Mad Happy | Renegade Geeks

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Electronic: Pop Crossover Hip-Hop/Rap: Alternative Hip Hop Moods: Mood: Party Music
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Renegade Geeks

by Mad Happy

funky, electro-pop/hip-hop music with drope lyrics.
Genre: Electronic: Pop Crossover
Release Date: 

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  Song Share Time Download
1. File 2 the Metal
4:33 album only
2. Paint it Pink
5:44 album only
3. Renegade Geeks
3:30 album only
4. Loaded Up
4:33 album only
5. Serial Wigga
2:55 album only
6. Shoulda Dissed You
4:44 album only
7. Meaningless, Not Hard
3:11 album only
8. Icicle Man
2:47 album only
9. Wild and Bold
2:40 album only
10. File 2 the Metal (instrumental)
4:30 album only
11. Paint it Pink (instrumental)
5:37 album only
12. Renegade Geeks (instrumental)
3:30 album only
13. Serial Wigga (instrumental)
2:55 album only
14. Meaningless, Not Hard (instrumental)
3:11 album only
15. Wild and Bold (Scratch A Pella)
2:41 album only


Album Notes
Mad Happy is an act that pushes the envelope. With a distinctive and edgy sound, solidly rooted in hip-hop and the blues; Their lyrics, intelligent verse promoting tolerance and individuality. Mike iLL and Rivka draw on a rainbow of influences, from Hasidic folk melodies to Public Enemy to Hank Williams, Nina Simone, Madonna and Sly Stone. Mad haPPy twists it all up into electro-pop/hip-hop.

The two love birds were hatched in devout religious families. Rivka's parents, both born Jewish, joined the Hasidic movement during their college years in Boston and followed their Rabbi to New York where Rivka was raised the seventh of nine children hidden from American culture in an enclosed Hasidic community in Brooklyn's Borough Park. Mike's parents, an ex-nun and seminarian were involved in the civil rights movement. They gave birth to Mike in Montgomery, Alabama where they were organizing an integrated county government. Looking to move to New York City, the young family settled across the Hudson River where Mike, the oldest of five children was raised amongst the working class artists of Hoboken, New Jersey.

Rivka and Mike iLL met in 1997 in a sweat lodge at Nature's Friends Farm in New Jersey. They got together for a musical project and ended up hopelessly romantically entangled in '98. It wasn't until New Years of 2002 that they formed Mad Happy. They recorded "The Rock and Roll" and "Not Jealous of the Angels" completing an eleven song album "Feel Good Music... for the Broke Middle Class" (Bar/None Records BRN CD ..129); released in April, 2002. The two have been doing over 200 live shows a year since, sharing bills with indie hip-hop and experimental acts, including Drop the Lime (Tigerbeat 6), Sole, Pedestrian and Dosh (Anticon) and Goldchains and Sue Cie (KRS); selling over 2000 CDs and live DVDs.

Mad Happy's live show is tight, energetic and emotionally charged. The charismatic pair, with manic colored hair, an MC-505 Drum Machine and a free spirited approach, can start a party anywhere.

Here's some Reviews!
Best of New Orleans
This Brooklyn-based duo blends electro-clash, hip-hop, folk and pop on Renegade Geeks (Mutiny Zoo), Mad Happy's second album. Like MC Trachiotomy -- with whom Mad Happy has shared gigs -- there's a slightly complex aesthetic at work, one that has as much to do with theater as it does with music. Reports are that the CDs don't do justice to the charisma and fun of Rivka and Mike iLL live, but Renegade Geeks hints strongly at it. "File 2 the Metal" opens with a quote from Generation X's "Ready Steady Go" before settling into a sing-song verse that's infectious, even if it recalls an Eminem melody. Like Eminem, Mad Happy seems to have contemplated the racial issues connected with white rappers, and the band members' solution is to sound like the utopian pranksters they are. Their political statement is to "Paint it Pink," the "it" in this case being the White House, and the title cut is their rallying cry, "dedicated to the underground freaks / hardcore hippies and renegade freaks." Chris Frantz and Tina Weymouth of Talking Heads and Tom Tom Club fame produced almost half of the album, so perhaps it's no surprise that the album has some of the couple's good-naturedness. Call club for cover. - By Alex Rawls

Reviewer: Joshua Heinrich
Date: 10/21/05

With a hip-hop-centric brand of electro-pop infused with new wave, funk, and blues elements…even occasionally colored by the musical influences of member Rivka's Hasidic background…Mad Happy's sophomore effort, Renegade Geeks , showcases a fun and original musical blend that focuses more on diverse musicality than formula. Quirky, intricate drum programming, catchy electronic melodies, guitar, turntable scratching, and even a bit of violin form the backdrop for the sometimes sung, sometimes rapped vocal deliveries of duo Rivka and Mike iLL. With interesting, polished production and tight vocal work underpinned by a strong melodic framework, it's a solid and relatively successfully attempt at genre-blending.

