ILL FRICTION pres 410 PHARAOHS-410 FUNK*check this out

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ILL FRICTION pres 410 PHARAOHS-410 FUNK*check this out

Post by Robbi on Mon Sep 08, 2008 2:43 pm

click here to listen/buy 410 PHARAOHS-410 FUNK

Funk from the house of Kenny Dope

It’s more than likely that anyone over 20 would have noticed the revival of late-’80s dance classics currently doing the rounds. Plagiarized, sampled, remixed or just plan covered you could be forgiven for thinking you back in a muddy field having spent hours driving around London’s M25 orbital trying to find the secret location for a rave, or across the Atlantic in a sweetly New York loft dancing to Junior or Frankie’s beats… a fact that doesn’t go unnoticed listening to 410 Pharaohs, Strictly Rhythm’s latest signings, whose unique debut album is a throwback to the hedonistic hip-house days of Mr. Lee, Fast Eddie and KC Flight.

To be fair, it’s unlikely that the trio from Baltimore, Maryland, were more then teenagers during those innovative years, yet Labtekwon, Jimmy Jones and DJ Booman have more then enough music heritage between them with their respective families steeped in soul and jazz fields. Labtekwon the son of Doc Soul Stirrer who discovered and mentored Weather Report and Phil Collins drummer Chester Thompson, and himself played in Count Basie's Orchestra and with the likes of Bill Withers, Sammy Davis Jr. and Dr. John. Little wonder then that 410 Pharaohs’ influences encompass everything from Jimi Hendrix, Thelonious Monk, James Brown and Al Green to KRS-One, Kool G Rap, Jazzy Jeff and even local house exponents the Basement Boys.

Friends since childhood Jimmy and Boo’ originally helped pioneer the Baltimore club sound in the early-‘90s with their rap collective the Dew Dew Kidz; Boo’s turntable skills the perfect foundation for Jones’ wordology. Across town Labtekwon - known for his abstract conscious underground B Boy lyricism - was one of the first in the city to use digital samplers (Booman would later DJ on Labtekwon’s 1997 album ‘Balti-Moorish Science’), In 2003 Labtekwon reached out to his old partner in crime and ‘Hammer Dance’ was the trio’s first collaboration; 410 Pharaohs had arrived.

Taking their name from the Baltimore area phone code they combined it with the word ‘pharaoh’, which literally translates to mean ‘great house’. “When used in the modern context it’s the title given to the Dynastic Kings of Kemet (the country that is now known as Egypt),” explains Labtekwon. “We combined the concept of being kings as well as being the makers of great house, so the name is actually a double entendre. Many folks seek to emulate gangsters, pimps and hoes, we seek to represent the greater legacy of black folk’s creative geniuses that were not afraid to invent and innovate. The first Dynastic Kings were the Black Pharaohs of Kemet, thus we are the first Dynasty Kings of the Baltimore sound.”

Also the first artists signed to Strictly Rhythm’s Ill Friction imprint – a new label run by Kenny ‘Dope’ Gonzalez - the Masters At Work also handles production chores on an album that has an emphasis firmly on what’s gone before. Little wonder there’s more then a passing nod to the days of experimental house and jackin’ beats of Kenny Dope, and the likes of Todd Terry in their prime, with Gonzalez known within the industry as a living encyclopedia of beats and purveyor of sonic masterpieces. “Kenny has been a legend to all of us in the Baltimore scene since the late-‘80s,” continues Labtekwon. “It’s been a longtime dream to work with Kenny after spinning so many songs he’s produced,” adds Booman. “It is really an honor to not only work with him, but to actually make him proud to believe in us, that’s the best part.”

The album’s a varied sampladelic smorgasbord blending classic disco sounds, with the more introspective Chicago sound pioneered a decade later, mixed up with plenty of hip-hop attitude and recycled beats. ‘Fresh’, the group’s debut single is similarly loaded with ‘80s reference points, wordy lyrics and tempos that rock to the rhythm in a vintage stylee. A theme continued on the electro-etched ‘Work It Out’ - a kinetic chemistry of stomping beats and party rhymes, while the percussive ‘Biterz’ hits you like a modern day slab of P-Funk laid siege at the hands De La Soul.

For over two decades Kenny Dope has made house music that rarely fails to hit the dancefloor head on. Initially by combining NYC’s then dominant Latin freestyle sound with the Windy City’s four-to-the-floor backbone, storming bass-heavy drum-kicks and a hip-hop-inspired use and abuse of disco era samples, he’s once more turned his attention back to distinctive rapid-fire samples and rugged, raw basslines, alongside a pounding kick-drum loops that throw back to the invigorating proto-house of yesteryear.

“The purpose of this album is to establish a new frontier in music as well as projecting the local musical identity of Baltimore,” picks up Booman. “The recording industry is stuck in a template that uses tracks that are quantized between 85-100bpm and using the same Triton and 808 synthesizers sounds, predictable rhyme styles, limited subject matter and redundant themes with no innovation whatsoever. It was easy to see that our style is the opposite of the mainstream, but it was something that many folks would enjoy. We were fortunate enough to be pioneers in the next era of hip-hop and dance. We are the ragtime, bebop, soul music and hip-hop for the post millennium. It’s not to be taken lightly there is no precedent. Welcome to Harm City!” 410 Funk
Ill Friction > 410 Pharaohs > 410 Funk

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