ORG Music signs local rap heroes BLKHRTS
DAVE SITEK TO PRODUCE ALBUM UNDER NEW LABEL
Published: Wednesday, February 6, 2013
Updated: Wednesday, February 6, 2013 02:02
When news broke that Denver’s BLKHRTS was signed to Warner Music Group subsidiary ORG Music, it felt like vindication for the boosters and fans that had kept blood pumping through the group.
Lead MC and producer Yonnas Abraham, AKA Yorrisey, and fellow rhymers King FOE and Karma ruthlessly drilled their dark vision through Denver like they were already on top of the Rockies. And in some ways, they had been.
Veterans from some of Denver’s most promising crews like the Pirate Signal and Jewell Tyme, and their aversion to vowels this trio had honed its craft to a razor’s edge by the time it dropped its first album, BLK S BFTL.
Now, BLKHRTS is preparing to release its first album of a three-record deal on ORG, overseen by none other than Dave Sitek, the production mastermind of TV On The Radio fame.
Abraham said he could hardly believe the man himself wanted to work with the HRTS. “So he [ORG Music’s Jeff Bowers] asked me, ‘What about Dave Sitek?’ And I didn’t believe him … A week later he called me back like ‘Sitek’s in. He’s 100 percent in,’” Abraham said. “Return To Cookie Mountain is probably one of my favorite albums of all time.”
Sitek’s dense style is a solid match for Abraham, whose macabre productions can veer wildly from Eraserhead-sampling melancholy on BTFL’s “THY WNT GO,” to giddy Soul Train theatrics on CHRCH’s streetwalker saga “Miss Colfax.” Abraham’s belt sander voice and Karma’s harsh whisper balanced with FOE’s smoother flow creates an intoxicating stew—or considering the outfit’s gothic leanings, a cauldron full of brackish potion.
After both King FOE and Yorissey explored their vices of choice on their own solo albums last year—The Junkie and #Sextape, respectively— BLKHRTS’ first record, JZBL JNKNS, promises to be the group’s true introduction to the music-buying public, an evolution from the smeared-mascara drama of BLK S BTFL and the smorgasbord of dissonance that is CHRCH.
“For all intents and purposes, we really have to put our weight up to put out a national release, and to see the kind of numbers we want to see,” said Abraham. To that end, a forthcoming EP, Love Is Thicker Than Blood, will be designed to draw fans before BLKHRTS drops what Abraham is calling its Magnum opus.
“When we flipped that Joy Division song [on BTFL’s “OVR”], ever since then it’s been referred to as Goth-rap,” Abraham said. “To me, Goth culture really stems around an obsession with three things: the color black, death, and romance.” Since Yorrisey and crew have wholeheartedly embraced the “Goth rap” label, expect the aesthetic of JZBL JNKNS to be steeped in all of the above.
Between now and the album’s tentative release date this summer, BLKHRTS is working under unprecedented scrutiny. “I never felt the expectation of what people would want me to make. At that point, nobody cared. Now at this point, people care,” Abraham said. “I find that to be my current struggle, expectations versus whatever’s going on inside of me.”