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Music

The best kept secret in music

Press


"You really put on a great show the other night at Gabe's... You impressed a lot of folks. Let me know if you need any help with booking throughout the Midwest..."

Eric Noble, Loyal Family Entertainment

"Dood! Get out of my head! If you sing Modern Day Hitchcock one more time in there I'm coming in with an axe...."

Chrissy

"great article!!! the times man... thats big stuff right?! cant wait to see ya jammin this weekend!"

Morgan

"Jason Fladlien....what can be said about this fellow, the miggity mac, the modern hitchicoyock-the emo thug who will burn down your house if you ain't dirty dancing, will ofcourse always hold my encouragement, you are a true inspiration jason, and a walking, living, breathing, ass kicking example of Hard work and preserverence in the life of failed successes. tho maybe in the past straight wikid went through a tough spot, i believe you have found your sound and you are blossoming into a great musical entity."

Blake Daly

"You rocked the house down... well burnt it down is a bit more appropriate. And way to rock that freestyle man, there weren't a pair of ears in that room not tuned in to each and every rhyme of that. So rock on Mr. Macktacular." Nick Maida


"All I can say is WOW! Had to drop Kevyn off and he had your cd..so I made him let me borrow it till I picked him back up..IM SOOO BUYING ONE!! Was listening to Dirty Dancin and about wet myself..Never danced soo much while driving..." Michelle Y.

"Straiht Wikid Crew always has a spot here and always delivers an entertaining show." Delaine W., co-ower of Killers After Dark Coffee Shop

"Jason Fladlien is the modern day hitchcock...he's also mactacular and he's guaranteed to make you get on down to the beat. His character shines through on each and every track and you can help but get caught up in his musical madness." Accelerativ Thrust Magazine

"
WOAH BUDDY!!!! i have never heard you before and i just did and i'm a happier person because of it. i LIKE IT!! and i HATE this kind of music! Kudos to you!!" Danielle R.

" this song will play at my funeral. i love it that much. seriously." Grant J., commenting on the song "Get on Down to the Beat"

"This is as close to a musical orgasm as I have ever came." Dan Orr - from the crew


I have never done this as a music critic, but just wanted to send you a personal word of congratulations on your CD.  It immediately infected my brain and I love listening to it.  It's been played on my iPod (and whistled on the streets) in Seattle, Phoenix, LA, London, Leeds (UK) and at 39,000 feet over the Atlantic Ocean.

Todd Beemis of www.indie-music.com

"It is not everyday a 22 year-old white rapper from Muscatine has a CD release party complete with two opening bands, screaming fans who know every lyric to every song, and a girl in a white hooded sweatshirt reading 'I love u Jason Fladlien.'

But then it is not everyday you meet a person like Jason Fladlien."

------- Nicole Fry of the Muscatine Community College Calumet Newspaper


"Although Flad has found bliss through Hare Krishna he still fires off dope rhymes like 'Columbo.'"

------- Robert Blackford, editor of the Aledo Times Record Newspaper


"Good core stuff here...Excellent detail & word play [with a] strong musical contrast & lift At the Chorus! Good Solid Effort"

------ Great American Song Contest Evaluation, in reference to the song "Get on Down to the Beat" which receieved a 10 in "Imagery/Poetics" and a 9 in "Clarity of Theme", "Rhyming", & "How Lyric Fits Music" categories.


" This song will play at my funeral. I love it that much. Seriously."

------- Grant Jackson, commenting on the song "Get on Down to the Beat"


"Some might remember Fladlien as the young kid who’d clown around at Muscatine High School football games in the early 1990s doing choreographed rap skits for the fans in the stands."

"Not only does he rap, he performs, choreographs moves, gets the crowd involved and pulls people onto the stage."

------- Melissa Regennitter of the Muscatine Journal


"His raps are playful and colorfully orated, the same way the Beastie Boys and Eminem spout off, though they lack the sameness of the Beasties and the brash, always off-color homophobic and inciting rhymes of the man from 8 Mile Road in Detroit. "

"[The spiritual clay markings on his forehead are a] visible sign that Fladlien, the Muscatine rapper known as Straiht Wikid Crew, won’t approach his art in the same way that Ludacris does."

------- Sean Moeller of the Quad City Times


"Dude! Get out of my head! If you sing Modern Day Hitchcock one more time in there I'm coming in with an axe...."

------- Chrissy D.


