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BRWN BFLO @ Brava Theatre

San Francisco, California, USA

San Francisco, California, USA

BRWN BFLO @ La Pena Cultural Center

Berkeley, California, USA

Berkeley, California, USA


Berkeley, California, USA

Berkeley, California, USA

This band has not uploaded any videos
This band has not uploaded any videos



"Fuck macarena we sun dance on that ass." Absolutely digging the breezy follow, witty U-turns, and stellar executive production of Big Dan on the Oakland rap quartet's new release (pronounced "brown buffalo" if you didn't know). The Jay-Z-like undertow brings some lush instrumentation and vibrant, retro-feel samplescapes into the mix, but these Latin lowdowners aren't afraid to screw around with some electro-wacky Nintendo samples ("Big Sir") and even some Swisher-tips to hyphy. Best of all, though they ride hard on Chicano culture props and a dash of welcome positivity and humor, the exhilaratingly versatile skills of Giant, Jacinto, Somos One, and Big Dan launch this one out of the identity-rap rut into the "that shit's smokin" stratosphere. The disc is plainly a labor of love; live they should be something else. The new album officially drops 5/5 (Cinco do Mayo, natch) -- details about this weekends big release party below. - Marke B, San Francisco Bay Guardian

Bay Area rappers BRWN BFLO took their name from the 1972 autobiography by Oscar Zeta Acosta, "Brown Buffalo" — a tale of an alienated Mexican-American lawyer in Oakland whose Chicano pride and sense of history are awakened.

The story is a familiar one to the quartet of first and second-generation Mexican Americans who go by the stage names Somos One (Julio Magana, 30), Giant (Luke Soriano, 29), Big Dan (Daniel Mora, 23) and Jacinto (Jacinto Mingura, 19).

Except their barrio story is set to a hip-hop beat.

On stage, BRWN BFLO is fun and energetic but always political with the intellectual creativity of old-school rappers like Afrika Bambaataa.

"If you feeling what we feelin' put your hands to the ceiling" they chanted during a rehearsal for their Wednesday night Oakland Metro show in the basement of Somos One's North Oakland house. In the background Jacinto worked his AKAI sampler like Charles Mingus playing bass and the guest DJ Oja resembled Thelonious Monk on the piano, only his fingers were flying across vinyl.

"They can't kill us all and they can't deport us," rapped Big Dan, his long black hair flying about his face as he sang about coming up Chicano in the United States.

Hip-hop, ethnicity and a dedication to political activism brought together the quartet of college-educated Californians who characterize BRWN BFLO as a Chicano-conscious revolutionary group.

"We're all on the hip-hop tip," as Jacinto put it.

So using hip-hop was the logical choice as their medium to communicate with young people grappling with broken schools, broken homes and a broken system.

"It was natural for us," Somos One said, sitting on a sofa surrounded by political posters and handwritten Muhammad Ali and Carol Mosley Brown quotes.

"We are part of the hip-hop generation. My heart beats to it."

Calling themselves "edu-tainers" and block educators, they try to stay close to their community roots and preach the gospel of violence prevention, cultural pride and La Raza resistance that they said students in dysfunctional schools learn piecemeal — if at all. Only they do it through music and multimedia — an approach that has won them recognition.

Their music has also gotten attention. They have shared the stage with Goapele, Ise Lyfe, Frontline, Blue Scholars and Zion I, who they credit as one of their influences along with WAR, Fuga, La Collectiva, Entre Musicos, Los Rakas and Wu-Tang Clan.

As their success grew and number of shows increased, the group decided to create a board whose members are DJs, students, community advocates and others.

"We want to stay relevant to what's going on," said Big Dan, who learned the hard lessons of a Fruitvale district gangbanger with some serious brushes with the law. Now he and the other members of BRWN BFLO try to reach youth for whom gangs seem like a better option than school.

Somos One likened their role to a storyteller who brings history alive and turns the "you're at risk of failure" mantra upside down. "We're all survivors."
- Angela Woodal, Oakland Tribune

Oakland-based Hip-Hop group BRWN BFLO is just as much as an anomaly as their namesake: a progressive Chicano Hip-Hop group with bottomless hyphy 808s and an immense stage presence. So while the carnales in SoCal are making you “Lean Like A Cholo”, you can find Somos One, Big Dan, Jacinto and Giant collar-poppin’ in their sets, fully decked in Dios de los Muertes face paint and scaring the beejezus out of the nearest Federal Agent lurking in their audience. You get the feeling that anything is possible when it comes to their dynamic appeal.

What’s fascinating about their style speaks less about their approach, but more of what we, as Hip-Hop fans, might expect from most MCs of Latin descent: that they’re either spitting corny ass Spanglish verses with Lil’ Loca singin’ the hook, stompin’ in their Timbs moonlighting as a poor man’s Big Pun trying to relive 1998, or worst of all, a Reggaeton Cubano with meticulously-trimmed eyebrows spittin’ for the Ed Hardy-adorned club masses. If you are basing your expectations on these outdated and unfortunate stereotypes, you will be delightfully surprised that they are none of the former.

