THE SOUL REBELS
Called “New Orleans' finest brass ensemble” by VICE and "Nola's proud big brass elite" by OkayPlayer, THE SOUL REBELS hoist brass into the mainstream.
2013 was an explosive year for The Soul Rebels. After riding high from a blowout CMJ Showcase at New York’s Highline Ballroom, packed shows at Bonnaroo, Electric Forest and Austin City Limits, The Soul Rebels returned to their hometown of New Orleans to play as the house band for the nationally televised 2013 NFL Honors Awards Show hosted by Alec Baldwin on CBS Superbowl weekend. How do you follow up a show like that? The only way The Soul Rebels can, with three sold out nights at New York’s famous BROOKLYN BOWL and festival spots all the way from Australia to Indonesia. The Rebels brought the thunder all over the world, three tours of Europe and two tours in Brazil. And the party is just getting started.
The Soul Rebels have evolved into collaborating with artists including Metallica, Green Day, Maceo Parker, Galactic, Rick Ross, Trombone Shorty, Big Freedia,The String Cheese Incident, Slick Rick, Styles P of The Lox, Prodigy of Mobb Deep, Eric Krasno, Karl Denson, John Medeski, Suzanne Vega and David A. Stewart of the Eurythmics,among others as well as being billed on shows with Kanye West, Snoop Dogg, Alabama Shakes, Estelle, Cee Lo Green, Arcade Fire, Ice Cube, Shaggy and George Clinton among others.
The Soul Rebels can be heard on their international debut release Unlock Your Mind (2012), featuring Trombone Shorty among others.2013 saw the release of The Soul Rebels award winning mixtape, 'Power = Power'. Premiered by VICE, the tape includes renditions of songs by Jay Z, Drake, Nicki Manaj and Kanye West as well as the song of the summer”, Daft Punk’s “Get Lucky” featuring bounce queen Big Freedia.
And 2014 is looking even bigger for The Soul Rebels...
“We wanted to make our own sound without disrespecting the brass tradition,” LeBlanc recalls, “so we knew we had to break away.” They found a stylistic middle ground when they spun off and formed a band of young, like-minded local players from all over New Orleans. Graduates of university music programs throughout the South, the band took the marching band format they had learned in school and incorporated influences from outside the city as well as late-breaking local styles – R&B, funk and hip-hop – especially through half-sung, half-rapped lyrics. “Most of our originals have vocals,” says LeBlanc. “You wouldn’t have done that in a traditional brass band.”
Soon, the Soul Rebels’ contagious originals and updated takes on standards won them a loyal local audience. They began rocking some of New Orleans’ most beloved live music venues. A chance gig opening for the Neville Brothers got them a real start—and an official name. It was youngest brother Cyril Neville who first called them “Soul Rebels,” a good name for a band that strived to incite positive change in its treasured musical heritage. Since those days, the band has settled on an eight-piece lineup, building a career around an eclectic live show that harnesses the power of horns and drums in the party-like atmosphere of a dance club. Their weekly show at Uptown New Orleans spot Le Bon Temps Roulé has been known to descend into a sweaty shout-along as the band mixes up songs from its five studio albums with hits by Jay-Z and OutKast.
While touring the U.S., the Soul Rebels have shared the stage with notable artists from many corners of the pop and jazz worlds, including Arcade Fire, The Roots, Bootsy Collins, Robert Plant & Jimmy Page, Counting Crows, Green Day, Drive By Truckers, James Brown, Roy Hargrove, Allen Toussaint, Chuck Brown, Terence Blanchard, The Gap Band, Better than Ezra and many more. Averaging around 250 shows per year, the Soul Rebels have brought the party to stages as far away as South Africa and Europe, playing some of the world’s best-known music events, including, Umbria Jazz Fest, Antibes Jazz Festival, The Montreal Jazz festival, Bonnaroo, the Wanee Festival and, of course, the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival.
When Hurricane Katrina struck their hometown in 2005, the band scattered across the region. Though a few members relocated to cities in Texas, the band frequently reconvened for gigs in New Orleans, this time with a renewed purpose. “Music has been the number one vehicle for Katrina recovery,” says LeBlanc. “That catastrophe has brought so much world wide attention to our music.”
