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Opus Akoben | Raw Life

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Hip-Hop/Rap: Alternative Hip Hop Urban/R&B: Urban Moods: Type: Lyrical
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Raw Life

by Opus Akoben

A rhyme-driven, multi-influential, jazzy urban thing, that you might call "funk-hop."
Genre: Hip-Hop/Rap: Alternative Hip Hop
Release Date: 

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  Song Share Time Download
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1. Ronin
5:42 $0.99
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2. Crush
4:25 $0.99
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3. Raw Life
2:55 $0.99
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4. Hidden Dragon
4:30 $0.99
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5. Sentimental Thing
6:50 $0.99
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6. Babies
4:58 $0.99
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7. EPO
5:43 $0.99
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8. Metro:Paris
3:42 $0.99
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9. Forgive Me
4:49 $0.99
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10. Place To Place
6:39 $0.99
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11. Primadonna
4:34 $0.99
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12. Hot
3:09 $0.99
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13. Goodness
5:37 $0.99
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14. Open Your Eyes
7:05 $0.99
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15. Amazing
4:31 $0.99
Downloads are available as MP3-320 files.

ABOUT THIS ALBUM


Album Notes
For us all, the hip-hop group Opus Akoben stands up with their weapon - the weapon against clichés which often times are set up by those which are withdrawn from the real world. A weapon forged within a wide musical culture with a strong identity. Washington D.C., the federal capital of the United States, is the place where the band's three vocalists, Carl Walker (aka Kokayi), Terence Nicholson (aka Sub-Z) and Joshua Culbreath (aka Black Indian) started out. They met through their involvement in the Freestyle Union which was founded in 1994 by Toni Blackman and Monty Taft. This creative arena was designed as an ongoing workshop dedicated to the “elevation of the rhyme” in which any kind of physical or verbal aggression was banned. Besides this precious and inviolable rule, the focus was placed on inventiveness, freedom, efficiency and emulation. Kokayi and Sub-Z thus found themselves within the circle of the initiates (the cipher). The participants gave each other encouragement and a safe haven for creativity, a concept the Union's founders liked to impose on the daily lives of these budding artists. Each freestyler bounced on his predecessor's words and the three vocalists of Opus Akoben were among the first to be widely recognized.

Their rhymes, speeches and improvisations cracked! And when the saxophonist Steve Coleman looked for rappers for his Metrics project, his attention was drawn to these two phenomena. After a successful European tour in 1994, they continued to make their first live recording at the Hot Brass with Steve in March 1995. For this Hot Brass recording and to complete this vocal duo, the saxophonist hired the young Black Indian - at that time, a 16-year old rough diamond. The result measured up to the challenge, since this meeting between rap and jazz to this date remains one of the most convincing ones. Following this exceptional adventure, Opus Akoben forged ahead as leaders to produce their first record “Art of War” for BMG France. A promising achievement in which some jewels may be heard (such as “Don't Run”, “Art of War”, “God/Devil” and “Cross Fade”).

From here, it is time to move on to something else - to discover other sound textures, to make the fruit of their work richer, denser, more refined and more personal. In 2000, Black Indian releases his album “Get'Em Psyched” which was released by MCA and included the legendary Biz Markie. Sub-Z recites his texts soaked with esoteric verse with the Cuban pianist Omar Sosa (Sentir/Otà Records, 2002) while Kokayi joins the band of the pianist Andy Milne (New Age of Aquarius/Contrology Records, 1999) and produces the New York singer, Vinia Mojica. These projects, apparently part of the iceberg, hide the profound work achieved by these adventurers. Unceasingly listening to new sounds, these street magicians pace up and down studios, concert halls and schools to keep in touch with the real world, the one they come from, the one they talk about. They don't want to fall into this “ego trip” defended by a large part of the hip-hop show business! In order to keep “elevating the rhyme” and the debate, they have to stick to reality. This is the price for their texts and claims to remain as sharp and reflect stubborn realities.


