FOREIGN BEGGARS with SHLOMO , WILDCHILD and ABS & FASE hosted by MASIA ONE at El Mocambo (464 Spadina), Saturday (January 21). $13. www.earwaks.com. Rating: NNNNN
You'd think England's Foreign Beggars, with their more classic style of beats and rhymes, would be casting the crook-eye in the direction of their country's grime scene, just like an East Coast hiphop purist would at the synth-drenched sound of the West Coast or Dirty South.
But talking from his London crib five hours ahead, when confronted about his thoughts on all the international attention paid to the high-BPM-count, fast-blowing-up rap subgenre, Pavan Mukhi, aka Orifice Vulgatron, has only positive things to say.
"It's very relevant to what's going on here, the mentality of the youth -- a common ground that they've been able to connect on," he bigs up.
In addition to praising the music's popularity for getting the world used to the British accent on rap records, Pavan, also founder of the Beggars' label, Dented, appreciates the grime scene's determination.
"Music's a hard industry here, especially because the cost of living is pretty high -- it's a real grind. So for artists to keep putting records out and keep building their profile, it's a real, real struggle. But artists have recently taken it on themselves to fucking do it regardless, which is great."
Thinking about it, it's not that surprising that Pavan would be so kind about a version of hiphop more media-hyped than his own. Beyond the fact that his propeller-fast flows on Foreign Beggars' breakout single, Hold On, alone could test the grimiest of MCs, inclusivity, acceptance and open-mindedness are inherent in the group's multinational makeup.
Boasting members from the UK, Kentucky, Norway, Ghana and Pavan's birthplace, Dubai, the Beggars clearly don't intend to be restrained by international boundaries. That's why for their latest release, the Let Go EP, they teamed up with Stones Throw rapper Wildchild, who assists the crew over producer Dag Nabbit's expert beats.
But perhaps the member to stand out the most is beatboxer Shlomo, the percussionist who learned how to replicate his drum sounds with his mouth. (He'll join the Beggars Saturday.)
With him in the group, Foreign Beggars (who are currently mastering their latest album, which relies on a darker sound and production from Oh No and DJ Vadim among others) are just two degrees away from Bjork -- who hand-picked Shlomo to box on her single Oceania (which was also the theme to the 04 Olympic Games).
Though he's busy with his own upcoming album, I just had to e-mail Shlomo about that whole thing.
"It was great, a real pleasure," he wrote back. "People often ask me if she's crazy, but in reality she is nothing like that. Bjork is quiet and really quite shy. She knew exactly what she wanted from me and how to communicate that."