Knotz are three young men, ‘blood brothers’, who together are intent on changing the face of hip hop. For them, the pervading culture of drugs, guns, money and bling has never been what it is all about. Instead, their art is about criticising that which needs to be criticised and raising awareness where it is missing.
And after nine years of blending beats, rhymes and conscious lyrics, Aswad Mikal, Dreadchild and Megaton proudly present their latest album: ‘The Formula’. Despite the title, there is nothing formulaic about this record. As Aswad himself says, the inspiration was, as much as anything else “to bring something new to the table”. They have respect for what came before, but they now rap about what is relevant to the hip-hop community of today.
So, while they might name-check the likes of The Fugees, KRS-One, Rakim and the Wu-Tang Clan as early influences, along with reggae artists like Peter Tosh and Ninja Man, Knotz truly have their own sound. Songs like ‘Controversy’ and ‘Words of War’ address the issues that new-school dance-inspired emcees tend to ignore. But at the same time, their message is not of the bland “after-school special” kind. Their lyrics and flow are as hard-hitting and head-nodding as Nas or Method Man at their best.
Their tunes combine jazzy licks, hard beats, funky instrumental tracks and tight lyrics, paying tribute to the Philadelphia trio’s Carribean roots in a way that has not been seen nearly enough in mainstream hip hop for the last decade.
These skills have been honed over many years recording, writing rhymes, performing and battling. From Megaton’s expressive, straight to the point delivery to Aswad’s intelligent word-play, and Dreadchild’s airtight production, Knotz are a crew who have got what it takes to go all the way.
Having recently won nominations for Best Group at the PA Hip-Hop Awards and for best song, the wonderfully catchy and quirkily produced ‘The Bounce’, for the prestigious IAIA 2008 Golden Kayak Award, Knotz are finally getting the recognition they deserve.
You too can find out what the fuss is all about when ‘The Formula’ hits the streets on November 10th. Meanwhile, the newest single, the soulfully funky ‘Come On Baby’ featuring Logan is already available at major online retailers. Do yourself a favour and check it out before the rest of the world catches on.