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Dead Poets “Starving Artists”

07 Aug, 2009 Andrea Guy

dead-poets_starving-artist1The Dead Poets are a hip hop duo out of the Bronx comprised of Mark-uz MidKnyte (Knyte) and Lazarus (Laz). The duo met while in college studying accounting. Together they form a hip hop group that has smart rhymes and smooth beats that bring a more positive message to the listener.


That’s not to say all the songs have a strong message. Irresistible is the sexy song and with the added vocals of  Denae and LeMonte it comes of fun and very danceable.  You can’t help but chuckle at the line “Got a foot fetish? I like yours.” This track definitely makes you want to get down and dirty.


Step Up gets you grooving to the beat while reminding the listener to do what’s right. Tickled Pink features J-Rock and is what happens when hip hop and reggae get together. The combination is intoxicating. The opening track On The Grind, is a more traditional sounding track, dealing with the issues facing many men today.


Knyte and Lazarus have very different styles of rapping with Laz being the flashier of the two. Give the album a good listen and you’ll hear the difference and those differences help set them apart from the rest of the hip hop community, and when you add guest vocals it really gives them that special something that puts them in a different category from all the rest of their peers. The lack of sampling makes the music more original.  Besides the beats you’ll often hear strings and even a guitar.  Female backing vocals soften the hard edge of tracks like Coolest which tackles society issues.


Perhaps the best track on the album is Uncomplicated, which is the guys’ song for their children. This song takes you on their journey to fatherhood. It’s definitely not the usual subject matter for a hip hop song, but with the help of Sadie, it comes across beautifully.


That’s not to say that all the tracks work. Too Many Mics has beat that’s so tinny that it detracts from the rhyme and makes it a trial to listen to. Sure the scratching fits with the message they are going to convey, but it would be better if the focus was more on the rhyme.


Starving Artists seeks to show the world a new maturity with their music, something that more people in their genre should seek to emulate.  They bring their music to the masses with class and intelligence which opens their music up to more listeners. The younger audience will like the beats a streetwise rhymes but those of us that have grown up, so to speak , will appreciate the message they send.


Starving Arists is a fine debut. If Dead Poets can follow up with another album such as this, they are bound to take the hip-hop world by storm. If they don’t, they can always fall back on their day jobs as accountants.


Reviewed By Andrea Guy

Silky Dave “Building A Life”

07 Aug, 2009 Andrea Guy

silky-dave_building-a-life1Here’s a CD that’s 20 years in the making and with it you get a sound that is very classic rock, for just the musicianship alone, if not the songwriting.  These songs have been with Silky Dave for a long time and you may wonder, how do they hold up? Well the answer is superbly.  Though the tone of the album is very much the 1970s, the music is fresh and very much in tune with today’s climate both musically and politically.


Silky Dave has one of those voices that grabs you at first listen because its different and not traditionally pretty. Think Elvis Costello or John Hiatt and you have Silky Dave. His is not voice that will appeal to every listener, but those who like a voice that isn’t polished to a shine will appreciate his vocals. This is a well put together record with musicians and backing vocals that do their best to heighten the listening experience by emphasizing rather than drowning out or eclipsing Dave’s vocals.


The album opens with the rocking All The Way Down that was inspired by something that his grandmother told him after a fall. “Sometimes it’s better if you go all the way down, and then get back up.” Sage and funny advice that turned into a great song with just the right amount of humor to make you listen again and again. Mama Wants To Know feels like a forgotten 70s song that pops suddenly back into your head. Job To Do and Middle Class may just hit home a little to hard, for those of us struggling to make ends meet, but these songs remind us that we’re not alone in our struggles.


Nine Out Of Ten starts off with a guitar riff that is reminiscent of George Harrison. A song about a failed relationship that has a fiddle part that really conveys the sadness of this song.


A real stand out on the album is the title track Building A Life. Its a slow one but this is not a love song. “I’m building a life, that I keep tearing down.” Aren’t we all. This song is made all the better by the wailing guitars at the chorus and the backing vocals of Mary Ann Redmond who give the song a Clapton-esque touch. But of all the 11 tracks on the album, the one that best reflects our times is All Your Stars. This is a song of unity and hope for the future. It’s a song that seems to call out to our government begging for the “change” we’ve been longing for. Its got an alt-country feel to it while still rocking.


.Building A Life is an album for the everyday guy who loves good old fashion rock music. Its the kind of music that you expect to hear in a bar on a Friday night when you are drinking with your friends.


This album took 20 years to get to our hands, here’s hoping that Silky Dave delivers his next album a little faster than that.


Reviewed By Andrea Guy