These three accomplished artists thus showed up to the Label Bleu studios in Amiens in December 2001 to record their new album. Why a jazz label? “Because this gives us more freedom and we already know Pierre (Walfisz)!” explains Kokayi. This puts an end to the discussion regarding the artistic cohesion between the label selection and the music produced by Opus Akoben. According to Sub-Z, “our ultimate aim is to function with the innovative spirit which is supposed to be conveyed in hip-hop.” Is innovation not a theme recurrently claimed by jazzmen and other “homing heads” of the artistic microcosm? It was therefore quite natural for the Paris-based flutist Magic Malik to join the band for one of the strongest themes of the record “Place to Place,” and for the other members of the band to build the strongest and most stimulating background for these three leaders. For years, all these “sidemen” have been writing Opus Akoben's history. This largely explains the sound unity and cohesion between the fourteen songs and the only instrumental title, “Metro:Paris.” The guitarist Stanley Cooper, the bassist Ezra Greer, the drummer Jay Nichols and the Turntablist John Ashford (aka AyCE International) also come from Washington, DC. Links between the differently evoked universes are numerous; they only need to be discovered. It is a photograph of the results of the crucial research by these hip-hop scientists. Considering the speed at which they move forward, we'd better not miss this step!

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Reviews


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JoN - JoN


Finally! some original material
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LYRICTESEAN

Yo thiscd is raw from the first cut i heard
Yo this cd is raw from the first cut I heard I feelin it and i dig the live music on the second cut. Opus Akoben should be well known.
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DJ Stylus

Demands attention
Opus refuses to be bound by the limitations of the hip-hop idiom. Rather, they take the best aspects of the form and mutate them with some creative gene splicing from other genres. They're equally effective on some smashmouth b-boy s**t (Crush), lilting bossa nova (Epo) or bubbling funk (Babies). The one constant running through their stylistic change-ups is the depth of the lyricism. Strip them down of all the intricate live arrangements and these cats can still turn out a cipher.
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J. BaLL

Fresh, Alternative, Hip-Hop...
This CD is Great!!! This band is a fresh change of pace from the corporate "bling-bling" materialistic, hip-hop world. they guys r' Great musicians (organic drums and bass). great lyrics and flows. mad melodies! & catchy!!! This music incorporates the whole gambit. I'd reccomend it! Mad love and peace out, fellow musician, J. BaLL. www.JBallmusic.com
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CD Baby


Driven by hot rhymes, topics ya'll can relate to and multi-influential, jazzy urban grooves, you could very well call this "funk-hop." Turning their back on the genre cliches, these innovative boys know how to put together some slammin', unbound hip hop. It takes a lot these days to catch the ears of discriminating hip hop listeners who want something out of the ordinary and Opus Akoben delivers more than enough. Their beats are infectious and rather than club you over the head with the same old bass, they go for a more sophisticated approach: sheer stylistic appeal.
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The Cedille fan


A great CD and a great band. Also check out French hip hop crew
http://cdbaby.com/cd/lacedille
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Tamara Turner, CD Baby Music Editor/Reviewer


Driven by hot rhymes, topics ya'll can relate to and multi-influential, jazzy urban grooves, you could very well call this "funk-hop." Turning their back on the genre cliches, these innovative boys know how to put together some slammin', unbound hip hop. It takes a lot these days to catch the ears of discriminating hip hop listeners who want something out of the ordinary and Opus Akoben delivers more than enough. Their beats are infectious and rather than club you over the head with the same old bass, they go for a more sophisticated approach: sheer stylistic appeal.
Read more...

francoisemo


Raw life is a very good cd,a very original mixe of influences,for a very original an personnal music
but i have a problem : i work with my students about raw life, but i can find the text of this song in english or better in french, to translate it (american language is to difficult for me with me bad english...)who can help me??
thanks
francoise from france
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Johnny Platinum Plus

An exciting collection of fresh organic hip hop!
Raw Life is a splendid fusion of hip hop, jazz, and funk. Delicious beats and refreshing soul. The vocalists lyrics and delivery were energetic and thought provoking...
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Snub McAfee

go to the club, dance mindlessly and when you want to appreciate music again, gi
Only way for DC hip hop to get out there is to take it beyond the US like the Roots did. Opus is banging it out. 2 vinyl jont. Not just grown up music. Kokayi is a monster.Everything you like about your favorite emcees packaged in one person.
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