One Block Radius
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One Block Radius

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Band Hip Hop Pop

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Discography

Albums
Luxurious/Scapegoat Wax/Goodvibe 1999
Okeeblow/Scapegoat Wax/Grand Royal 2001
SWAX/Scapegoat Wax/Hollywood 2002
Long Short Story/One Block Radius/Avatar (Coming August 2005)

Soundtracks
2004 The Prince and Me
2003 Laurel Canyon
2002 Clockstoppers
2001 America's Sweethearts

singles
Light of the Moon/Scapegoat Wax/Goodvibe 1999
Aisle 10/Scapegoat Wax/Grand Royal 2001
Lost Cause/Scapegoat Wax/Hollywood 2002
Loud And Clear/One Block Radius/Avatar (July 2006)

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Bio

In today’s hectic world, it’s often hard to remember to make time to have fun and unwind. Many of us would love to be able to turn to an album that forces us to have a good time, encourages us to laugh your worries away and makes us groove to the group’s infectious sounds. Like that of the Pharcyde a decade before them, California-based One Block Radius’ energetic, lighthearted brand of humorous and insightful hip-hop does just that.

Made up of writer, producer and singer Marty James (formerly of Scapegoat Wax), nimble Hieroglyphics-affiliated rapper Z-Man and fellow Scapegoat Wax alumni and turntable maestro MDA who backs up Marty on vocals, One Block Radius have created an exciting new musical movement with its adventurous debut album, Long Story Short. The spunky collection features a batch of lively, creative beats that stretch hip-hop’s sonic boundaries to deliver something distinctively different. It’s a fresh style of music that endears, entertains and melts stress away as it takes a good-natured look at life’s complications.

“We want to open peoples’ minds up a bit,” says Marty, a rare talent who can deliver high quality songs at every stage of the recording process, from writing to rapping to singing to production. He also often sings in an appealing falsetto. “The album has a bunch of different creative forces that went into making it,” Marty continues. “I hope the album sparks people’s creative sides. I want us to keep progressing in the fashion of an OutKast where you have the first record and it just grows and when it’s fully developed, it’s a beautiful thing. We are dudes that want to push the boundaries creatively.”

For evidence, check “Wake Up Tomorrow,” the trio’s funny take on getting too drunk for your own good; “Black Mercedes,” a surprisingly charming tale of an unfaithful girl that includes a nod to R&B singer Oran “Juice” Jones; and “I Like Him,” where Z-Man recounts a surprising encounter at a recording session with actor-singer Jennifer Love Hewitt. These charming cuts display the group’s winning comedic bent and its imaginative songwriting, which knows no limits. “We’re not trying to fit a mold,” MDA says. “We’re not trying to look at certain groups and try to copy them. We’re just ourselves.”

The creative energy extends to the funky, old school feel of “Not Enuff,” a clever love song that sounds as if Rick James and Prince put it together. “We were all pumped on the beat but we couldn’t come up with a subject,” Marty recalls. “We just started talking about our relationship with girls and the next thing you know we had a whole song going.”

The group shifts sonic gears on the reflective “Alone.” It’s a compassionate solo cut from Marty that deals with the inner emotions people wrestle with when loved ones are no longer present. A testament to One Block Radius’ uplifting outlook, the song sounds more optimistic and hopeful than wistful and depressed.

“It’s about missing someone and just trying to figure out how to deal and move on with your life when you lose someone or something,” Marty says. “It’s about when I lost my grandmother when I was 10. She was a real big influence and helped raise me when I was a kid.”

Marty also references his grandmother on the bouncy, piano-propelled “Loud & Clear.” This song, a layered look at life in a stress-filled city, features one of Marty’s most infectious beats. “That piano in there had me just hypnotized,” Z-Man says of the cut, which was one of the first the group recorded for Long Story Short. “Marty came with an idea and the chorus made me think of some stuff. It just kind of popped up and it gave us a good start. We were like, ‘OK, if we can do this kind of stuff right off the bat, then we can make a whole record.’”

That creative energy and excitement made recording Long Story Short especially rewarding for Marty. “It was my favorite experience recording a record because it was just us in the studio,” he says. “There was no real A&R dude chirping at us, no producer trying to whip us into shape. When I had this idea, I wanted to keep it real raw and have the album have a real gritty sound.”

And once Marty, Z-Man and MDA started working together, they were amazed by how everything was so close to their studio – hence the name One Block Radius. “We thought about where we recorded everything and how we formed and everything seemed to be real communal as far as everything was in walking distance,” MDA recalls. “That’s how we grew up, on a block where everything was in walking distance and all of our friends were around the corner.”

It wasn’t always that way, though. Each of the group members comes from dramatically different backgrounds. Marty grew up in rural Chico, California, north of the Bay Area, while Z-Man was born and raised in San Francisco. Then there’s MDA, who was raised in Indiana.

Marty formed with MDA Scapegoat Wax, which was signed to the Beastie Boys’ Grand Royal Records, while Z-Man became a mem