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By Andy Argyrakis
Bad Brains singer gets back to his reggae roots
"One on One"
Mar. 6, 2009
Sometimes the frontman for a seminal act needs an artistic release that's completely different than his full-time gig. In the case the legendary underground icon and Bad Brains leader H.R. (Human Rights), anything less aggressive is sure to do the trick, though he finds the most refuge in the stylistic and even spiritual undertones of reggae when taking a break from that full-time hardcore foray.
"Well, I am thinking about how to make money when I'm working with the Brains and I do have to approach [that band] much more professionally," says the singer, adapting a peculiar though peaceful high-pitched tone like he's talking to a little child. "The styles of music and techniques have to inspire the masses to go, 'Snap, crackle, pop!' Then, the more comforting thing with my solo group is there's not really a demand for the promoters to really have to worry about giving me whole lots of money. I think about 50 Cent, my special love for Puff Daddy [and other rappers] and how I want them to just come to the coolest parts of town and hook up with their senoritas, like Foxy Brown, Beyonce and Mariah, and not to really hassle themselves with travel or business. I can just kind of be the one they come to for comfort."
The sounds packed within H.R.'s latest solo sidestep, Hey Wella, are indeed chill-out inducing, if only for the smooth grooves, rippling bass lines and the rhythm section's improvisational nature. Titles like "All the Happy People," "Luv Comes First" and "Reborn From the Dead" all seek to induce positive attitudes.
"What I like is when the kids smile," adds H.R. with that cheerful diction still intact. "They come to our performances and I get to view students who are eager to learn about good music and can understand the holy scriptures and see the identification of the new philosophy and how they become one within the Almighty One."
Spiritual assessments aside, the underground icon also wants to be remembered for his unique creative identity and quest for ongoing social unity. "We want to inspire the little kids to not give up on going to school, to not give up on being good to their mommies and daddies, to remember we documented authentic soul, reggae, classical, hip-hop songs and also good pop tunes that have been going on since the beginning of time," adds the too kind to be cryptic H.R. "It's their decision if they want to be reggae artists or pop artists or if want to grow dreadlocks or be Rasta [or any religion] because they have that free will...We want to inspire our brothers and sisters in America to wake up from their sleep and slumber, to not be jealous, to flee from hate and all other derogatory terms and to gather their most gracious spirits of love. Just let it flow because they are a child of God and I love them from head to toe."