"'Get on Down to the Beat' is a male vocal hip hop groove song, equal parts Beastie Boys, Bare Naked Ladies and (post-Talking Heads era) David Byrne."

" It's nice to hear some talented folks having fun."

"We life it. 'Nuff said!"

------- Recording Magazine, Feb. 2006


"Fladlien pulls from a broad range of influences. ‘‘Dirty Dancin’’ sounds like a mashup of Run DMC and Digital Underground, and the soothing flow of ‘‘Love Me Or Hate Me’’ is straight out of the Atmosphere school of touchy-feely rappers trying to make sense of their relationships. "

" If Hasidic Jew rapper Matisyahu can make it in the rap game, Fladlien stands a chance as well."

------- Eric Clark of the Cedar Rapids Gazette


"You really put on a great show the other night at Gabe's... You impressed a lot of folks. Let me know if you need any help with booking throughout the Midwest..."

------- Eric Noble, Loyal Family Entertainment


"Jason Fladlien will always hold my encouragement, You are a true inspiration Jason, and a walking, living, breathing, ass kicking example of hard work and preserverence... I believe you have found your sound and you are blossoming into a great musical entity."

------- Blake Daly


"You rocked the house down... well burnt it down is a bit more appropriate. And way to rock that freestyle man, there weren't a pair of ears in that room not tuned in to each and every rhyme of that. So rock on Mr. Macktacular."

------- Nick Maida

‹‹
"All I can say is WOW! Had to drop Kevyn off and he had your cd..so I made him let me borrow it till I picked him back up..IM SOOO BUYING ONE!! Was listening to Dirty Dancin and about wet myself..Never danced soo much while driving..."

------- Michelle Y.

" I really appreciate the positive and fun nature of the music. I myself cannot acheive such a thing, but can recognize when I like it. The album was put together very well and the quality was top notch." Aeon Gray, Rapper from Des Moines, IA

"Congrats on the show last night. It was very creative, original and most important, fun!  That's why people want to listen to music and go out to support it isn't it?  To have fun, and hopefully along the way the artist can enlighten them on something new and unique.  Just like you did!" Doug, Owner of Eagle Eye Entertainment in Iowa City, IA.

" I really appreciate the positive and fun nature of the music. I myself cannot acheive such a thing, but can recognize when I like it. The album was put together very well and the quality was top notch." Aeon Gray, Rapper from Des Moines, IA

"Congrats on the show last night. It was very creative, original and most important, fun!  That's why people want to listen to music and go out to support it isn't it?  To have fun, and hopefully along the way the artist can enlighten them on something new and unique.  Just like you did!" Doug, Owner of Eagle Eye Entertainment in Iowa City, IA.
- from the media


Forgive me, but I'm having something close to a holy moment. You see, I review indie music and now I get to type the following words: Straight Wikid Crew is a hip-hop band led by a Hare Krishna from Muscatine, Iowa.

You think they get to write that at Rolling Stone? Oh, hell to the no!

But beyond the delicious backstory, Straiht Wikid Crew's Kali Yuga Demolition Vol 1 is, most importantly, plain and simple revolutionary. It's so, so, so wonderfully good.

Whether he's sampling Cary Grant repeating the word "wicked" on "Modern Day Hitchcock" or seamlessly dropping Bill Medley into "Dirty Dancin," this man knows how to throw down the licks and tricks without any bricks.

As I listened to SWC, I increasingly felt something similar to what people must have sensed when they stumbled into the Paris studio of a then-unknown Picasso: "Oh my god ... this guy's the real thing!"

Every track has special treats. "On the DL" has Straiht shouting out 200 mile per hour staccato rap about Viagra, underwear stains and crack whores -- it's like breaking into Ol' Dirty Bastard's house while amped out of your mind on speed. "Mactacular" opens with a snippet of the theme to blaxploitation blockbuster "The Mack."

But for all this assured sense of fun, for my money "Get on Down to the Beat" is the best song on this CD or any hip-hop offering I've heard in all of 2006.

In fact, it's the most unabashedly upbeat and celebratory rap song I've heard since Kurtis Blow's "Throughout Your Years," incorporating such heretofore unheard of hip-hop lyrics as "I rise up early at 5, I grab my beads and chant a round" and "I ain't your average mack, I'm not the brightest head of lettuce in the cabbage patch" and spinning them into musical gold. I catch myself whistling the chorus just walking down the street. It's taking over my brain, and I'm not fighting back.