To understand BRWN BFLO, you must first understand the Chicanos of NorCal, who are oftentimes free from the segregational gang mentality of L.A. and in close proximity to the grassroots movements of consciousness prevalent in the Bay Area. The Brown Pride they feel has less to do with sticking together in survival and xenophobia, but more to do with understanding their history and contribution to the movements that created universal social change and awareness in the 60s and 70s. So even though the original Brown Buffalo, lawyer Oscar Zeta Acosta, was playing Robin Hood and taking psychedelics with his road dawg Dr. Hunter Thompson nearly 40 years prior, you get the sense that they honored him not only for the cool-sounding name, but for the regional pride and self-awareness they ultimately project in their music.

Their newest offering, entitled BRWN BFLO, has underground content with mainstream appeal thanks to the continuity of Jacinto’s production. And while “Apeshit” is clearly the one to get the party started, tracks such as “Corazon” and “Wheels Keep Spinning” featuring Zion-I and Bambu, provide the counterbalance. Peep for yourself. - Ms. Krish,

In case you forgot, or didn't remember in the first place, today is Cinco de Mayo. And what better way to celebrate Mexico's victory over the French army on May 5, 1862, than by copping the new album from Oakland's BRWN BFLO, which hit stores this morning?

Their eponymous release is a little reminiscent of a more-conscious Cypress Hill. Except constant references to mota are replaced by frequent mentions of La Raza and Cesar Chavez' immigrant labor movement. And the fact there are three emcees (and one DJ) in BRWN BFLO. The comparisons prove most apt in the sense that the group offer an original, Latin-tinged take on hip-hop, both lyrically and production wise. It's a combination that will have you yelling "fresca!," even if you don't speak Spanish.

I had the opportunity to build a little bit with BRWN BFLO before their Slim's show last Friday, when they opened up for Zion-I. Have to say, they came across as really nice guys. One comment in particular stood out: "I worked harder on this than I have on anything in my life," one member said about their new album. "And I went to college."

Opening slots are tough, but though few in the audience were familiar with BRWN BFLO's musica, they got the crowd hyped with their energy onstage during their brief set. The next night, their official record release party at the Uptown, was a different story. The near sold-out crowd was specifically there to see them, and their performance wasn't only longer, but more complete and satisfying in every way. They opened with a theater-like skit about being on the bus, and proceeded to rock the crowd for over an hour in a set which may have established them as the next truly innovative hip-hop act from the Bay you need to check for. By evening's end, the stage was filled with their friends, making it seem more like a UFW rally than a rap show. - Erik Arnold, SF Weekly

Move aside or get trampled. Brwn Bflo stampede through the Bay Area hip-hop scene with their self-titled debut. The Oakland quartet (pronounced brown buffalo) shatter traditional hip-hop parameters like bulls in a fine china shop.

Jacinto, Brwn Bflo’s beat maker in chief, creates an amazingly seamless blend of 70s funk, Latin rhythms, and rock with some homegrown hyphy tossed in for good measure. The verses are political and playful in addition to bi-lingual. Don’t fret if you don’t speak Spanish. Their talent translates across language barriers. Emcees Giant, Somos One, and Big Dan have strong convictions but easily step off their soapbox to reach the people on the street and those riding in scrapers.

The electric guitar hooks and buzzing bass lines of “Whats Good” will have you ready to throw down. “Wheels Keep Spinnin,” which features Zion I and Bambu, is arguably one of the best tracks on the album while the shockingly subdued “Apeshit” will have you nodding your head to the thumping drum kit.

Brwn Bflo starts strong out of the gates, bringing the Chicano experience in the Bay to the forefront. - Kimberly Turne,

These ambassadors of conscious Latino hip-hop make a proud artistic statement without neglecting the more earthy elements that attracted them to the music in the first place. Some moments transcend both old- and new-school, such as the chorus to "Wheels Keep Spinnin'," which upends a classic rap phrase: Like this y'all, like that y'all, hands up y'all, against the wall y'all. (self-released) - Nate Seltenrich, East Bay Express


BRWN BFLO: Studio Album, released 5/509
Batos Baqueros & Busboys: Mixtape hosted by Zumbi of Zion I, released 7/17/09



Currently residing in Oakland, the members of BRWN BFLO originate from all over California but blend effortlessly in the studio and on stage. They have performed alongside Immortal Technique, Goapele, Michael Franti, Blue Scholars, and Zion I among others. BRWN BFLO’s musical influence is as varied as their upbringings; they credit War, ‘Chente, NWA, and Wu-Tang Clan as sources of inspiration. These diverse influences have given way to a truly unique style of music that has angled BRWN BFLO for success on a global level, grabbing the attention of a multigenerational, multicultural audience.

The group keeps their focus through deep community roots and a strong dedication to their personal testimony as block educators turned musicians. Additionally, BRWN BFLO offers Multi Workshops on Violence-Prevention, Youth Organizing, Creative Writing/Visual Arts and Music Production.

BRWN BFLO’s highly anticipated self-titled debut album was released May 5th, 2009. Their national tour of cultural centers and clubs alike will be supported by a strong promotional campaign, in-store performances, digital contests, radio giveaways and speaking engagements.