Flobots

There’s a certain kind of white rapper that I dig, and it’s usually the one that dresses respectably, speaks intelligently, and doesn’t have to tout an alias that starts with “Li’l.”  It also helps when the lyrics and flow are there, and even better still is when the music behind the words is worthwhile as well.

flobots2

Flobots

And you know, in today’s world you don’t even really have to play hip-hop music to be a solid rapper.  You can rock out, or dance, or even just spit a capella like slam poetry.  It’s all good if it’s done right, and the Flobots know how to do it.

Many of us remember the gimmicky hit “Handlebars” from last winter—a simple acoustic, four-measure drumbeat flow that sounds rather similar to the hip-hop side of Linkin Park, but unplugged.  Its chorus was pretty bare-bones, but the quick, tumbling current of lyrics made the song feel so smooth and circular.  It was something different, and catchy, and really, really good.

But that first album, released in 2007 and entitled “Fight with Tools,” has become somewhat forgotten in the past year as many underappreciated albums often are, despite the fact that songs like “Same Thing,” “Stand Up,” and my personal favorite, “Combat,” which uses a fiery looped voice track for the beat’s melody.  And that’s top of “Handlebars” and the album’s other single, “Rise.”

When certain people rap, it’s very clear that they have a true appreciation for the genre, and Jonny 5, creator and lead “singer” of the Flobots, absolutely has a true appreciation for the genre.  He spits intellectual rhymes and actually tries to convey messages in the songs he writes.  It’s not just about rims and bee-yotches in the back seat of a Range Rover.  Hard not to love music like that.

As of September, the group had finished recording their second album through Universal, slated for release sometime in 2010.  According to Jonny 5 it’s more of what we’re used to, just smarter, riskier, and Flobottier.

They can tie a knot in a cherry stem. They can tell you about Leif Ericsson.  They know all the words to “Des Colores,” and they’re proud to be Americans.

And, they’re awesome.

(I added that last part).

About the Author

Joel Brigham writes about stuff. It’s pretty much all he cares about. Stuff like music and more music. But he mostly cares about music. And also music.

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