Friday, January 18, 2008

Floopy Head: The Future of Live New Orleans Hip-Hop

Floopy Head is a collaboration of the jazz/funk group The Black Notes and the real hip-hop of Da Quest 4 Complex. The idea behind the band came across after Chris and Creedo (the founding members of Da Quest 4 Complex) recorded The Black Notes' demo in the summer 2006. After the session Chris and Querido started free styling to a groove the band laid down and the rest is history. In the fall of 2006 the group went into the studio to lay down the first track Miss Poet and are in the process of completing an album and getting the music out there. So spread the word because this is real music. This is the next phase. Jazz and Hip Hop...Fo Real! The revolution is now people..and it starts with the music.

The first time I saw Floopy Head perform was one of the best daysof my life. Granted, it was in part because my favorite M.C. of all time, Common Sense, was making a surprise visit to the Tipitina's Music Workshop that day, and I happened to be there. Common's presence was uplifting; he sat in the audience upon entering in order to listen to the young aspiring musicians practicing their trade on one of the most historical stages in New Orleans. It was Sunday, the last day of Voodoo Fest 2007, and Common was taking some time out of his day to find out what New Orleans music was truly about- the soul, the struggle, & the beauty of original sounds.

Common walked humbly on stage, in awe at the skill of such young musicians, appreciative of the efforts put forth by Tip's to foster these young artists. The band, comprised of a variety of younger kids from middle-school to high-school and college age students, laid down a smooth jazz instrumental for Common as he stepped up to the mic. Common delivered an incredible freestyle, incorporating references to his Common Ground Foundation, which shares a similar vision with the Workshop program, targeting inner-city youth in order to empower a new generation. Little did I know, the show was yet to begin. As Common once again joined the audience, the young members of Floopy Head asked if he wouldn't mind listening to one of their own original songs. Chris kicked off the song with confidence... "Allow me to introduce my band"... and the beat dropped. Don't get it twisted, give these guys a few years and they will need no introduction.

Their fresh style sounded reminiscent of Tribe Called Quest and the Roots, yet it displayed a unique New Orleans influence, driven by Jazz and Spoken Word aesthetics. They only played one song, but I was hoping they would just keep playing for the whole Sunday afternoon. Who needed Voodoo Fest when we had such talent all to ourselves, sharing the room with a commonly shared hip-hop icon, Common? Once they finished, Common got back on the stage, hardly able to contain the smile on his face. He was, for the most part, speechless. I don't think Common, or anyone in that venue that day, was expecting to see such an original fusion of skill and soul from such an unexpected and ecclectic group of young musicians. He told them how impressed he was and that if they stick with it they would be going places; his words were full of genuine hopefulness and even admiration.

A few weeks later, Floopy Head played a full set at the 2nd Annual "New Orleans Hip-Hop for Hope" Benefit Concert, this time with poet/mc "Q". Once again I was blown away. The line-up was chalk full of talented hip-hop artists, many of whom, if heard by the right people, would likely be singed to major deals. But by far, Floopy Head stole the night, blending theatrical performances, Spoken Word break downs and instrumental solos that reflected New Orleans proud Jazz heritage. Floopy Head is about to hit the scene big, like the Roots of the South, speaking with a voice for a new generation of hip-hop and jazz simultaneously.

-Ben Brubaker

Final Rating:
Live Performance:
***** (five out of five stars)

Floopy Head Music Player Url: