Straiht Wikid Crew, a one-man project of Hare Krsna rapper Jason Fladlien from Muscatine, IA, has released his debut album "Kali Yuga Demolition Vol. 1". The upbeat, catchy and fun hip hop CD contains 11 tracks of the unexpected, horribly delightful and unshakeable feel good music that makes the listener feel, well…good.
The album plants the seeds for destruction for the age of Kali, which according to the holy Indian Vedic Scriptures, is the age of hypocrisy and quarrel, the age we are currently living in. "On ‘Kali Yuga Demolition Vol. 1’, rapper Jason Fladlien easily exceeds the humorously low expectations that accompany being a Hare Krsna rapper from rural Iowa," Eric Clark of The Gazette writes.
The 23 year old rapper has come full circle in his life regarding personal values and lifestyle, from an atheistic party animal to a spiritual intoxicant free vegetarian lifestyle. "I started rapping before I was 8 years old," Jason remembers. "I was always a creative child with an interest in experimenting." Jason started writing raps and making up lyrics spontaneously and recording them into a little tape recorder. When going off to college at the age of 18, the soon-to-become rap sensation had given up on music altogether. "I had been unfocused and also lacked confidence that I could actually make a real living through music," he explains. Through a few years of drug and alcohol abuse, panic attacks and developing agoraphobia, Jason found his way back to music – and not that surprisingly – to spirituality and the origin of all incarnations, Hare Krsna.
"I’m a Hare Krsna devotee but I also rap about things like dirty dancing and being mactacular," Jason says. "I have included my following in the name of my group, Straiht Wikid Crew, even though I’m a solo artist by the technical definition. This shows that I bring a unique approach to music that has yet to be offered. Along with the music, I am going for the destruction of Kali Yuga, which would mean the end of quarrel and hyporicsy. I’m talking about harmony between humankind, not an unrealistic utopia. How is that even though we are good natured there are still so many wars, famines and other evil things in the world? Through ‘Kali Yuga Demolition Vol. 1’ and subsequent releases I plan on exploring these things and finding the desired results of how to bring harmony to the world. This first release is just a glimpse into the current status of the world from the mind of a Hare Krsna, wicked rapping blissful young man from smack dab in the middle of nowhere, Iowa."
"Kali Yuga Demolition Vol. 1 has been described as ‘more mack daddy than meditation, more hip hop than Hare Krishna’ by Todd Beemis of Indie-Music.com, but Fladlien stands firm in his spirtual stance, "It is more of an introduction to the elements of Kali Yuga from both internal and societal standpoints. It is upbeat and pleasure inducing, still brutally honest and assertive, all wrapped up into a wicked presentation with an underlying, subconscious spirituality."
Musically, Straiht Wikid Crew’s offering is a mix of diverse influences and traditions. "I embrace the old school head nodding ethos of Run DMC, the wild and wackiness of Digital Underground, the self-aware style of underground rap group Atmosphere, the rhyme schemes of Eminem, the strangeness of Insane Clown Posse and the hype of the Beastie Boys," Jason explains. "My straightforwardness can be contributed to my years of listening to Ice Cube and my beat making approach of ‘everything and the kitchen sink’ can be contributed to the NWA era Dr. Dre."
Jason is not afraid to make a statement with his music and he doesn’t make calculated moves, yet he’s up for taking unbridled risks. "It shows in my hip hop," he says. "It’s an embrace of a feel good attitude without being hokey." Jason continues," I mean, who feels good when they listen to something that is contrived anyway? It’s a honest expression of the good and bad that is all within us, without apologizing for the bad, which is unshakable. Musically, that translates into songs that make you feel an uninhibited goodness, songs that let you forget about the consequences of your actions for a bit, and just feel good through the music."
Jason Fladlien may meditate before sunrise, and he may follow some strict regulations when it comes to diet, sex, intoxication and other hoopla. But he’s just as quick to fire a dope rhyme scheme like Columbo solving a murder at a crime scene. "His raps are playful and colorfully orated, the same way the Beastie Boys and Eminem spout off, though they lack the sameness of the Beasties and the brash, always off-color homophobic and inciting rhymes of the man from 8 Mile Road in Detroit," Sean Moeller of the Quad City Times wraps it all up. "The spiritual clay markings on his forehead are a visible sign that Fladlien won’t approach his art in the same way that Ludacris does."