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Band Hip Hop Alternative


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The best kept secret in music


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Suburban Legend EP
release date: June 21, 2005


Feeling a bit camera shy


70,000 fans had already cheered on the Beastie Boys, Green Day, and Talib Kweli, and were anxiously waiting to see the newly reunited A Tribe Called Quest. So when some unknown white rapper named O-Fresh took the stage, the crowd folded its collective arms.

Seven minutes later, all those arms were in the air.

The Voodoo Music Fest in New Orleans was O-Fresh’s largest gig yet, but that crowd reaction was typical. Surprising as it sounds, the sight of a winsome lad from the burbs doesn’t instantly command respect. But O-Fresh is used to it -- he’s been winning over skeptical crowds since grade school.

The trick? “Menacing gestures,” O says. “I intimidate them into liking me.” To fuel this intimidation, O-Fresh draws on his hard-knocks Rhode Island upbringing.

It’s the usual rapper backstory, really:
· On the mean lawns of suburban Providence, young kid discovers rap and finds hope.
· Starts imitating Chuck D and Humpty, which does not at all seem strange to his neighbors.
· Hones his skills by rhyming about tough topics like the Dukes of Hazzard, mowing the lawn, and eventually Arthur Miller (Salem was the original Compton, son).
· Attends Wesleyan University and becomes the first master rapper ever to run its newspaper.
· Loses Battle of the Bands to a jam band, and vows to take revenge by selling at least 20 million more records than that jam band one day. That, and the ol’ fiery bag of poop on the doorstep (check!).
· Moves to Brooklyn, NY after school, and rocks premier NYC venues such as the Bowery Ballroom, Mercury Lounge, Knitting Factory, and of course, the Apollo Theater. OK, not the Apollo.

As an entertainer, O-Fresh does the same stuff as everyone else. He never smiles, and makes sure not to write witty rhymes or infectiously fun choruses. If he weren’t so dedicated, perhaps he would hilariously battle his younger self in the mirror in a song called “8 Years Old & Fabulous” or strut around in a camouflage sweater-vest as the satirical Suburban Gangsta (“Even if it says ‘Don’t Walk,’ I’m-a stomp through / I keep the crossing guard paid so I cross when I wants to”). But he is a serious rapper, so he does not do these things.

On stage and on record, O-Fresh rolls with his crew, the 00Agents, which he formed in high school with a pair of fraternal twins. John MackEnflow, who is not a wild-haired, tattooed Stanford grad, and Sneaky Pete, who IS a crafty little bearded booty hound (no, he really is) guest rap on O-Fresh’s cuts and help him put on live shows that are neither vibrant nor engaging, but rather, intimidating.

Intimidation has always been O-Fresh’s key to success, and this will not change when he hits the big time. As Billboard charts will soon show, O-Fresh is prepared to personally hang 20 million people out the window by their ankles until they agree to buy his record.

That is what sets him apart from the rest. Not some bouncing, irreverent, excitingly novel take on rap music. You got that?