UNDER THE INFLUENCE: the Cornel West theory.
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D.C based hip hop group ‘the Cornel West theory’ have dubbed themselves tYPE 1 style music – a blending of hip-hop, rock, punk and soul – and take their name from American philosopher, Cornel West, so you just know they’re innovators. Their new album ‘The Shape of Hip Hop To Come’ will be hitting you in June so we had them recount a list of their influences to us for you to read.
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The Jimi Hendrix Experience’s Electric Ladyland is sonically, lyrically and thematically one of the greatest albums dealing with the fusion of rock, blues and soul, and is so influential throughout our band. You put it on and it takes you everywhere you want to go.
We also dig The Mars Volta’s The Bedlam in Goliath, Pete Rock and CL Smooth’s Mecca and the Soul Brother, John Coltrane’s A Love Supreme, Rage Against the Machine’s Evil Empire, Bob Marley’s anything. And Bad Brains (pick one).
But that Jimi is all world.
Three of us attended Duke Ellington School of the Arts in D.C. and two of us – Sam and John – often put ink to paper to create. But we’re all inspired by a range of visual artists: Jean Michel Basquiat, Robert Rauschenberg, Wangechi Mutu, Kara Walker, Gordon Parks. Basquiat is Superfantastic; so haunting, so fresh, so layered with subtleties. We appreciate the attention to craft and voice. That tYPE 1 ish.
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Come around us and you’re certain to hear a reference to The Boondocks, usually a direct quote used in context. Rashad Dobbins does a spot on Riley – “Granddad.” You can’t help but love The Boondocks cuz it’s raw, but we have love for Fat Albert, Ghost in the Shell 2 anime, Adult Swim’s Venture Bros’, King of the Hill, Phineas & Ferb and The Simpsons.
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It’s truly amazing that we have time to make music considering how much time we spend watching The Wire. Simon’s a genius. We actually created our first album Second Rome with a Wiresque approach, building song to song like a novel.
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Some rappers spend a lot of time debating who’s the best, who’s in the top whatever. You’re not likely to walk in on that conversation with us, but we’ll kill a few hours arguing about writers we like. Octavia Butler – best eva? James Baldwin? Ralph Ellison? Toni Morrison? Ben Okri? Nikki Giovanni? Sandra Cisneros? Richard Wright? There are no right answers, no ranking, just dopeness.
photo Raul Zahir De Leon