Youngblood Brass Band
Center: Level: Roar
Six years ago, when Coolbone first emerged on the scene, the idea of a hip-hop brass band was indeed tantalizing. The two major forms of street music on the opposite ends of the 20th century seemed not only historically aware but also a good time waiting to happen. Unfortunately, Coolbone just didn’t live up to the promise of their own premise.
Youngblood, however, does all that and so much more. These mad hatters from Madison know what it’s all about. They really bring it. They meld both traditions beautifully while staying true to both, as well, a perfect marriage of reverence and experimentation.
The horns are as tight as Dirty Dozen or Rebirth, and bandleader/sousaphonist Nat McIntosh will amaze you (like Tom Morrello used to do with his guitar effects) with the sounds that come out of his horn. In true hip-hop fashion, McIntosh cuts and scratches on his wind instrument (I have got to see that live). The percussion is crisp and on-time, perfectly going from New Orleans stomp to ?uestlove loops. And their rapper, David Henzie-Skogen, unlike Steve “Coolbone” Johnson, can really flow and ain’t full of shit.
Center: Level: Roar has captured the tempest in the teapot. Immensely talented and full of brass, Youngblood is a funky-fresh face on the rap scene and the funnest fusion since Ozomatli.