"We're gonna be doing a song we've never performed before, called 'Down,' that's one of the most controversial songs in the history of controversial songs," promises Arlo Barone, a.k.a. Erel the Rkatec, one of the three producers in the 12-man conglomerate, referring to a contribution by rapper Sun Sun Singapore that even makes Barone antsy.
"It starts out with him going, 'I'm down with the Ku Klux, down with the Satanists, I'm down with the Black Panthers, I'm down with the rapists.'" Just in case anyone in the house is still bobbing his head agreeably, Barone says Sun Sun goes on to spit, "I'm down with bin Laden, I'm down with the Twin Towers fallin', down to the ground, al-Qaeda power!"
"He's just making a statement, as in 'Get over it,' you know what I'm saying? It's also to get people's panties in a bunch. 'Cause there's no such thing as bad publicity."
TSOI is a local "supergroup" of MCs and producers culled from three smaller Phoenix crews -- Face Crushers Inc., Dark Water, and the Dead Beats -- who are all about making a big splash in the AZ and, they're confident, the world. In promoting Friday's concert, they've plastered 10,000 fliers at the on- and off-ramps of every freeway in town.
Surprisingly, the crews who comprise TSOI were beef-trading archrivals before they joined forces. At the urging of Dark Water's producers, however, they agreed to a business meeting, and, Barone says, "It was amazing how we clicked when we weren't trying to fight each other."
Now, he adds, the guys are one "crazy big" family.
"We do fight a lot, but we're all one unit now. There's power in numbers."