Pt. Zero" with DJ cuts, a hooky chorus, upright bass blasts, and trickling piano
plays. As its title slyly suggests, the song was intentionally recorded as a Bizarro rap response to his friend Feist's Grammy nominated
"1,2,3,4" hit (he's done remix work for her on the Let It Die remix release on "Mushaboom"). As he explains: "I thought how interesting would
it be to do a hip hop version of this song? It's about the battle of the sexes, where I'm rapping "what are we fighting for?" Is this
gender war going to happen forever? It's me saying I hope not."
K-os' uniquely subversive hip hoppy twist on popular music and culture is not surprising considering that over the past decade, he's regularly
synthesized a stunningly progressive musical gumbo of hits. Having to his credit two certified platinum-selling albums ("Joyful Rebellion",
"Atlantis") and one gold one ("Exit"), he's also won multiple Juno Awards (2003, 2005), MMVA's (Much Music Video Awards, 2004), Canadian Urban
Music Awards (2003, 2004), a Source Award for Best International Hip Hop Artist (2003), and even garnered a Grammy nomination in 2005 for his
collaboration with the Chemical Brothers on "Get Yourself High".
As a musician who's staked his reputation on playing the Angel's Advocate, and provoking reaction like most good art should do ("I was the
first Canadian hip hopper to smash guitars on the Juno's!"), this other part of his legend has grown with each CD: he's publicly beefed
with music critics, pseudo punk rockers, Hip Hop the genre itself, and rising world music rap stars. And that's just over the last 5 years.
"Burning Bridges" is the penultimate must-hear response track aimed squarely at critics, haters, biters and fans who want to get inside the
mind of this mad musical scientist. "I honestly don't mind burning bridges because I'll find my own way in the forest," he explains. "You
can't be a genuine artist and be worrying about burning bridges, because then you're just a product. Success shouldn't make us all soft and
coddled. There has to be somewhere to communicate subversive, candid feelings."
K-os has written and produced nearly every part of all three of his three previous albums, and this one's no different. As on his first three
albums, collaborations are few (in the past he's hooked up with Sam Roberts, Buck 65, and Kamau). And when he does on Yes!, its pure magic.
"Uptown Girl" features who he considers to be two of Canada's "greatest lyricists", Metric's Emily Haines and The Dear's Murray Lightburn. The
song is intended to in his own words "address the ghetto, but very clearly say that I wasn't from it". No stranger to sampling or re-tooling
massive hits of yesteryear, for today's purposes, in 2006 he recorded a stellar version of John Lennon's "Jealous Guy" for human rights organization Amnesty International.
The battle of the sexes is an underlying theme throughout. W.H.I.P. Cream and The Avenue both candidly speak to the navigation of male-female
relations, but with a twist. The former song, arguably the catchiest number on Yes!, provides a thought-provoking and unique lyrical upgrade
on how groupie-rock star relations could work in the future over piercing guitars and synths, while The Avenue, might remind you of The Police
when they were marrying pop melodies with roots reggae riddim arrangements.
Still very much humbled by his chart-topping success ("...how did crafting these songs in my bedroom end up being sung back to me by 10,000
people in a stadium the size of the Molson Amphitheatre again?"), the haunting "The Aviator" is the disc's most profound testifyin' tune where
the catchy hook: "I'm just a man, doing the best I can/I might fall short, but I love the unseen hand") is meant to remind his old and newer
fans that despite this impending global success he's only human, like the (Human) League.
On Yes!, K-os raises the proverbial bar, starring as equal part fire-spitting MC, crooner and composer. K-os embraces such contradictions, and it's probably what will make Yes! one of the year's most hyped releases, destined to become a favorite of music bloggers, club DJs, pop charts
2009 - SXSW, VANS Warped Tour
2008 - Opened sold-out national tour for Classified. Awarded Juno-nomination for Rap Recording of the Year for 'The Old Prince'. Headlined Skate4Cancer national tour. Short-listed for Polaris Music Prize
2007 - Signed with Black Box Recordings/Fontana North. Performed at Hillside Music Festival, Wakestock, S.C.E.N.E., Cutting Edge, LOLA, and others. Released Sophmore album, "The Old Prince".
2006 - Opened for Common, Lupe Fiasco, Del and others, toured nationally, performed at CMW, NXNE, and other festivals.
2005 - Released debut album, 'When This is Over' - funded with the proceeds from the 'Rhythm of the Future' competition
2004 - Won the solo male category of the "Rhythm of the Future" unsigned talent contest put on by 91.5FM "The Beat" in Kitchener-Waterloo. Winners were awarded a $17 500 recording prize.
It was only after having chosen the name Astronautalis for himself while in high school in Jacksonville, FL, that the rapper (born Andy Bothwell) began to make himself heard in the local circuit, winning battles and competing at the Scribble Jam. Though he was known for his witty freestyling, Astronautalis' musical influences and interests fell outside the hip-hop realm, as well, and he performed on the Warped Tour for three years. It was his rhyming, however, that he pursued while studying theater at college in Dallas, and in 2003 he self-released his debut, You and Yer Good Ideas (which was sold only at his live shows), with production help from friend and fellow musician Ben Cooper (from Radical Face). It wasn't until two years later that the album was picked up by Orlando-based Fighting Records (who signed him after seeing him perform), which reissued it and then in 2006 released his follow-up, Mighty Ocean and Nine Dark Theaters, a record that found Astronautalis moving away from rapping and more toward shoegazer-inspired indie rock. ~ Marisa Brown, All Music Guide
K-OS will be out with a new mixtape in a couple weeks and his video ZAMBONY was released last week. You can check that out here.
THE LAST HOPE is a hip-hop trio based in Madison, WI, and made up of a pair of dope MC's and an equally as amazing DJ, that have rocked venues around the state since 2006. The group has performed at such places as: The Annex, High Noon Saloon, The Brink Lounge, King Club, The Frequency, BaDa Bingz and The Stones Throw... just to name a few. And have performed alongside acts like Hanger 18, Glue, Paulie Rhyme, The Crest, Eyedea and Abilities and Clyde Stubblefield. The independently released, THE LASTHOPE ALBUM in 2007, was short in print but high in quality and was nominated for "Best Hip Hop Album" at the Madison Area Music Awards! In an ever growing and changing music community, The Last Hope stands as a sonic solution for the weary eared listener. With a combination of soul inspired melodies, rock driven riffs, and banging bass drums combining to form a solid foundation of hip hop for those tired of the same old sounds and artists. The Last Hope challenges the masses with their intelligent lyrical abilities, while pushing the envelope of performance with their stage presence and positive energy. This, coupled with the trio's driven mentality to succeed in not only pushing the limits of their music, but also providing the community with stable role models in the hip hop community, makes it safe to say that this trio will be a constant draw in the Madison music scene, as well as bursting into the spotlight on an international level for years to come.
High Noon Saloon
701A E. Washington Ave.
Madison, WI 53703
|Minimum Age: 18|
|Kid Friendly: No|
|Dog Friendly: No|
|Wheelchair Accessible: No|