Monday, January 26, 2015

Black Violin stretches and strengthens hip-hop (Video)

I underestimated the power of the Black Violin performance at Spirit Square's McGlohon Theater. Wil Baptiste and Kevin "Kev Marcus" Sylvester reminded the capacity crowd that true hip-hop is creative, genre-bending and most of all - fresh. In a time of samples and sing-along hooks, Black Violin, much like the Roots, brought live instruments and artistry to a genre is so commercialized and formulaic, that it I'm pretty sure I could create a hit.

Black Violin didn't just play classical versions of hip-hop songs, like many smooth jazz artists often do. The duo incorporated hip-hop accoutrements, such as a DJ scratching and rapping, to original compositions. Marcus often played his violin like a guitar and rapped. Baptiste played the keyboard and sang.

They encouraged the audience to take pictures and shoot video. Throughout the show they repeated their social media handles as well as hashtags. The two were smart and engaging.

"Some of you thought you were coming to a violin concert," Marcus said. "This is a party."

See for yourself.