Femi The DriFish & The Out of Water eXperience
Gig Seeker Pro

Femi The DriFish & The Out of Water eXperience

Baltimore, Maryland, United States | SELF

Baltimore, Maryland, United States | SELF
Band Alternative Spoken Word


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



"Nitic’s Crotebook: Chants, Kill-F, Men with Bad Manners, Femi the DriFish"

Still recovering from the weekend? Wesleying, too. Pictured above: Men With Bad Manners’ spirited funk-inflected resurrection at Buddhist House on Saturday night. (Remember those guys? Remember that time they played Hewitt 9? No, you’re confused—you’re thinking of ska-bridge.)

At any rate, a brief photographic roundup of funk/hip hop/generally loud weekend happenings lies below. Kill-F (Will Feinstein ’13, still reeling from his recent EP release) brought his latest brew of twisted solo rhymes to the stage for the first time, opening for rapper Cities Aviv in the hallowed Psi U ballroom. Men With Bad Manners set BuHo on the right path, laying some damn firm foundation for Baltimore alt-hip hop crew Femi the DriFish on the mic, who may or may not have been The-Roots-in-1994-time-traveling-in-disguise - Wesleying

"The Root's Faves: The Top Black Performance Poets"

The 5th L
This Baltimore hip-hop, soul and spoken word duo is comprised of David Ross (Native Son) and Femi Lawal (The Dri Fish). Although the two perform independently, it is their collective energy that has earned them national tours, museum commissions and appearances alongside Saul Williams, KRS-One, Bill Cosby and more. In this performance on BET's "Lyric Cafe," the band synched their voices to build powerful momentum, sticking close to each other -- showing a metaphor for brotherhood.

Captions by Simone Jacobson - THE ROOT

"Femi The Dri Fish continuously evolving!"

We have all watched while Femi The Dri Fish continuously evolves into some form of extreme creativity. Whether it’s on stage with the 5th L, Hosting, or performing solo, Femi always puts on a show. His latest incarnation is a full band project that combines his unique approach to poetry with the spontaneous life of live music. Definitely something to check out. Of course the best way to see it in action is to swing through Organic Soul Tuesdays feat Femi with full band tonight 5/17/2011.
Check out some samples his latest project: - Organic Soul


It's so nice to throw something different in the car CD player! Get on the Merry-Go-Round and hold on tight, it's going to be a fun ride! Femi Lawal a Baltimore native with a British/Nigerian background, invites you to take a walk through his brain with his smart and cheeky hip-hop/spoken word/poetry mix of, well, whatever is in his head. Enticing you with straight up circus music and a sarcastically pompous put on British accent!
With some cool loops and grooves it's like an audio storybook. With a life theme song backing it up, courtesy of a band playing real instruments and some cool female vox hitting hooks where needed.As I'm driving, I'm thinking this is one cheeky motherfucker, which I love! Just spewing at the mouth and fuck what anybody else thinks! Definitely mixes it up and takes you on a trip- to where? I really don't know or care, I'm amused. You would definitely put this on at a party and have your guests saying, "What is this?" or, "It's fucking cool; can you give me a copy?"

I think it's pretty damn unique which is so refreshing. Generally, I'm not a fan of the spoken word, but this album gives you a little taste of everything. As a songwriter I LOVE plays on words and ballsy statements, you know - telling it how it is and if you don't like it, then fucking shove it. That's the attitude! People are so scared of the truth! Open your mind; it's an art form, get with it! 'Nuff said!

Stand out lyric: "Life's not a bitch, it's a stage." Ha-ha, nice one!

Ok, I'm getting off now; this wooden horse is hurting my arse!

Cheers! AQ!

More info - stinkifacemusic.com, 5thL.com FB and Reverbnation.com/thedrifish - Shockwavemag

"The DriFish at 14 Karat Cabaret"

The Clown With No Circus
Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls, freaks of all shapes and sizes! Gather ‘round while I spin the tale of a poet turned performer extraordinaire! It was last week when we made the trip to the world famous 14 Karat Cabaret. There, we bore witness to the captivating antics of one DriFish and many co-conspirators. This isn’t merely the story of one man’s quest to entertain and intellectualize simultaneously folks, it’s also the story about his collaborators who give life to a scene rich in imagination and unlimited potential. The stage, that evening, rocked beneath the weight of the talent that came out to celebrate the release of The DriFish’s latest album, The Clown With No Circus. This was the kind of show that one hopes to find but is often as elusive as Glen Beck’s freakishly small penis. Each of the performers who took the stage could have easily entertained the audience on their own, though together they offered a glimpse of the evolution of the poetry scene and how some of these artists are transcending the realm of performance poetry and are moving into hybrid art forms that evade definition and genre. Quite simply, it was an amazing show. I had seen many of these performers several times in the past and was thoroughly entertained. The show that I saw this weekend was brand new to me and kept me engaged if not completely stoked the entire time. Photo by Brooke Hall, story by Justin Allen. This isn’t the man behind the curtain, people. This is What Weekly.

On February 1, Creative Capital will begin accepting online Letters of Inquiry for its upcoming grant round to fund innovative projects in Film/Video and Visual Arts. Creative Capital provides integrated financial and advisory support to artists pursuing adventurous projects; whose work is provocative, timely and relevant; who are deeply engaged with their artforms, yet are also boldly original; who create work that carries the potential to reshape the cultural landscape. Inquiries must be submitted by March 1. Guidelines and eligibility information are available online, and information sessions will be held throughout January and February.

