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The best kept secret in music



Deja Voodoo
With most musical genres, the ability to
Play an instrument is prerequisite. But
with a few styles-say, dance and hip hop
- playing an instrument is almost a novel-
ty, or at the very least, its considered a
bonus. Given this situation, when a hip-hop band with actual musicians comes around, it tends to turn some heads.
Local hip-hoppers, Deja Voodoo not only play their own instruments, they play them well, and they make these skills an integral part of their sound. And now they have a CD, Black Magic, which they can use to speed up the process of head turning.
Instead of relying on stale beats and bad-boy macho rhymes, Deja Voodoo crafts tracks that range from laid-back funk-rap (“Guerilla Funk”) and chill-out reggae-funk (“Iron Fist” and “That Y’all”). The range of material is impressive, and while the group could use some tightening and focus in it’s arrangements, it’s clear that all the basic elements are there. “Rock Life” is a standout, with a mellow jazz-rap vibe, a smooth trumpet solo and a relaxed yet subtly driving vocal delivery.

CD Review by Dan Cook
Article Courtesy of Free Times
Columbia South Carolina
Wednesday, October 29,2003

While it might seem surprising to hear
This depth of musicianship in a local hip-
hop act, one look at the lineup of Deja
Voodoo explains everything. The band is
Full of seasoned artists, including Al-One
And Lyrikal Buddah on the mics, Bobby
Dread (ex-Kindread Soul) on drums,
Jazz-trained Rod Franco on guitar and jazz-
trained Jeff Fred on trumpet.
For all of Columbia’s much-discussed musical woes, the city is fortunate to have a
hip-hop scene that encourages craft and
musicianship over egos and posturing.
Hopefully the release Black Magic will
Serve to strengthen that trend. DC

For more information, call Liquid
Nightlife at 765-0405 or visit - Free Times

"Sounds with no boundaries"

Sounds with no boundaries

Music is a form of expression
with no borders of boundaries.
That’s the philosophy DejaVoodoo
explores on its debut CD
“Black Magic”
Jazz, blues, reggae, funk, hip-
hop and rock are reconstructed to
form a refreshing sound on “Black
Magic.” After every song you’ll
ask, where will it go next?
On tracks like “Inman” and
Guerilla Funk,” lyricists Lyrikal
Buddah and Alone draw you into
The rhythm with their magnetizing
topical depth over head-nodding
riffs and drum claps. Then the
songs break into bombastic
calamity usually reserved for tech-
nical jam bands.
Comparisons to the Roots, the
Philadelphia hip-hop outfit, are in-
Evitable. But similarities end with
The instruments. Deja’s rhythm
Section of Bobby Dread on bass
and Barry Harp on drums is retro
lying somewhere between the
Maceo Parker-laced James Brown
accompaniments and the rocking
soul of the Isley Brothers
Guitarists Rod Franco and
Nick Thompson pick and strum
against the rhythm, aggressively
forcing the sound to expand. And
Jeff Dread’s “Mo’ Better Blues”
trumpet flies into tracks like
singing birds into morning sun-
These guys aren’t Roots knock
offs. Listen and you’ll hear some-
thing completely different.
You can dance, vibe with your
friends over drinks and ride around
in your car with “Black Magic”
playing. Smooth and succinct, gritty
and unpredictable, it covers all facets
of the listening experience.

By Ottis R Taylor Jr.
Article Courtesy of The State
Columbia South Carolina
Friday, October 31,2003 - The State

"Recent Shows"

Opening Act for
Bubba Sparx
Petey Pablo
2 Live Crew - Press Release


DejaVoodoo long awaited recording debut- Black Magic!!!

Columbia, S.C. own live hip hop entertainment conglomerate.


Feeling a bit camera shy


Distinct in every way, we'll let them introduce themselves:


Franco has played funk, R&B and jazz and just about everything else. With Deja, he plays simple chords and bangs out loud solos. Check the strumming and you'll notice a derivative of various forms of rock, which sounds smooth knocking against the off-kilter bass and drum.

How he fits: He's a trained musician who brings a lot of energy and harmonic sophistication to the band. He's played different styles, but music boils down to notes and chords - and Franco is playing the right ones.

Franco on the band: "It's really about the music. The way it makes you feel and others feel. It makes me feel so good that I can express myself any way I want."


Bassist Bobby Dread heard Thompson strumming an acoustic guitar on a lazy afternoon, and he was invited to join the band soon after. Thompson listens to a lot of jam and hippie bands like Sector 9, the Grateful Dead and the Allman Brothers. A self-professed technicality freak, he wants to turn people on to music, and that's why his guitar licks are so clean.

How he fits: He uses the guitar to layer and coat parts that have already been written - a sort of sound effect that is complimentary and never obtrusive. And he can't get enough of the wah-wah pedal.

Thompson on the band: "I feel like I'm a part of something I've wanted my whole life. I can do what I feel and it's accepted and people like it. I'd like for us to get bigger than we are."


Jeff Dread, who plays a silky-smooth horn, knew Bobby Dread from another band, Kindred Soul. He considers everyone in Deja, including the lyricists, to be a musician. The grooves were easy to find, but it was harder to find his niche, to add his part to songs without distracting from the lyrical and musical quality.

How he fits: Well versed in the hard-bop that evolved into the soul sound, Jeff Dread works from the perspective of horn pioneers Donald Byrd and Eddie Henderson. He has an understanding of the connection between hip-hop and the poetry of the late 1960s, making it easy for him to develop with the band.

Dread on the band: "I'm very happy with the musical product. This is without question the best work that I've done as far as hip-hop is concerned."


Al is a cool cat who doesn't say much unless he's on the mic. Smooth and spare with his words, his lyrics are thought provoking. It's not the harmony, it's the rhythm.

How he fits: Alone is a cohesive element. He brings focus and a serious perspective to the band's goals.

Alone on the band: "The way we came together, it was like it was supposed to happen. It wasn't anyone's idea."


Bobby Dread is a longtime Columbia artist, performing in bands such as Kindred Soul and Furious Styles. He says Deja is a force to be reckoned with on a national level. He plays the background, but the bass is at the forefront of the band's sound.

How he fits: Bobby Dread brings the fire. He loves performing on stage. Since people are there to see a show, he gives them a show. The Commodores and Cameo made their audiences feel like a part of the show, and Bobby wants to create the same feeling. He had a major part in putting this unit together.

Dread on the band: "It was kind of like forming an entertainment conglomerate. It's a dream group and it's been a blessing."