Indeed, since the storm, the band has been more successful than ever serving as an international ambassador of the New Orleans sound. Now a hardcore touring band with a solid-as-ever lineup, the band has recently represented its hometown on television, appearing in the season finale of the HBO series Treme, the Discovery Channel hit After the Catch, and the NBC broadcast of the parade before the Saints’ winning 2010 Super Bowl.
In January of 2012, the band will finally release its first international album, Unlock Your Mind, on Rounder Records. This new song-driven studio effort includes guest appearances by Cyril Neville, Trombone Shorty and Meters guitarist Leo Nocentelli. The album was produced by Rounder VP of A&R Scott Billington, who was also at the helm of many of the Dirty Dozen Brass Band’s groundbreaking albums.
The Soul Rebels continue charting new territory today. Called “the missing link between Public Enemy and Louis Armstrong” by the Village Voice, the Soul Rebels combine top notch musicianship and songs with grooves that celebrate life in time-honored New Orleans style.
Slick Rick: The Ruler
Richard Walters (born January 14, 1965), better known by stage names Slick Rick, MC Ricky D and The Ruler, is a rapper. Originally from South Wimbledon, London, England, he moved with his family to The Bronx in 1975 where he met B-Weezy who taught him how to rap. He has always credited "B" from St. Louis for his success with his career. Rick's characteristic eyepatch was acquired after being blinded in the right eye by broken glass as an infant. He is best known for a series of rap recordings during the 1980s, including "Children's Story" and "La Di Da Di". -Charlie Rock of Harlem World crew was instrumental in bringing Slick Rick and Doug E. Fresh together when Doug requested an introduction after he had seen him win local MC battle contests. It was at an MC contest at the 369 Armory on 142nd street in Harlem, given by promotion partners Ray Chandler & Charlie Rock, that Rick & Doug were formally introduced by Rock. -As a 20-year-old in the summer of 1985 he scored his first big hits (with Doug E. Fresh), "La Di Da Di" and "The Show" and "All the Way Down" circa. 1986. -Slick Rick released the song "La Di Da Di" back in the early 1980s which features Doug E. Fresh and the Get Fresh Crew. His first album The Great Adventures of Slick Rick was released in 1988 while he was living in New York City. "Children's Story", which appears on The Great Adventures of Slick Rick, is one of the most famous songs in rap and has been covered by Black Star, Black Rob, Everlast, Messy Marv, Tricky's side project Nearly God, UK rapper Ramson Badbones, Björk, Nonpoint, Snoop Doggy Dogg and Japanese rapper Zeebra. "Children's Story" was also featured on the videogame Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas on Playback FM, a classic hip-hop station. The album attained platinum status, but Rick was unable to exploit this due to an arrest for attempted murder. He shot a bystander and his cousin whom he’d hired as a body guard and who later admitted to having Walters shot outside a club in 1991. Russell Simmons, head of Def Jam records, bailed him out and Rick quickly recorded The Ruler's Back before spending five years in prison, two for the second degree attempted murder charges he received for that shooting, and three while hassling with Immigrations Services over his residency in the US. "La Di Da Di", "Mona Lisa" and "Children's Story" are among his best known songs, with "La Di Da Di" being covered nearly word-for-word by Snoop Dogg on his 1993 album Doggystyle.
Depending on the setting, and more importantly what socks he's wearing, Subset throws down sets ranging from techno to booty house and everything in between. Whether it's setting the mood in an intimate room before Photek, bringing the main stage to a frenzy after Pendulum and Caspa, or bringing a dark Brooklyn afterparty into the sunrise, Subset has proven that he can adeptly read any room and decide which tracks best fit the mood.
Since 2011, Subset has been the resident DJ of New York City's weekly Bassment Saturdays party. He has utilized Bassment Saturdays as a way of giving underground artists an outlet to perform in front of an attentive and receptive crowd. Many artists, including Alvin Risk, CRNKN, Buku, Astronomar, and Sadhu all had their NYC debuts at Bassment. Entering its third year, Bassment Saturdays has upcoming guests including some of the heaviest hitters in dubstep and trap.
With a few original tracks and remixes ready for release, Subset is poised to take his unique brand of bass music global in 2014... or he might open a retirement home for cats.