On the less-thrilling side, closing track "Incoming" takes the listener out with a minute or so of drum-bangin' Hare Krishna chants -- slightly annoying for the non-devotee (remember George Harrison's indulgences?) but I could almost smell the incense and I respect the fact that SWC really cares about this aspect of his life and, hey, the CD is called Kali Yuga after all so I had a fair warning -- and he was kind enough to refrain from this till the bitter end of the record.

In the lyrics to "Columbo," SWC claims that "for what it's worth, I say things I don't mean" and while that may be true for any of us, every word and thought on Kali Yuga Demolition Vol 1 seems carefully chosen, with the rich, glossy burnish of a unique and exceptional talent.

White-boy rap has a history of headliners -- ranging from Vanilla Ice (laugh now, but you loved him then) to Beastie Boys to Eminem to The Streets. I hereby nominate SWC for a seat in that holy musical firmament. And he's from Muscatine, Iowa, for Krishna's sake!

SWC may be a practitioner of Eastern consciousness, but these joints are more mack daddy than meditation, more hip-hop than Hare Krishna. I cannot wait for Volume 2, so get writin' son! - Todd Beemis


by staff writer Nicole Fry

MUSCATINE MUSICIAN CELEBRATES HIS FIRST CD RELEASE IN HIS HOMETOWN


It is not everyday a 22 year-old white rapper from Muscatine has a CD release party complete with two opening bands, screaming fans who know every lyric to every song, and a girl in a white hooded sweatshirt reading "I love u Jason Fladlien."

But then it is not everyday you meet a person like Jason Fladlien.

Fladlien steps up to the microphone. All evening he's been the guy quietly standing in the crowd, grooving to opening bands, Disgruntled Noisebox and Burnt Ends, by himself, eating an orange. Now it is his time to shine.

"Straiht Wikid Who?"asks Fladlien smiling at the crowd of eager fans and friends.

"Straiht Wikid Crew!" the crowd hollers back in reply.

As the beats begin, Fladlien lights a stick of incense and makes himself at home before the crowd.

"I'm going to take my shoes off," says Fladlien, sliding his tennis shoes to the side.

Fladlien was born, raised and still resides in Muscatine. By day, he holds a nine to five job at Carriage House Carpet One. By night he immerses himself in the beats he composes himself for Straiht Wikid Crew, a name he came up with in his high school sociology class.

Originally Fladlien started with Straiht Wikid. Crew was added by friend and one time partner, Billy Estrada.

"When he left, I just kept 'crew' anyway," Fladlien said.

The weird, wonderful and loyal friends and fans took over where Estrada left off. They join Fladlien onstage, singing into the microphone, dancing, exchanging hats, vests and energy with him.

"All the people there," Fladlien said, "that was the crew."

Kevyn Krueger is a long time friend of Fladlien since the eighth grade.

"We used to have a wrestling show," said Krueger. "Me, him and a bunch of friends would wrestle on a trampoline and beat the hell out of each other."

Since Krueger has known Fladlien, he's been watching him rap, dancing back back to back with his friend to Fladlien's song, "Dirty Dancing". On Fladlien's first CD, "Kali Yuga Demolition Vol. 1" Krueger recorded material, landing him in the CD's liner notes.

"Cause I'm in the 'Crew'," said Krueger.

BEHIND THE MUSIC

Fladlien isn't just the performer, he writes, mixes, and records lyrics and beats in the confines of his room, laden with brightly colored religious images representing his Krishna faith. He seats himself, sometimes for 10 hours a day, behind a home computer and an elaborate keyboard creating simple beats first and writing the rhymes, fitting them together like a jig saw puzzle.

"I have a unique way of writing songs," said Fladlien. "I probably spend way too much time rethinking and reworking the tracks before they get to their final versions."

Fladlien obsessively brings together drum betas from the keyboard, together with beats and lyrics simultaneously, sometimes leaving entire verses out.

"I think that's why people like my music so much," he said. "Everything fits together."

After he brings together the perfect mixture, he records his vocals in a self-built, padded recording studio to the left of his computer where most people would rather keep their clothes hidden.

"I record my vocals in the closet," Fladlien said.

His CD, which was released and celebrated on March 3rd at the Muscatine Armory, contains all original tracks, inspired by current events, his strong beliefs, and his personal life like in the song "Get On Down to the Beat":

"I rise up early at five, I grab my beads and chant a round, I found the sound is the vibe".

