Very rarely do we get the chance to witness a group of music who can grasp the sounds of different cultures so effortlessly and harness them as their own. With the power of a roaring bluesy vocal, a groovy baseline and a smoking late 80’s/early 90’s sound, Scarecrow - The Blues Hip Hop showed us how artists can successfully master that calling.
With much thanks to the combined efforts of The French Embassy and Bureau Export, Scarecrow showcased their talents for the France Rocks SummerFest in New York for the first time in over two years last Friday. We caught their performance at the mysteriously intimate and gypsy-esque Drom NYC amongst a group of music enthusiasts excited to take part in the French quartet’s latest act as they prepared for their second album, The Last, releasing this coming Friday.
Scarecrow’s featured performance was a spine chilling and aggressive piece that spoke of the band’s ingenuity and aesthetic appeal. Ahead of a thunderous and enticing intro, lead vocalist and bluesman, Slim Paul, let out a roaring vocal that channeled across the shadowy halls of Drom, crawling up its back-stage curtains and hurling towards us. It was a unique sound that truly blew us away: A kick-ass note that personified beautifully through Paul’s affirmed lyrical and edgy voice, labeling its mark at any New Orleans jazz club or Memphis BBQ joint.
What followed was a genre binding and sound twisting bar from French emcee, Antibiotik Daw, who also masterfully scratched the turntables with late 80’s/early 90’s urban adlibs, screeching hints of Chuck D, Run DMC and The Wu Tang Clan. Although we unfortunately couldn’t understand the fast hitting French lyrics, it was Antibiotik’s confidence, swag and all-out vibe that helped get our heads bopping, while the bluesy bass lines from Jamo and funky drum set from Le Pap, helped solidify Scarecrow’s urban and bluesy musical arrangements.
What really struck us was Scarecrow’s consistency. Whether their song was predominately hip-hop, blues, funk or a bit of both, the quartet meshed the sounds together flawlessly. When Antibiotik viciously spit on the mic, Slim Paul's raw vocals and Jamo's gripping guitar play brought Scarecrow's performance from the sounds of classic hop-hop into the essence of rock. Accompanied by Antibiotik’s scratches, we were constantly taken for a musical ride that stopped along 80’s hip-hop, 70’s funk and good old fashion dirt-road blues.
Scarecrow’s hip-hop elements, raw rural bluesy notes and urban-esque vibe provided the finishing touches on an already bubbling melting pot that billowed a steam enriched with generations of musical influences, cultures and instrumentation. Scarecrow’s continuous efforts to bridge together American and French music are groundbreaking. With sounds reminiscent of both Screamin' Jay Hawkins and 90's Hip-Hop, the group truly is deserving of their international praise. Their ability to embrace these different sounds allows them to conquer audiences in not only the U.S. or Europe, but throughout the world as they've performed over 400 shows in 10 countries and have a tenacity to produce even more.
This group can truly be an inspiration to aspiring artists and bands across the globe not only for their incredible showcases, gritty music, and cool vibes but for how they can bring cultures together. Somehow we seemed to have lost that in both the mainstream and independent music scenes, but Scarecrow tackles it head on. Truly, they are one of the best bands we’ve seen this year. Can’t wait to catch these guys again. Their new album, The Last, will be available for streaming and digital download this Friday, June 24, 2016. Make sure to catch Scarecrow the next time they’re in your city!
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