Band of the Week

Black & Broke

Meet the Band: Damon aka Mr. Smith (MC/guitars), Jerel aka Jean Kong (MC/keys), Iddrisu aka The Thundacat (vocals/percussion), Kevin (drums), Nick (bass/vocals), Gabe aka The Notorious B.L.G. (guitar/facemelting)

Origins: In 2004, rapper Mr. Smith and keyboardist Jean Kong originally played as a duo; three years ago, they met the rest of the guys one night at Jammin Java, the now shuttered Parma coffeehouse, and Black & Broke was born. “We asked them to back us up and the chemistry was just great,” says Mr. Smith. “They just kept doing it after that.”

Hip-hop for hipsters: The group has dubbed its sound hipster-hop to convey the odd assortment of musical influences at work. “I started saying that because I have never seen anything like this before,” says Mr. Smith. “We’re like Gym Class Heroes and Red Hot Chili Peppers but we’re different from that.”

Songs about girls and food: The band’s debut EP, Hot Jams for People to Dance To, is a clever collection of tongue-in-cheek tunes that showcase the band’s sense of humor. “’Sandwiches’ is a crowd favorite and songs like ‘Stalker’ were just written while we were sitting in my apartment and we saw a pretty girl walk by. We thought it would be creepy to write a tune about her.”

Why You Should Hear Them: “My Blonde Shorty,” the opening tune on Hot Jams for the People to Dance To, is a funky number that borrows the freaky styley side of the Red Chili Peppers and “Stalker” simultaneously evokes Queens of the Stone Age and Beck. The album is a creative mix of musical influences that don’t quite match.

Leftovers: Mr. Smith says the band has enough tracks for a full-length. “We have a ton of stuff that didn’t fit on the EP,” he says. “We are constantly writing and revising the stuff we do have.”

Where You Can Hear Them:

Where You Can See Them: Black and Broke performs with the Dangerous Colors, Smokescreen and Ghost Noises at 8 p.m. on Sunday, March 10 at the Beachland Tavern. — Jeff Niesel

About The Author

Jeff Niesel

Jeff has been covering the Cleveland music scene for more than 20 years now. And on a regular basis, he tries to talk to whatever big acts are coming through town, too. If you're in a band that he needs to hear, email him at [email protected].
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