Some of the songs Fladlien creates have even came to be by accident.

"I often make the beat first and just vibe to it until something comes out lyrically," Fladlien said.

The song "Get on Down to the Beat" was originally supposed to be "dark and sad" but with a few changes to one instrument and one chord, it evolved into an upbeat and fun song that "makes you want to get down to the beat."

"My favorite songs are always those that come about spontaneously or by accident," said Fladlien.

PROJECTING HIS IDENTITY

From the beginning moments to the time Fladlien leaves the stage, he never stops moving. He jumps and slides around on the concrete floor in his white stocking feet. He spontaneously climbs chairs, pulls random people onstage with him, then runs out into the crowd and back again. His face is dripping with sweat, hair stuck to his forehead and his glasses cling to the end of his nose, he puts his heart and soul into his performance.

"I know once I get on the spot this is the moment," Fladlien said. "So I better put everything into it."

His hard work and patience is beginning to pay off for him. He has played over 20 shows in Muscatine, Iowa City, Cedar Rapids and Des Moines. On April 15th, eh will be playing at the REd Sea in Minneapolis. He has also been featured in the Cedar Rapids Gazette and the Muscatine Journal.

Fladlien is enjoying the attention, but sees it more as an opportunity to share his art with the masses.

"I'm proud of it," he said. "I'm just trying to do it so more people hear my music."

Fladlien would like to break out of the underground someday, and maybe even make a living at it, taking as far as he can yet still keeping it what it is, which he knows won't be easy.

"It's hard now and it will never get any easier,' said Fladlien. "But I will enjoy it still."
- The Calumet: Muscatine Community College


By Eric Clark The Gazette


    If Eminem grew up tipping cows in Muscatine instead of winning rap battles in Detroit, he might sound something like Straiht Wikid Crew.
    On the one-man rap group’s debut album, ‘‘Kali Yuga Demolition Vol. 1,’’ rapper Jason Fladlien easily exceeds the humorously low expectations that accompany being a Hare Krishna rapper from rural Iowa.
    ‘‘Modern Day Hitchcock,’’ the album’s first song, immediately brings to mind Eminem’s ‘‘My Name Is,’’ right down to Fladlien’s clipped, slightly nasal flow and cartoonish vocal acrobatics. But what could have come across as a carbon copy turns out to be more of an homage, as Fladlien’s lyrics are entertaining in their own right.
    As the album progresses, it’s clear that Fladlien pulls from a broad range of influences. ‘‘Dirty Dancin’’ sounds like a mashup of Run DMC and Digital Underground, and the soothing flow of ‘‘Love Me Or Hate Me’’ is straight out of the Atmosphere school of touchy-feely rappers trying to make sense of their relationships.
    ‘‘Kali Yuga Demolition Vol. 1’’ is an entertaining ride through the mind of a child of the Internet age, whose geographic location has in no way hindered his immersion in pop culture.
    If Hasidic Jew rapper Matisyahu can make it in the rap game, Fladlien stands a chance as well.
    Contact the writer: (319) 368-8809 or eric.clark@ gazettecommunications.com - The Cedar Rapids Gazette


MUSCATINE, Iowa – Jason Fladlien, lone member of the “band” Straiht Wikid Crew, hip-hopped onto the local music scene last year. Now, the Muscatine musician is promoting his debut album, “Kali Yuga Demolition Vol. 1”

Released last month, “Kali Yuga ...” was written, recorded, mixed and produced by Fladlien in a process that took nearly a year and half.

But before this one-man band could marry his music and his Muse, he had to travel a winding road— a road that, by his own admission, had no direction and sometimes went down the wrong path — but one that ultimately brought him full circle.

The life of ‘Flad’

Fladlien’s circle began when he was 8 years old and he started writing raps. By the time he was in junior high school at Central, he began performing for high school students who couldn’t get enough of his hip-hop solos – which he did “until it wasn’t cool to do any more.”

Some might remember Fladlien as the young kid who’d clown around at Muscatine High School football games in the early 1990s doing choreographed rap skits for the fans in the stands.

Some might also recognize Fladlien as the young man who sometimes sits at the riverfront with his drum and beats away a rhythmic tune. This practice reveals another side of a man of change.

After graduating from Muscatine High School in 2001, he went to college with what he describes as no direction, a path of self destruction and only stalwart atheist beliefs. He majored in psychology at Iowa State University but had no desire to make a career of what he was studying. All he could think about was music. Despite his good grades, he dropped out halfway through his second semester.

