Black Bottom Collective
(courtesy of Black Bottom Collective)
Detroit band Black Bottom Collective bends the rules of music, stretching and loosening them like tight muscles. What's usually leftf is a mash-up of hip-hop, spoken word, soul and rock. Find their albums Stay Low, Keep Movin' and People Mover in the "Rap" section of the record or iTunes store. But be prepared for much more.
Black Bottom Collective's live show is so ferocious, energetic and revivalist that it's been dubbed the "soul-stirrin' meetin'." Few fans ever settle for just one outing. They return for the band's lyrical content. No, for their gospel-tinged power harmonies. Maybe the angry guitars, or the DJ, or the rhythm section. Maybe they're so loyal because they've discovered a crew whose music helps them leave venues, or CDs players, feeling better than they did before arriving, or pressing play.
The eight-man band consists of emcee/poet/producer Khary Kimani Turner, also founder and leader; vocalists Tunesia "True" Turner and Karen "Kay Bosco" Vesprini; Carl "DJ Invisible" Hollier, also DJ for rapper Xzibit; bassist Kamau, keyboardist/producer Mark "Swami" Harper; guitarist/producer Edward "Teduardo" Canaday and drummer Ivan "Groove" Prosper.
The BBC name honors a Detroit neighborhood that thrived during the 1940s and 50s. Like that legendary enclave, which championed self-determination brought on by racial strife in the city, Black Bottom Collective's sound is influenced by the varied tastes of its multi-ethnic membership. The energy of The Roots, Bob Marley and Black Sabbath show up in their set and sound, and their similarly multi-culti audiences swallow it whole.
So has the music intelligentsia in their time-tested, musically approved city of Detroit. Bud True Music declared them one of America's top six unsigned bands. Rolling Stone and Vanity Fair advised the country to keep an ear out for them. The hometown knows already. They've won five Detroit Music Awards.
Black Bottom Collective insists that it's unnecessary to validate themselves by dropping the names of artists they've opened for or performed with. The truth is, however, their experiences span far and wide, and they've landed on stages with people worth mentioning. So...the names, anyway. Common. Mos Def. Talib Kweli. Angie Stone. Dwele. Stevie Wonder. Nnenna Freelon. Vinx. Jill Scott. KRS-One. Doug E. Fresh. Will Downing. Cee-Lo Green. Dianne Reeves. Joe Hunter of The Funk Brothers. Angelique Kidjo. Quincy Troupe.
Speak to all walks of life. Blaze the trails. Triumph. And then, invite the people to follow. That's the Black Bottom Collective way. Will you be there?
"Don't be shy about your creation. If it's dope, tell them it's dope. And then, give it to them."
- KRS-One to Khary Kimani Turner, Detroit, 2005