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Read The Label

Anticon's smart mouth

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They call themselves the "label for a movement." They are a loosely linked collective of like minds, and they call themselves things like cLOUDDEAD, Telephone Jim Jesus, Sole, Doseone, Jel, Alias, and Why? They are Anticon, and they are one of the most consistently reliable indie hip hop labels in America.

Like a religion, hip hop began in a very pure form -- DJing, rapping, breaking, and tagging. Over the years, however, it has -- much like many religions -- evolved into something else entirely: in hip hop's case, a collection of pointless boasts, rampant materialism, misogyny, and rather deplorable violence.

Anticon, along with other like-minded revivalist labels like Galapagos4 and Definitive Jux, see the future of hip hop as being directly rooted in its beginning. There's plenty of battle rap-type rhymes, but there's also a great deal of introspection (Some folks, with too much time on their hands, like to refer to such artists as "EmoRap."). There's also a commitment to musical exploration. Artists like Alias take from the electronic music scene as much as they do the hip hop circuit, which provides a nice contrast for those who occasionally want something more to their beats than the old 808 boom-bap. Perhaps unfairly labeled by many as "backpack" hip hop, it's music for the kid who likes reading Hubert Selby Jr. and Jack Kerouac as much as he does smoking herb.

For lack of a better term, it is music that is keeping it real. Real, as in: real lives, real situations, and real good beats. Most of these cats are scruffy, with raggedy-ass beards to match their baggy-ass clothes. Which, come to think of it, is how most of their audience dresses. Go figure.

Sole, Alias, Odd Nosdam and Telephone Jim Jesus will appear at The Room on Wednesday, November 12, at 9:30pm. Call 704-527-4511 for more information.

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