He was indirectly introduced to the life of Hare Krishna (those who worship the Hindu God Krishna and are a member of the International Society for Krishna Consciousness) through a friend who had traveled as a monk. At the time, Krishna did not interest him but he knew his friend was a vegetarian and was curious about becoming a vegetarian himself. After searching Internet sites for vegetarianism, he came across a site about Krishna. From that day on, he hasn’t stopped reading about the worship of Hindu gods.

Although he hasn’t been formally initiated as a Hare Krishna, Fladlien says he believes in the religion and practices his devotion. He has done so for about two years.

He wakes at 4:30 a.m. every day to chant for one and a half hours. He chants at least 16 rounds on his japa-mala beads, which are similar to a rosary necklace. There are 108 beads and on each bead he chants the Maha Mantra once. The Mantra is a chant of the lord Krishna’s holy names. It is an offering of respect that helps Fladlien find focus.

“Generally, 16 rounds takes about one to two hours to complete, depending on how focused the mind is and how pure the chanting is,” he said.

He reads Vedic scriptures that originated in ancient India and marks his body and forehead with Tilaka, clay from the holy rivers of India. Fladlien sees this as the most outward way to show his devotion to Krishna.

He plays his Mrdanga, an authentic clay drum that has been used for many centuries by Indian cultures to accompany chanting. His favorite place to beat his drum and chant is on the riverfront. With the river before him, traffic along Mississippi Drive behind him and the sounds of nature and people around him, he takes in the area and finds it especially peaceful.

While he was unemployed, sometimes he chanted for seven hours a day. He lived off of savings that he had accumulated to purchase his recording equipment.

In early 2004, Fladlien began practicing the religion and became a self-described recluse in his apartment. For once, he pursued what he really wanted, not what others expected of him, and devoted his life to religion and music.

“I would go for months without seeing my friends … and my parents were concerned about me,” he said. “But, I was happier than ever because I found this new freedom – a new release.”

He saved his money, wrote music, taught himself how to play the piano and learned to cook vegetarian dishes. Finally, he purchased the equipment to record his album. After years of rapping and learning to write and record, he had a finished product.

“I spent hundreds of hours on one song trying to make it perfect … . Fifteen hours would have been good enough for most people.”

Fladlien said once he came out of seclusion, in October 2005, he shocked his family and friends. They had no idea what he was doing and he popped out with an album and open arms. He’d found a new love and respect for life.

His parents say they are very supportive and thankful for the path he’s taken.

“They’ve seen me full circle,” he said.

His father, Mike Fladlien, watched him go down the wrong path and knew he was unhappy.  His son was partying and lacking in focus and concern for his future.  Now he sees the changes Jason has made and the different person he has become.

“I’m just extremely proud of him,” said Mike. “What’s overwhelming to me is the intelligence of the lyrics and how he is able to convey his emotion into the audience. Religion has helped him with inner peace and he performs to his full potential in life.”

Jason Fladlien said the lyrics he writes come from his experiences, friendships, struggles and life in Muscatine.

He also takes pride in putting on shows. Not only does he rap, he performs, choreographs moves, gets the crowd involved and pulls people onto the stage.

“A lot of people tell me they never expected anything like this coming out of Muscatine,” he said.

Dan Orr, 25, another local musician who plays in the bands Disgruntled Noisebox and The Clones, befriended Fladlien during a show.

“My first impression was his music is very upbeat; it made me feel good,” Orr said. “I could also tell that it was the result of months of hard work.”

According to Orr, Fladlien connects with his audience and goes to extremes to make his music heard. Fladlien doesn’t wait around for someone to notice him; he is constantly trying to find new venues and is active in making his own success a reality.

“If he keeps going at the rate he’s going, he’s got a chance to make it in the music scene,” Orr said.

His fans talk to him a lot. The most meaningful words he hears are those of inspiration and gratitude for the connection he brings through music to his audience.

He describes his tunes as bold and unique, and says that people either hate or love them, but it’s definitely not like anything they’ve ever known.

A crew of one

On March 3, Fladlien held a record release celebration at the Muscatine National Guard Armory where he performed for the fans, whom he now calls his “crew,” and newcomers alike.

When the crew started out, Fladlien had a couple of friends who helped him make music. Those two didn’t stick through to the end, but Fladlien kept going.

