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Blunt the Banned The Kutz
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cdcover

Blunt ("the banned"), as the members like to describe themselves, has also laid claim to being "South Africa's first, live, original, hip hop band". The "first" part is debatable, as they have only been around since the middle of 1997. "Live" is accurate, as the band is a completely live act (except for their CD) with real drums, guitars and keyboards. There is also some beat-boxing and a DJ doing some scratching and sampling. The band's main influence is hip hop but due to the members varied musical interests, the focus has shifted to a more experimental direction in terms of their sound and performance; hence the "original" tag! At the Art's Festival in Grahamstown in 1998, Blunt participated in an alternative production of Shakespeare's 'A Midsummer Night's Dream'. The band composed a live hip hop score, which was performed during this acclaimed show. Blunt then performed at the OppiKoppi Bushveld Blast on the Campus and Hip Hop stages before finishing off a successful outing with a wild performance on the Martell main stage. They also walked off as winners of the Caltex "Battle Of The Bands" competition.

Griffith and Hamish Jeppe, the co-founders and lead vocalists, were previously with the rap outfit, Southside Unit (formerly L.A.P.D). The bands Gunk and Reggae Project contributed Graham Blak (drums) and Michael Jones (guitar), respectively. Phillip Bardone (keyboards and bass) later joined from The Streaks and Backroom Jungle.

So, with a (blunt) sword of expectation hanging over their heads, this five-man hip hop group have released this debut seven-track EP with confidence, attitude and a keen grasp of this contemporary hard-edged sound. 'NBK' opens (and closes) the album with a short, menacing intro to the thunderous 'Drop Da Bomb'. 'Way We Do' slows down to a percussive and two-note keyboard pulse and Rollin' Strollin' uses voices, sirens, helicopters and overlappin' rappin' to create a thematic and sinister piece.

'Plannin' A Robbin' could have been lifted straight off a Fun Lovin' Criminals' album with its laid-back, '60s groove and softer vocals. 'Wonderweed' is a stoned babble over a cool, grungy guitar and 'NBK' (Natural Born Killer) pops up again, in a longer form, to end this assured and exciting album on a threatening note. With 'The Kutz', Blunt have clearly shown that all the nuances of late '90s hip hop are well within their collective capabilities and their first full album should be a killer!

Stephen "Sugar" Segerman 7/10

others in the REVIEWS

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Lots of SA CDs to buy online at One World.

There's also the Two Oceans Trading online shopping mall where you can purchase Springbok rugby merchandising, SA books, jewellery and CD-ROMs, amongst many other items.

Any thoughts, requests, problems, complaints, praise or interesting and relevant SA music news, please email it immediately to: sugar@cd.co.za

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editor: Stephen "Sugar" Segerman, webmaster: Alan Levin, maintainer: Brian Currin

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