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The Artifacts… Back On Track

The Artifacts back on track

by TAoN


It’s been more than two decades since Tame One, El Da Sensei and DJ Kaos, collectively known as The Artifacts surfaced with their underground hit single “Wrong Side of the Tracks” from the debut LP, Between A Rock and a Hard Place released in 1994.   In the 90’s, the term ‘underground’ was loosely used to describe a style of real, hard, authentic, true to-the-streets, non-commercial rap and hip hop, but during that era, virtually all of hip hop was claiming to be underground, apart from the group, Digital Underground.  Similar to how trends of culture ebb and flow, underground, gangsta rap, trap music and now, ratchet is the current status-quo division that eludes to the popular melodic, numbing,  heavy 808 bass-kicks and repetitively-hypnotic-lyrics- genre.  During the 90’s, claiming to be underground or grimy was the status-quo for acceptance into the format.  Practically every popular hip hop artists had to participate in the underground wave including popular acts like Will “Fresh Prince” Smith and Vanilla Ice.

The Artifacts are authentic.  Just as acts such as Wu Tang Clan, Redman, Das Efx, Busta Rhymes, De La Soul, A Tribe Called Quest, Fugees and Gangstarr were authentic amongst the ranks of true hip hop royalty.  1994 was a pivotal year for hip hop in the same way that 1984 was critical for popularizing hip hop, notwithstanding the explosions of Prince and Purple Rain, Run DMC and Beat Street which created global phenomenon and worldwide cultural shifts.  In 1994, Nas released the timeless, Illmatic.  Soon after, Notorious B.I.G. released the immortalized classic, Ready To Die.  Those two albums alone could define an era.  The market was competitive, to say the least, however, Artifacts managed to secure them a spot among the top dogs thanks to the support of Stretch Armstrong and Bobbito Garcia at 89.9 WKCR.  Bridging the elements of hip hop with graffiti and b-boy themes, the kids from Brick City soon found themselves engulfed by an ark of respect in an era ruled by hip hop heroes.

They released their follow-up album That’s Them in 1997.  The landscape was changing quickly. With Death Row and Tupac Shakur, and the distractions within the industry, the second album didn’t receive the same recognition.   Not long after that, the Artifacts split.  Since then, Tame and El have both worked on solo and collaborative projects.  Tame One worked with members of Def Jux and joined the Weathermen featuring Cage Kennylz, Camu Tao, Yak Balz, Aesop Rock and El-P.   El Da Sensei’s kept it moving independently by producing a variety of albums including projects with The Immortals and the recent XL collaboration with Sadat X.

Artifacts 2016
Tame One and El Da Sensei on tour 2016

Now, in 2016 the rap duo and DJ Kaos return with a powerful collaboration designed by purpose. Together, united in a continuous, attack rap-styled syncopation reminiscent of their influential flow, they rip up a track entitled “The Joint: Broken Glass”. “Broken Glass” represents the first chapter of the supa single trilogy entitled The Joint coming soon on TAoN Records.   The groovy, pulsating track produced by Motion Picturez serves as a backdrop for Tame and El as they drop real shit on a barrage of frustrating subjects and a variety of social themes that pertain to the disparities in the justice system, along with the current state of police brutality and survival in urban communities throughout the country.  A Do The Right Thing kind of swag lurks within the message, suggesting that it’s time to “Break Glass in case of Emergency”.  Aside from the hard, tribal, bass thump and rhythmic pace that keeps your attention, the delivery is poignant and impulsive, as hip hop was designed to be in the first place.  Unadulterated, uncensored street journalism has always been the blueprint for hip hop and will always be.  One critic even suggested that the track resembles a raging sequel to Public Enemy’s “Fight the Power”.  It’s a shame to realize that times haven’t changed much since 1989 and the racial tensions that flared during the sweltering summers in Brooklyn and everywhere else, reminding us that discrimination and injustice still thrives.  The Joint {A Trilogy} is the first single from the forthcoming EP entitled America’s New Winter: The Survival Mixtape.

Parts two and three of the trilogy feature performances from Sadat X, Brian Jackson, and poet/musician Sharrif Simmons.  Simmons, known for his indelible unspoken words, and most notably, his Def Poetry Jam appearances.   The Joint {A Trilogy} will be available on iTunes on Sept 16th, but you can listen to the first installment, “Broken Glass” here now. The upcoming album is a presented in association with the Urban Recovery Group (URG) and is designed to be a thematic compilation featuring a collective of artists dedicated to change, repair recovery and empowerment in the urban communities, worldwide.  The project will feature an ensemble cast of players that will be announced very soon.  Until then, get up, get down, get mad, get organized, get free, get smart, get ready, get high or get low, but you better be getting something, because it is about that time.

artifacts Tee

The Artifacts are available for booking.  Click here for details.

by ASK





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