“I decided to stay with the name Straiht Wikid Crew because when I started doing shows, I realized who the real crew was,” he said.

“It was everyone who would show up at the shows. They are as equal a part of the music as I am.”

Contact Melissa Regennitter at 563-263-2331 Ext. 317, or mregennitter@muscatinejournal.com
- Muscatine Journal


By Sean Moeller
      
Jason Fladlien gets asked about the stuff on his forehead, every day, without fail.

Usually, it’s a customer he’s trying to sell carpet or flooring. They’ll point it out politely and discreetly, as if they’re making him aware of a bit of lettuce stuck in his teeth.

The tilak, a smudge of clay taken from one of the sacred rivers, is a ritual of the Hare Krishnas, a sect of devotees — often called the International Society for Krishna Consciousness — who chant the 16-word Vaishnava mantra that is a division of the Hindu religion.

It’s a visible sign that Fladlien, the Muscatine rapper known as Straiht Wikid Crew, won’t approach his art in the same way that Ludacris does. It’s one of 12 clay markings on his body at all times, applied immediately following a shower with tiny prayers said as each is done. It’s the most visible evidence that Fladlien is a changed person from the one he was just a few years ago.

Sandwiching the time between the old Jason and the new Jason was his job at the Carriage House Carpet One. He first worked there after dropping out of Iowa State University, despite a 3.4 grade-point-average.

“I had extremely good grades. I was just really despressed,” Fladlien said. “I didn’t see any purpose in life. I just said, ‘Hey, it’s not going to get any better sticking around here.’ I came back home and got a 9-to-5 job. I was doing what most guys do. I was partying around all the time. I had a lot of self-destructive habits because I didn’t know what I wanted. I didn’t really do a whole lot. I played chess and I tried to search around for meaning in that. I read a lot. I toyed around with music, but I was like everybody else who toys around with music.”

He ran into Fran Cadena, an old hometown friend, who used to play in a pop band called Prophets of the Cosmic Universe (PCU) during his college days in Iowa City, who was a vegetarian and a Hare Krishna. He got interested, which led him to joining the Hare Krishna monks.

“I’d never know anyone who was a vegetarian and I got really interested in it,” Fladlien said. “Instantly, I started following it. I started chanting the mantra. When you chant the names, it’s like communicating with God. It’s a very intimate thing.”

Being a monk is a disputable claim for some followers, with the strict orthodox followers requiring three separate initiations to make it official. Fladlien is of a different, more relaxed belief system.

“If you’re practicing the beliefs and you’re chanting, you’re a monk and a traveling preacher,” he said. “I go out and chant — if it’s nice out — every day. It surprises a lot of people who know me. Before, I was pretty much an atheist. I was struggling to find myself. I’d been messing around with music for a while, but nothing serious. I pretty much withdrew from everyone for a year and a half and when I came back out, I hit ’em with it all at once — the music and the spirituality.”

Fladlien took the nearly $8,000 he’d saved up, quit his job, bought a keyboard and set forth writing and recording the songs that make up “Kali Yuga Demolition Vol. 1,” the debut album that he’ll release this week with three shows. He spent hours along the Mississippi River chanting and haphazardly banging on a drum.

“I just sat in front of the keyboard for six hours a day with theory books. I learned how to play piano, on my own, in a few months, after never having played an instrument before. I just focused on the music,” said Fladlien, a high school wrestler and the son of former Muscatine High head wrestling coach Michael Fladlien.

He ran out of money and needed his job back so he returned to Carpet One, which is in sight of where he would camp out near the water’s edge and chant.

“I went back to them and said, ‘I’m pretty sure you know I’m a little bit different now than I was when I left,’” he said. “I told them that I want to give this music thing a try and that if I need to take time off to go on tour or whatever, I’m just going to do it. They really support me down there. They told me that I could start right away.”

Straiht Wikid Crew — the group — is Fladlien and his unshakeable posse of friends and fans that he’s hoping can make him the champion at Tuesday’s Battleusa Battle of the Bands in Iowa City. He’s renting a bus and already has close to 50 confirmations for the ride to and from the venue. Some of these cohorts are the people that get his attention on the street by yelling, “Straiht Wikid who? Straiht Wikid Crew!”

The religion-meets-philosophy aspect of the Hare Krishnas is what drew Fladlien to their practices of abstinence, not gambling, vegetarianism and chanting, but he keeps the harping out of his music. He knows that preaching and forcing it on people is no way to get anywhere. His raps are playful and colorfully orated, the same way the Beastie Boys and Eminem spout off, though they lack the sameness of the Beasties and the brash, always off-color homophobic and inciting rhymes of the man from 8 Mile Road in Detroit. 