When it comes to the album, three tracks in particular stand out. "Paint it Pink", a song that urges tolerance in the form of a great slice of rhythmic electro-pop, will likely still be running through your head hours after the CD has stopped thanks to its almost undeniably catchy chorus. The plodding "Shoulda Dissed You" throws out a particularly captivating trip-hop vibe carried by an excellent guitar riff. The disc's title track is the third, a bouncy offering with plenty of turntable scratching and a bit of a ska influence seemingly thrown into the mix.

The choppy, rhythmically interesting "Loaded Up" is the first of four tracks notably produced by ex-Talking Heads Chris Frantz and Tina Weymouth, the other three being the aforementioned "Shoulda Dissed You", the bouncy synth bass and quirky bleeps of "Icicle Man", and the upbeat Hasidic folk-infused "Wild and Bold" (complete with violin and group "hey"s). The opening "File 2 the Metal" is a strong tone-setter, a nicely rhythmic introduction with a great chorus synth/vocal hook. "Serial Wigga", on the other hand, is a slower number built around a lazy bass riff and saved from its repetitive nature by excellent vocals that include a brief nod to Duke Ellington's "It Don't Mean a Thing (If It Ain't Got That Swing)". "Meaningless, Not Hard", a little rant against the working class life, is a delightful pop track that fits nicely into the flow of the album.

The disc is rounded out by 6 bonus tracks, merely consisting of instrumental versions of "File 2 the Metal", "Paint it Pink", "Renegade Geeks", "Serial Wigga", and "Meaningless, Not Hard" plus an alternate mix of "Wild and Bold" that's stripped down to vocals, violin, and scratching. However, sans vocals, the instrumentals are a bit sparse and less exceptional, seemingly tacked on to cover up the fact that the 9-song core album is under 35 minutes long. The "Wild and Bold" remix fares a bit better, far less quirky and fun than the album version but highlighting the track's strong violin work.

While the bonus tracks aren't much of a bonus (unless you're particularly fond of karaoke), the album itself is a quirky, enjoyable musical romp that's stylistically interesting and pop-oriented enough that it may even appeal to those that aren't particularly drawn to hip-hop. With an ever-evolving musical blend and a recurring lyrical focus on individuality and acceptance, Mad Happy's Renegade Geeks is an album that's a bit left of center and certainly interesting enough to warrant a listen.

To quote the Swedish Chef, "Vhat Dur Hay?". At least, that was my initial reaction to Mad Happy. Mad Happy is the musical union of Rivka and Mike ill, and blends a multitude of musical influences into their own unique style. Hip-Hop is at the stylistic core of the music, but electropop plays a large element in their music as well. You'll also hear some Blues and Hasidic Folk influences creeping into the music here and there. This is the second album for the project, with the debut album having been released in 2002. "Renegade Geeks" is the sophomore album for the band, released on Mutiny Zoo Records in 2005.

Calling this band unique hardly covers it. The opening track, "File2 The Metal", sounds like the drum machine is habitually sticking in "machine-gun" mode, and has rap vocals in the verses contrasting with singing in the chorus. It just gets stranger from there. "Paint It Pink" has a annoyingly simplistic melody and chorus.. so why can't I get it out of my head?? One musical element that the band seems to be fascinated by is scratching, as "Renegade Geeks", "Loaded Up" and "Wild And Bold" (which is the track that exhibits a Hasidic Folk violin melody if I've ever heard one) all heavily lean on the scratching sounds as part of their melody. Included at the end of the album are 5 instrumental versions of the previous tracks, and one remix of "Wild And Bold", which basically removes the drums from the track.

Well, I've listened to this disc several times, and I still don't know what to think. The blending of styles here is certainly unique, and at times I find myself enjoying some of these tracks in spite of myself. The best recommendation I think I can make is that if you like Hip-hop and the strange and unusual in your musical selections, Mad Happy might be just the thing for you.



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