Modern Griots: Flobots


The political rap and rock band, Flobots, consists of vocalists Jonny 5 and Br’er Rabbit, guitarist Andy Rok, drummer Kenny O, bass player Jesse Walker, and voilinist Mackenzie Gault. Not only is the group socially aware, but are also influenced by speculative fiction and other avant-garde artists. Jonny 5 likes magic realism and his favorite rapper is MF Doom. Br’er Rabbit (his name comes from a famous African-American folk trickster hero) idolizes Marvel characters like NightCrawler, the psychedelic rock band The Music Machine, the Akira film, The Dark Crystal film, and Digable Planets. Rok takes his influences from Parliament Funkadelic and The Roots, while O sets his eyes on being like Spider Man. Some of the artists on Walker’s list are Flea from Red Hot Chilli Peppers, Parliament Funkadelic, Bootsy Collins, Andre 3000, Common, Beck, and Dave Navarro of Jane’s Addiction. Last, but not least, Gault listens to a range including Bach, Common, The Roots, Queen, Miles Davis, and Simon and Garfunkle.

Their latest album, Survival Story, is as they describe: “A vision of hope for a world facing its limits. While others revel in the dystopian, the Flobots remain committed to their ability to rise together. Navigating the coming years will require new tools. It will require narratives that cause us to reexamine our priorities, redefine wealth, and re-inspire ourselves. It will require that we come together in the face of death and write the story of our own survival.”

“The Rhythm Method (Move!)”

By the way, this song is relevant to my thesis on percussion in hip-hop, which I will be finishing this semester! Yay!

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