|Pic courtesy of MPAD Media|
Passalacqua features a dynamic duo of MCs, Blaksmith (aka Brent Smith) and Mister (aka Bryan Lackner) and they joined thislineup at the Blind Pig with Tunde Olaniran (pictured), James Linck and Alex Koi.
Having been childhood friends, the two reconnected back in 2010 after a decade of distance and got right to work, interweaving their unique performance styles and lyrical sensibilities into an uncanny harmony, splaying it out stylishly over a smorgasbord of soul, jazz, Motown and funk samples shuffled to some snappy/smooth beats. They can do chin-scratching introspection ballads for the night owl neurotics as well as club-bangers for the weekenders wanting badly to turn up… turnt up? Do the kids still say that stuff?
The rap-duo recently wrapped a rather intensive tour where they participated in round-robin styled thunderdome performances with other hip hop groups. “That tour helped us trim the fat,” said Lackner. “We’ve always come from the opinion that you should do more with less…trim the fat, give ‘em everything you’ve got, and keep it moving.”
Their deliveries, Mister with that drawly, blues, baritone and Blaksmith lashing a more lithe, snarled panache in a higher register, complement each other quite nicely… But while the raps are often written in close collaboration, like two bridged brains, the production is often open, like a revolving door, to any producer who wants to provide some beats and hooks to augment the final Passalacqua presentation.
Smith calls back to their most recent full length, 2013’s Church, and admits that it was a very thematic piece. But their latest, with producer Zach Shipps (known for his work with the Electric Six and many others,) is “…a bit more heady, with tracks about depression, detainment, domestication, and freedom. At large, it’s a project that is personal. I hope fans listen to it closely because it plays kind of like a scavenger hunt. We’re all over the place.”
“I think part of what we like about working with (Shipps) is that we have no expectations,” said Lackner. “When we go in, there’s no telling what we’ll leave with; it’s (Shipp’s) style. Sonically and lyrically, it’s far denser. I’m proud of all our others but this is the most realized project, yet…”
Passalacqua join Alex Koi, Tunde Olaniran and James Linck, this Saturday at the Blind Pig
Smith said that he and Lackner will be wrapping up their next album by November with a release to follow sometime in the near future. “The production is ‘zany’ and it has lots of sounds we created ourselves, from xylophone, to jibberish noise, to audible claps and smacks in the beat…”