Fladlien takes the same route and follows a similar story of spiritual discovery as budding star New York City dancehall/reggae star Matisyahu. He was lost in his life, took a trip to Israel and became fascinated with the Jewish faith that he’d repressed and kept dormant for most of his life. He became attracted to the “mystical power of song in Hasidic Judaism,” according to his Web site. He went from beatboxing in the backs of classrooms to praying on the roof of the school building.

Fladlien made a similar transition from the days when he was being bombarded with requests for his human beat-box act at Muscatine Muskies football games.

“I used to have this little speed rap. I’d have a whole crowd of people circling around me. I even got real sophisticated with some choreographed dance moves. There are still people who remember it and will mention it. It got ridiculous. They would ask me to do it six or seven times a night. I guess I’ve had a natural ability to perform and an inclination to do it,” Fladlien said.

And it’s through his music and energetic live shows that he hopes to spread his faith, albeit very gently.

“It’s supposed to be spread through music,” he said. “I don’t necessarily think they had rap in mind, but it will be a great vehicle.”

Sean Moeller can be contacted at

(563) 383-2288 or smoeller@qctimes.com.

ifyougo

What: Straiht Wikid Crew

Friday, Feb. 3: 6 p.m.; CK’s CDs, inside the Muscatine Mall, Muscatine; free

Saturday, Feb. 4: 9 p.m.; Hotel Muscatine Ballroom, 101 W. Mississippi Drive, Muscatine; $3

Tuesday, Feb. 7: 7 p.m.; Gabe’s Oasis, 330 E. Washington St., Iowa City; $5

Information: hose 317@hotmail.com

Sean Moeller - Quad City Times (Feb 2, 2006) - QC Times


Article scan can be read at http://straihtwikidcrew.com/images/hugerecmagarticle.jpg

Music: "Get on Down to the Beat" is a male vocal hip hop groove song, equal parts Beastie Boys, Bare Naked Ladies and (post-Talking Heads era) David Byrne. Jason did it all except the lead guitar, which was played by Francisco Cadena.

Recording: It's nice to hear some talented folks having fun. This is an infectious song, professional sounding but definetly with a sense of humor. We hear well recorded lead and background vocals, a decidedly lo-fi keyboard and a very organic drum kit all mixed up in a groove stew that simply works. have we heard better tones? Sure, but, as in many cases, the tones that Jason chose work perfectly for the style and vibe that he is putting out.

Suggestions: That being said, we will offer the following obsersvations: the bass part, here coming from a keyboard bass, would probably sond better if it was an actual bass guitar; the electric guitar could use an amp, miked for a more spacious, ambient sound; the floor tom could stand a bit of compression and a rolloff below 150 Hz to eliminate some rumble.

Jason is free to respond to our suggestions or not. "Get on Down to the Beat" works perfectly well as is. Whether our suggestions would imporve it or detract from it is anyone's guess.

Summary: We like it. 'Nuff said! - Recording Magazine


http://cdbaby.com/cd/straihtwikid to read all album reviews. So far, 8/9 reviews have given it 5 stars!

Reviewer: April
We got the CD via friends...and were blown away!!You have freaking Talent...I've never heard such quality locally. Tracks are all groovin...Em and ICP, influenced..and reggae? Amazing, WIKID Talent! I'm buying your CD and everyone else should too!

Reviewer: Zack
Out of any other albums that came out this year this truly is the greatest. Every track is solid and it keeps you hooked the entire time. A great musical journey.

Reviewer: Danni
This CD is great. First CD out of the flood gates and he's already a local star, I hope your writing hand still works after all of the boobie skribbling you've been doing lately. Flad is a mactacular testicular superhero. I was never a fan of rap although flad has quite a way with his sweet sweet words and he has turned my love around..Buy this CD!!! Support the man, the myth the legend...

Reviewer: Michelle
I never really enjoyed music like this until I had the chance to see SWC play live. After the first show, I was completely hooked..HAD TO HAVE THE CD.Needless to say I can't go one day without hearing it..Its honestly amazing and very energetic.I really can't pin point one song off the cd to consider as my fav, bcuz THE WHOLE THING ROCKS!

