Kings Amongst Kings
BEATNAM VETS Jonah and Joshua Vincent, better-known to hip-hop heads nationwide as the production and rapping outfit Beatnam Vets, know a thing or two about beating the odds: the identical twins from Raleigh, North Carolina, were born doing it. Literally. But if doubling-up on the genetic lottery was a stroke of pure luck for the Vincent brothers, what's followed has been anything but. You think a semi-finalist appearance in the Independent Music World Series and a Rolling Stone mention for their full-length debut, The R Album, weren't enough to establish the Vets as a sure-fire bet? Their follow-up, Kings Amongst Kings, will settle those odds. Kings features the Vets' trademark mix of old-school inspiration and new-school innovation. Call it the best of both worlds. While still in their terrible twos, the twins discovered their love for organically produced music, vibing to the sounds of Count Basie and Curtis Mayfield that filled their home every night. While the twins had one ear on vintage jazz, funk, and soul, they soon had another on hip-hop. During the twins' teenage years, acts like A Tribe Called Quest, The Roots, Common, OutKast, and Goodie MoB amped up their love for bass and offered them a new, youthful voice. Add these influences to two decades of intense musical training and you've got a sound unlike any other out, equal parts street and soulful, gritty and sophisticated. Now toss in some rhymes to up the ante. After featuring heavily throughout The R Album, Raleigh native and long-time Beatnam affiliate Solomon has emerged on Kings as a full-fledged, full-time Vet in his own right, rhyming alongside the twins on all of the album's tracks. A lyricist through-and-through, Solomon gives listeners who love Nas and 2Pac's tales of big-city life a peek into North Carolina's Triangle, a million-person sprawl where a piece of land still can't buy a piece of mind. North Carolina might not be the birthplace of hip-hop, but don't tell that to the legions of listeners who have flocked to the Vets and buzzworthy acts like Little Brother and the Justus League - at a time when commercial hip-hop is more about smokin', stuntin', and thuggin' than ever, North Carolina lyricists and beat-makers raised on classic hip-hop are bringing intelligence and positivity back into the game. On the strength of their own independent grind, Solomon and the twins are sitting at the high rollers' table. And industry insiders haven't been shy putting their chips down for the Vets. In addition to the Vets' verses, Kings features performances from a two Grammy award-winners: spoken-word impresario and Def Poetry alumnus J. Ivy (of Kanye West fame) and Tarrey Torae, who's penned songs and laid vocals for industry darling John Legend. It ain't trickin' if you got it. And it ain't gamblin' if you know you can't lose. So let's double-up again. Betnam Vets and Kings Amongst Kings: twice as intelligent, twice as intricate, twice as real, and twice as nice. In stores now. Press Materials by Caninemind (c) Tom Wolf, 2008.