Kinetic Voyage

Fast-rising Valley hip-hop/funk combo offers challenges with a dynamic hybrid

With each side looking to broaden its musical palette, the union proved to be an ideal match. Tige explains that "I just want to try new things. I want to expand my horizons."

And, as Hannah adds, "The main difference between Tige and other DJs in bands is that Tige is a main instrument in the band, period. He's rhythmic and melodic, like a guitar player."

With the core lineup assembled, all that was lacking was an MC. The members resorted to the strategy that originally brought the rhythm section together -- another "musician wanted" ad.

Kinetic MC Javon Adams: "As long as you breathe creativity into it, it shouldn't be a problem sounding unique."
Leah Fasten
Kinetic MC Javon Adams: "As long as you breathe creativity into it, it shouldn't be a problem sounding unique."

"We were practicing for a long time 'cause we couldn't find a goddamn vocalist; we were almost thinking of going instrumental," Tige recalls. But then Javon Adams, a Southern California transplant with a strong MCing background, started calling. Repeatedly. "We were like, 'Fuck it -- if he doesn't work out, we'll go instrumental,'" adds Tige.

The young DJ needn't have worried. As a stylist, Adams couldn't have fit in better with the diverse musicality of Kinetic. With his hip-hop background complementing Tige's similar pedigree, the band struck the perfect balance. It wasn't long before Adams was fully indoctrinated with the group's enlightened musical dogma. "It's all about wordplay, cadence, delivery," says Adams. "Like on 'Reactivate' (the group's signature track), when I hear the music, to me it's about trying to reignite something, keep it going. I try to form the vocals to the song. I don't retard my flow to appeal to the masses. I write lyrics I understand, that people like me can understand and relate to."

Collectively, the band points to Hannah as the driving creative force behind the group. The other members gush about the directions he's pushed the band's sound, and how easily they're able to converge and expound upon the material he brings to the table.

During the practice session, only two songs were rehearsed, both new numbers that have yet to be debuted live. These tracks differ from the rest of Kinetic's repertoire; Hannah plays electric guitar instead of the bass -- the bass lines come from the turntables. The songs, "Clutch" and "Trump Tite," more closely resemble the traditional impression of the rock/rap equation, yet still avoid the clichés the more lackluster exponents of the genre fall prey to.

"To me, it's like people are gonna wanna have their opinion on the rap/rock thing, people want to pigeonhole things. As long as you breathe creativity into it, there shouldn't be a problem sounding unique," says Adams. "We just bring good music. If people want to say, 'It's just another band doing this,' they're wrong."

"We're here to rock the party," chimes in Tige.

So far during its brief existence, Kinetic has rocked the party enough to become critics' darlings almost overnight. But, as Adams adamantly asserts, "This is just the first stroke in the big picture."

"As far as the hip-hop community goes, people talk about 'underground,' then there's people getting success, being branded as sellouts," he adds. "But 80 percent of them are doing it to provide an income for themselves and not to have to work 9 to 5. Some people are accountants, some people are good musicians. We want to be the latter."

Broadcast Stamina: Over the Labor Day weekend, Power 92 DJ AL3, the afternoon drive-time jock on the station where (commercial) "hip-hop" lives, set out to and succeeded in breaking the world record for longest continuous on-air mix. The previous record, 62 hours and 5 minutes, was eclipsed by the 66 hours AL3 spent at Gameworks in the Arizona Mills mall, mixing and, occasionally, scratching vinyl. Besides giving props for the Guinness-size triumph, it should also be noted that this was the final event in a series of benefits for underprivileged children AL3 has spent the summer promoting.

A series of AL3's mix CDs have been sold throughout the past few months, with proceeds going to buy sports uniforms for impoverished local kids. The blowout finale's take will go toward refurbishing youth centers throughout the Valley.

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