Animal Nation taking the bad rap out of hip hop
Don’t call Animal Nation hip hop, because “a lot of hip hop sucks.”
Although they are hesitant to call themselves a hip hop group, it is the base of their music. That along with banjos, harmonicas, drum machines, guitars, turntables and other instruments.
“Hip hop has a bad rap, no pun intended,” said Mike (Armadillo Slim) Armitage. “There is a lot of really crappy hip hop out there but there is some good stuff. The main stream hip hop sounds nothing like we do. We are struggling to find a name to call it. I guess hip hop, fun rock, party time, banjo. If anyone has any ideas let us know.”
Animal Nation, which consists of Armitage and Garnet (Tall Man) Turner, will be kicking off their 10-city tour in Penticton on Thursday at Voodoo’s Lounge at 8 p.m. with opening act White Dress Star.
Armitage, who compares his group to De La Soul, said seeing a DJ and emcee on stage doesn’t provide that much entertainment value, so they decided to fill that void.
“We wanted to step it up and set ourselves apart from other people. If your music is just good, it doesn’t cut it for a live show. You have the microphone and instrumentals playing in the background, but there isn’t much to watch. We want to make it more fun and interactive,” said Armitage.
One part of their set walks the audience through a track by showing them how they build a beat starting with the hats and kicks, adding snares, other instruments and then the lyrics.
Animal Nation has shared the stage with the likes of Classified, Swollen Members, Jully Black, Sweatshop Union, Blackalicious, Buck 65 and others.
The duo will round out their tour with an appearance at the 2012 Telus Ski and Snowboard Festival and head out to Toronto in June for NXNE. For a taste of their new album — The Basement Tapes Vol. 1 — a streaming version is available at www.urbnet.com/artist-animalnation.asp.