Dem Southernfolkz- Watch Dem Boys
A crazy dynamic must exist if a hip hop ensemble is to survive. A soloist is judged on his own merits. Rightfully so, he is either accepted or rejected initially and unlikely to change the fan’s first impression. In a duo, the two must play upon each other, complimenting each other at all times. If one emcee takes a verse off, it is pertinent that his band mate step up and handle the slack. This unbalanced state can’t support productivity for too long before the duo becomes irrelevant. The producing artist will reach for the career that she or he may still have as a soloist. In a trio, the goal is to blend. If a duo is a compliment, a trio is flattery. To succeed, each person gives not just their all, but whatever is necessary to make the sound whole, even if it means giving less. The trio fails when one of the trio isn’t as serious, committed, or talented as the other group members. If the Fugees had the ability to check their egos, its no telling where the sequel to “The Score” would have taken them. When you listen to the Texas trio, Dem Southernfolkz, the sound is so clean, collected, and complete that the balance within their group dynamic cannot be questioned. They deliver the perfect mix of flavors to deliver a tasty sound for our ears to enjoy.
Composed of Kinfolk Jack, Saturday Alridge, and Big Ben, their beginnings in 2001, and the story of the groups existence is one of sacrifice, commitment, and dedication to each other and the groups focus. Kinfolk Jack and Big Ben met in the army serving tours in Iraq. They used technology to email songs and verses to each other and stay motivated, though war, guns, and thousands of miles separated them. Years later when Saturday joined the group, his skills blended with his dedication for making quality music, exemplified the story of the original two members. “Feels Like”, a jazzy track with a lounge feel, is prime example of what we get from their cultivation. We should all say a collective thank you. In a region where relaxation and contemplation are reserved for Erykah Badu types, its nice to hear a difference. If compared to any other sound, their production is a cross of Pete Rock and 9th Wonder. But any comparisons end there. The individuality of their flows separate their sound from anything we have heard before. True, Little Brother rides a track right, but these guys flow into it like water into levees. Their slang and twang could be compared to ATL artists like Goodie Mob or Outkast, but their approach is direct, so you don’t miss the message. Listen to “Gub’ment Cheese” featuring Royce Da 5’9 and you’ll hear exactly what I mean. The beat rocks back and forth like a deacon in the front row on Sunday morning.
The group knows what they are doing. Its amazing to me that they aren’t the biggest group in the city and maybe the state. We all know why. Nobody is a thinker anymore and the current state of hip hop appeases the brain dead only. This is a subject that the group is very aware of and they approach it lyrically on many of the songs on the E.P. But they aren’t going to change or dumb it down for publicity. That’s not them. If they were concerned with the tastes of a feeble rap majority then they wouldn’t be hear today making the sound that we need. If hip hop was nutrition, the groups energy is Vitamin C in a world full of fiber.
To add on to the accolades, their stage show befits all the time and sacrifice that was put in to make the music happen. They keep the crowd going with their energy, with voracious tones rumbling the room. I originally heard the group at last years Dallas Observer Music Awards (DOMA for short- act like you know) show on lower Greenville, but it was their return to Good Records a few months ago that solidified their potential to me. The group is posed to have a breakout year. Catch them in town. They have shows lined up throughout the spring. You don’t wanna miss this. Trust me. You need it. The world needs it.
—— Ryan Mega