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    • CD

      $11.99

      MEDIEVAL CHAMBER

      01/14/2014

    • iTunes

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      Subject to availability.


    Notes

    An introduction from mentor RZA changed the trajectory of the Black Knights’ career. Through the RZA, Rugged Monk and Crisis The Sharp Shooter became friends with John Frusciante. A former member of iconic rock group Red Hot Chili Peppers, Frusciante initially developed a relationship with Rugged Monk. Rugged Monk and Frusciante collaborated, but things changed when Frusciante asked to have Crisis record a song with them. That tune quickly led to recording another. Soon thereafter, Black Knights had an entire album produced by Frusciante. The result, Medieval Chamber, is a sonically stunning collection accented by Rugged Monk and Crisis’ thought-provoking, next level lyrics and Frusciante’s genre-blending beats.

    “John brings the music and the intelligence side to it,” Rugged Monk says. “This is his first go-round as far as doing hip-hop, but John Frusciante is a very musical guy. If you sit down and talk to him, he can take you from Donna Summer to Led Zeppelin to Jane’s Addiction back to Ice Cube. His range in music is vast. So, when he channeled into what we wanted to do as far as our sound, we were able to bring things out of each other.”

    “The great freedom I’ve found in doing hip-hop is that as long as the beat is hard and is something that the rappers will respond to creatively the music can be literally any style of music you want,” Frusciante says. “So, on any given song I can end up chopping up classic music or rock music or melodies based in free jazz ideas. I’ve felt more free doing this than I have doing anything else.”

    Thanks to Frusciante, Black Knights was able to take its music places it never imagined possible. “As a producer, you hear the elevation every time he comes with a new beat,” Crisis says. “It sounds like you’re recording with a whole band, but it’s just one dude doing it.”

    Indeed, Medieval Chamber shines with Frusciante’s imaginative, diverse soundscape and Rugged Monk and Crisis’ lyricism. For the Black Knights, its name is more than an arbitrary moniker. It reflects a nobility and purpose the duo presents and represents throughout its music, from the group’s song titles to its subject matter.

    On the reflective, “Medieval Times,” for instance, Black Knights raps about how losing isn’t an option and how we are all responsible for our own decisions. “As an MC, I have very high morals and standards that I hold for myself and we hold for our group,” Rugged Monk says. “We hold ourselves very accountable for what we say. That’s why we don’t talk about certain things. I’m still able to be creative and visual and reach people in a genuine way with integrity.”

    The driving “The Joust” features the group rapping about how winners never quit and quitters never win, while the stark “Déjà vu” preaches the mantra of refusing to lose. With their otherworldly production and philosophical lyrical approach, these songs typify the creative approach Black Knights takes when it makes music.

    “When we’re in the studio, it’s not about making regular songs,” Rugged Monk says. “We want to make songs that people will play now, next year and that will live on. We’re looking for longevity.”

    The group shows its rap roots on “Keys To The Chastity Belt” and “Camelot,” which reference gangster rap trailblazers Eazy-E and N.W.A. Even though Black Knights first rose to prominence in the late 1990s through its affiliation with New York-bred RZA and Wu-Tang Clan, Rugged Monk is from Compton and Crisis hails from Long Beach. Both New York and Los Angeles area rap acts were major influences for each rapper.



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