In case you forgot, or didn't remember in the first place, today is Cinco de Mayo. And what better way to celebrate Mexico's victory over the French army on May 5, 1862, than by copping the new album from Oakland's BRWN BFLO, which hit stores this morning?
Their eponymous release is a little reminiscent of a more-conscious Cypress Hill. Except constant references to mota are replaced by frequent mentions of La Raza and Cesar Chavez' immigrant labor movement. And the fact there are three emcees (and one DJ) in BRWN BFLO. The comparisons prove most apt in the sense that the group offer an original, Latin-tinged take on hip-hop, both lyrically and production wise. It's a combination that will have you yelling "fresca!," even if you don't speak Spanish.
I had the opportunity to build a little bit with BRWN BFLO before their Slim's show last Friday, when they opened up for Zion-I. Have to say, they came across as really nice guys. One comment in particular stood out: "I worked harder on this than I have on anything in my life," one member said about their new album. "And I went to college."
Opening slots are tough, but though few in the audience were familiar with BRWN BFLO's musica, they got the crowd hyped with their energy onstage during their brief set. The next night, their official record release party at the Uptown, was a different story. The near sold-out crowd was specifically there to see them, and their performance wasn't only longer, but more complete and satisfying in every way. They opened with a theater-like skit about being on the bus, and proceeded to rock the crowd for over an hour in a set which may have established them as the next truly innovative hip-hop act from the Bay you need to check for. By evening's end, the stage was filled with their friends, making it seem more like a UFW rally than a rap show.