BLKHRTS are a force of nature. Their live show is like a hurricane slamming into a shoreline at a thousand miles an hour or an avalanche triggered by barbaric yawp. You can see it in their video for “BRK T M,” where crowds get rowdy and pianos get burned, all to samples of The Stooges’ “I Wanna Be Your Dog.” It’s an affair that would make Iggy Pop proud, on this 45th anniversary of 1969.
King Foe, one third of the Velociraptor-voiced Denver rap trio, describes them as the “breath that you take the moment after the bungee cord is extended to its fullest extent jumping into the Grand Canyon.” Yonnas, the group’s producer, summarizes them as “M.O.P.” meets Morrissey.” There is a light that will always get punched out.
“There’s a grand and emotive romanticism and fatalism to our sound, but we layer it over hard beats,” says Yonnas. “It’s that dichotomy of being the most hard and soft thing in the room.”
A nationally recognized, critically hailed rap crew had never emerged from Denver until BLKHRTS (Yorrissey, King F.O.E., Karma) burst onto the scene in 2011. The local alt-weekly, Westword, named them “Best New Band” and raved about their “unique and progressive” rock-rap hybrid…with “an unbridled energy as ferocious as Onyx, as primal as Body Count and as frenzied and unhinged as Bad Brains.”
Pitchfork named their debut BLK S BTFL one of the year’s best over-looked mixtapes. The review celebrated the group’s eclectic sample choices (Joy Division, Eraserhead, Gravediggaz) and described their sound as “riding a roller coaster in the dark: violent, dramatic, and with many unexpected turns.”
In advance of the group’s performance at LA beat scene hub, Low End Theory, The LA Times said “BLKHRTS’ words and beats hit like shrapnel…their voices sound as if they’ve been slit with scythes…. It is rap as hard-core punk music that never forgets it’s hip-hop.” They also noted the group’s diverse lyrical terrain: sex, drugs, money and death, nightmares, demons and hearts pumping like the fury of angry slaves. Subsequent solo projects, Yonnas’ SEXTAPE and King Foe’s J.U.N.K.I.E. elicited similar praise.
BLKHRTS recently released the mixtape Death, Romance and The Color BLK, which precedes the Love is Thicker Than Blood EP due in the first quarter of 2015. Before the release of the EP, BLKHRTS are releasing two bonus songs on black heart shaped vinyl called DeadDrop, as part of a series of random releases the first of which will be released the 4th quarter of 2014.
“We’re really confident in our grasp of rock music and the way to interpolate that with hip-hop,” Yonnas says. “We’re not making rap-rock. We’re making hard-core rap music that uses textures and the loud/soft dynamic and the textual element of rock and guitars. We’re the best guitar players in rap.”
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