Reviewer: DP
I also got a chance to see SWC live. It was a great preformance. Much more than I expected. I picked up the CD and it truly is the shit, so I saw them again live two days later @ the Brew and without a doubt this CD is worth the money you will spend on it. This guy has some serious talent. Buy the CD. DP

Reviewer: cory
i was eagerly anticipating this release since i first heard that SWC was independantly putting out a full length cd. i was not dissapointed in the least. this is a very solid disc. there was a slight ICP vibe that i sensed, mainly from track 2 "modern day hitchcock" with sort of a horror/comedy feel. i tried to stay away from saying that this sounded anything like Eminem, since that is the imediate conclusion most would come to upon hearing a white rapper before them giving it much of a listen..but i must say, that i do hear some similarities, but that isn't a bad thing. the ultra-fast rapping by (mainly) Billy was somewhat remnant of bone thugs..on one particularly unique track "oxygen" the song starts very fast paced with both MC's taking there turn to spit their ryhmes fast, but as the song went on, the beat gradually slowed and slowed so that by the end the track the ryhmes are said quite slowly- if that makes sense.. the whole album is filled with awesome beats that were produced very well(and all by them!). top notch sound, and very groovin'. some of my favorite tracks include: "on the DL", "oxygen", "burn down your house", "love me or hate me" but there are others that stand out as well. one track that i didn't feel too much was "dirty dancin'" solid track, i just wasn't into it as much for whatever reason. also, the track that is sort of SWC's single "get on down to the beat" is not one of my favorites, the track has an entirely different feel than most of the album, it has sort of a happy soft rock kinda beat, and i'm not feeling it too much, but the lyics, as usual are great. you can tell that each song on the album was listened to over and over and all the right additions had been made to them with effects/samples and whatnot.. top notch.. the artwork and laybout/packaging look rad, and it's totally cool that he did this shit all DIY. hip hop fans - pick up this album and you won't regret it! non- hip hop fans - check it out.. maybe you'll dig it. - from CDbaby


Discography

Kali Yuga Demolition Vol. 1. The debut professional release of the Straiht Wikid Crew, a full length album filled with the unexpect. Currently Get on Down to the Beat has been feature on the new Mobile Voltage network, which consists of mobile music and video channels which are playing on several 3g mobile networks including Sprint and O2(UK). Also, the instrumental has been used for a jingle for a local advertiser. All songs are available for streaming or raido airplay on request. Radio edited versions of certain tracks are available as well.

Photos

Feeling a bit camera shy

Bio

Straiht Wikid Who? Straiht Wikid Crew. Upbeat, catchy and fun hip hop, with a dose of wickedness.

Jason Fladlien, he is the head of the crew. Some call him Mr. Mactacular while his brothers and sisters merely say Flad. You see him on stage, a one man army, mic as a weapon, insane flows, poetry and prose used as bullets to be fired at your mullet.

Behind him is his following, an integral part in the maniacal rap mechanism that is Straiht Wikid Crew. This may very well be the only group whose following is included in the name. But you can't ignore the cult like mentality of those backing this rapping madman. But how did this happen?

Flad went on a vision quest because he was fed up. Society, religion, love life, authority, take your pick. Struggling just to maintain, he found actual bliss through Hare Krsna. He renounced the world and become a monk. Well, what the hell is he doing rapping then?

Don't get it twisted. Flad is the spiritual lyrical miracle. He may meditate before sunrise, and he may follow some strict regulations when it comes to diet, sex, intoxication and other hoopla. But he's just as quick to fire a dope rhyme scheme like Columbo solving a murder at a crime scene. Why?

The essence of life isn't in the rules and regulations. It is making the most of the moment based on where you're coming from. Coming from a twisted little factory town from Iowa is going to have an effect on a young lad's mind, Hare Krsna monk or not. Why not embrace it?

And from that you have the care free nature that oozes from Flad, which is translated into verse and beat form. From that comes renditions of old Al Hitchcock's theme song, complete with a lyrical plot twist that Hitchcock himself would be proud of. The song "Get on Down to the Beat" has been described as "equal parts Beastie Boys, Bare Naked Ladies and (post-Talking Heads era) David Byrne" by Recording magazine. What does that mean? I don't know but it works!

Does it make sense? Will it make dollars? Who knows, who cares, it's the Straiht Wikid Crew!

Jason Fladlien can be reached at hose317@hotmail.com, or at 563-571-2131. Visit www.straihtwikidcrew.com for more info.