Meet the Band: Vigatron TripleNine (vocals, production)
A Warrior with Wings: In 1999, when he was still calling himself Divine Intervention, David "Vigatron" Norris released his first album. "I have been seriously going at it since 2002," he says. Describing himself as "De La Soul meets N.W.A. meets Richard Pryor," Vigatron is a singular entity on the local hip-hop scene. For 2009's Pleasure, he adopted the image of a black-clad warrior with a pair of giant wings and started incorporating those theatrics into his live show.
Big Beats: Vigatron says his new album Behemoth is a stopgap while he tries to finish a project he's been working on for about 10 years. "In terms of the sound, I wanted it to be something big," he says of Behemoth. "This is an in-betweener. I want a big sound. I'm the elephant in the room. When you started a conversation about who is one of the best, people don't want to address the elephant in the room. Sometimes, I feel like I have to prove myself to show that I do have a place." Recorded at local studios, the album alternates between old-school funk and new-school hip-hop. "As far as my approach, I look up to Prince but I am a mix of Public Enemy, N.W.A. and De La Soul," says Vigatron. "There's a nerdiness and a hardcoreness and a consciousness. I take a lot from Prince. I wanted to be him since I was 9."
Good Karma: Vigatron recently posted links to some of his acting work with my friends in CTown Film Factory/Caterpillar Event productions. "We have had a few films playing festivals for the last few years, including SXSW," he says. He stars in Karma, a new play he describes as "a tale of the proverbial little girl who's 17 and has been adopted. She has a bad foster situation and is forced to be on her own," he explains. "She gets caught up in things that lead her down a dark path. It has spoken word and original songs performed throughout and stars Aphiniti, Rappin' Ass Watts, Eboni James, Ryan the Realist, Journee Blu and others. All the artists were handpicked from the poetry and open mic communities."
Why You Should Hear Him: Behemoth begins with a stuttering series of beats over which Vigatron reads a description of the word. "Gargantuan, goliath, giant-esque — could I be that arrogant?" he asks in a deep, slightly terrifying voice. It's a terrific intro to a nine-song CD that includes fresh grooves and samples, including a nice bit from Pulp Fiction in album opener "Ezekial."
Where You Can Hear Him: vigatron.com.
Where You Can See Him: Vigatron performs with TURBO CITY and powerNapz at 10 p.m. Friday, Jan. 9, at Kultivation Theatre in Cleveland Heights, and in Karma at 5 and 8 p.m. on Saturday, Jan. 10, at the Alex Theatre.