The Soul Rebels Celebrate Their Hip-Hop Roots at the Joy

The Soul Rebels are the needle that has successfully risen to the top of New Orleans’ massive brass band haystack with a simple formula: New York hip-hop collaboration. Over the past few years, they’ve performed with the likes of Nas, Prodigy, GZA and DMX. These legends came up spitting over boom-bap 808s and chopped samples, and they've found a home on the band’s snare-based grooves and horn harmonies.

Nas Shakes Off the Dust at Jazz Fest

A lot has changed for Nas since his last full-length release, Life is Good, in 2012. In a recent interview, he claimed a new album would be out before the end of 2017, but he’s been teasing the project for quite some time with nothing to show for it—no singles, no promo, no real hint of a release. Still, his fans remain loyal, and likely always will.

The Soul Rebels Trace Their Hip-Hop Roots

For years, much of the New Orleans music community treated hip-hop as the bad cop to the brass bands’ good cop—one suspect; one real music. One sold a ton of records, while the other was treated as true New Orleans music. But the dirty little not-so-secret is that both were street musics, and they influenced each other. Brass band members were listening to hip-hop as much as rappers, particularly bounce artists, were listening to brass bands.

The Sound of Future Past

For years, the implied promise of electronic music was that it was the sound of the future, from Walter/Wendy Carlos to Bruce Haack to Kraftwerk and beyond. The irony is how quickly visions and sounds of the future slide into a sort of retro futurism, and how easily a song's time period can be identified based on its electronic elements. Today, the sleek, icy, robotic textures of French EDM pioneers Daft Punk sound quaint next to the arena rock-scaled squiggles and groans of contemporary dubstep, and Earl Scioneaux III - The Madd Wikkid - heard a way to give them new life.

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