The Hood Internet
As the name that they go by suggests, The Hood Internet are quite clearly an act in thrall to the possibilities that the internet has opened up, these past few years, for hip hop as a genre; it's especially true of alternative hip hop, whereby artists play by different rules and experiment more than the mainstream side of the style would really allow. The Chicago duo – comprised of ABX and STV SLV – were primarily concerned with mashing up other hip hop tracks to begin with, after they formed in 2007, but have since gone on to pursue original material, in the form of their one album to date, FEAT; the album features underground guest spots form the likes of Tobacco, Class Actress and Cadence Weapon. In addition, the pair have also pursued slightly sillier things, like Album Tacos, a series of photoshopped classic album covers with tacos covering the original content, but they've also played live sets, which has seen them mash up classic hip hop cuts in a slick and often comical manner; it's little wonder, then, that they've managed to carve out a cult fanbase, one that's no doubt eagerly awaiting the next move from the duo in the studio.
Boulevards is Jamil Rashad, a modern funk songwriter and performer from Raleigh, NC. The son of a jazz radio DJ, Jamil grew up in a house where jazz, blues, R&B and funk was played constantly, and encouraged him to get involved in music at an early age. Branching out into punk, hardcore and metal in his teenage years (a self-confessed "scene kid" in the NC area), those sounds would later go on to influence Rashad for their technical precision and tight, economic power.
After a couple stints in local bands and an art school education, the time had come for Jamil to return to his first love: funk—because Boulevards is first and foremost a funk act. As Jamil says "party funk jams for the heart and soul to make you move." Following in the footsteps of pioneers like Prince, Rick James and Earth, Wind & Fire, Boulevards synthesizes that with the adventurousness of Talking Heads and Grace Jones, and finally modernizes it with current production values, nodding to Pharrell and Breakbot along with both modern and vintage hip hop.
This 4-track EP looks back at the post-disco boogie sound while steadfastly looking to the future. Working with producers Isaac Gálvez, Taste Nasa and Rollergirl!, Boulevards has delivered on his promise for party jams. The infectious two-minute incessant bass hook of "Got to Go," the future electro of "Forgot to Mention," the mid-tempo groove of "Honesty" and the Bootsy Collins-meets-Quincy Jones-in-2015 attack of "Sanity" lay down the template for the Shape of Funk to Come. And the funk to come will be Boulevards.