I’m calling it right now, The Clown With No Circus has to be one of the best albums that will be released by a Baltimore artist in 2011. I hesitate to say that it’s number one until everyone else has had a chance but drop me a line in December and we’ll talk. The stories weaved on the album reach a level of complexity, without sacrificing depth, that rivals any lyricist anywhere. Femi has honed a cadence and delivery that is completely unique. By spending over a decade as a poet first, he’s developed a style that’s set apart from standard hip-hop templates. The album covers a broad spectrum of the human condition including the real world tragedy that much of Baltimore City lives in. But unlike so many MC’s, Femi does so without sacrificing his humanity. At other times he swims within surrealism, connecting unsuspecting dots and challenging the listener to stay close to the story. Femi told me, “I don’t think of myself as a poet, I think of myself as performer.” I can understand the sentiment because he puts on a hell of a show. But, make no mistake, though the music bobs and weaves from, rock and soul to carnival, his words are pure poetry. The production value on the album is ambitious and hits nearly every mark and cast of guest artists and producers round it out and make it an impressive offering. This album is better than good, it’s outstanding. Photo by Brooke Hall, story by Justin Allen.

Femi’s partner in the 5th L, Native Son a.k.a David Ross, delivered a poignant performance in the form of a tribute to his friend and partner when he recited a poem recounting the duo’s camaraderie. The 5th L has been a mainstay in the city’s poetry scene for over a decade sharing the stage with the likes of Saul Williams, Bill Cosby, Fertile Ground and KRS-1. In Baltimore you would be as likely to find them either conducting workshops in Baltimore City schools, commanding the stage at clubs and coffee houses or in the Reginald F. Lewis Museum where their written and audio works are a part of the permanent collection.

- What Weekly

"Femi “the DriFish” Lawal: The Clown With No Circus"

For the better part of the last decade, local spoken-word duo the 5th L has combined theatrical, heady wordplay with a hip-hop vibe and playfulness. The duo, Femi “the DriFish” Lawal and David “Native Son” Ross, has always delighted in shirking the stereotypes of both genres while delivering a witty, engaging amalgamation that, by 2008’s Reset, sounded and felt a great deal like early-1990s narrative-driven hip-hop. Now Lawal (a one-time City Paper guest contributor) has taken that golden-age vibe into full-band territory with The Clown With No Circus, his second solo release backed by the Out of Water eXperience band. The result is an experience as sweeping as Prince Paul’s A Prince Among Thieves but with a more sprawling musical journey.

Circus’ leitmotif is a carny sideshow, with Lawal’s DriFish the barker guide to this carnivalesque tour of the odd, the dark, the sexy, the funny, the real. And the music is just as roaming. A sunny G-funk groove introduces “Sleep Walkers,” where Lawal’s narrator playfully talks about being a kid who “hopes to grow up to be a super hero or do pro wrestling.” Strings come about a minute in to change the mood, right after Lawal lets loose with “punch a clock all your life/ retire and receive a watch/ to remind you there’s no time left.”

And that’s the mood swing of only one song. Circus is a kaleidoscope of schizophrenic moods (“Trapped in My Mind’s” sound collage of anxiety running into an R&B groove punctuated by a screaming electric guitar), many internal voices fighting to be heard (“The Out of Water Experience”), middle-of-the-night fears (“Russian Roulette”), almost emo-sensitive odes to a woman lost (“You Are Not Alone”), and stomping rock/rap hybrids of social survival (“Animals Attack”).

Lawal’s candor holds it all together. Poetry, and spoken-word in particular, can lean heavily on the confessional, but Lawal isn’t merely exposing his heart and mind here. He’s taking a circuitous journey into masculinity, cutting hip-hop bravado with everyday insecurity and familiar vulnerabilities. And it’s often densely packed with allusions. “Animals Attack” unfolds with the dizzying illogical dazzle of Ishmael Reed: “This is what happens when you’re finding Nemo/ you find out who’s carnivorous/ and you are so delicious,” “I’ve got one-liners like bait with a hook like a chorus,” “I’m here to disrupt corrupt/ with my orthodox rhyme style/ spurned from writer’s block.” It’s not always so consistently blithe—“Into the Sun” and “Cereal Killer” feel too one-note—but live this material could be a genuine wild ride.

Femi “the DriFish” Lawal and the Out of Water eXperience play a CD-release show Jan. 29 at the 14Karat Cabaret with Green Tea, Marc Marcel, Native Son, and Kane Mayfield. Hosted by Olu Butterfly.

> Email Bret McCabe - City Paper (Baltimore)


Femi The DriFish started doing spoken word in the mid-90’s but recently switched over to his more alternative sound where his poetic skills still resound. He has shared the stage with KRS-ONE three times, traveled with Raheem Devaughn during the Slaminomics tour in the early 2000s, and opened for Saul Williams. Femi started to explore and evolve his own artistic imprint with Clown Without a Circus, moving beyond the spoken word world but still retaining much of its flow. Not only but he and his partner Native Son as part of 5th L works with the Violence Prevention Program at the University of Maryland hospital to help teens create a healthy outlet for their emotions and experiences. Very worldly, Here, we managed to have a chit chat with Femi the DriFish.

Interview by Olivia Haynes

When did you get started?
I got started being expressive as a wee little boy in London, England where I drew and scribbled on everything. As I got older, I used my drawings to vent, purge and create anti-heroes (I'm a huge comic book, superhero fanatic) but would always had short quotes next to my art work that reflected what I was feeling at the moment, I’m not sure if that was therapeutic or just encouraged/ enhanced whatever was troubling me at that time.

How long have you been performing poetry?
Whether its poetry, spoken-word, or rhymes, I’ve been seriously hitting stages since 1996 and made it my sole monetary earning tool since 2000.

What made you change over to rock?
I wouldn’t say I changed over to rock all of a sudden and I’m not completely rock right now. I’m a hybrid entertainer, grew up listening to rock while living in England, but in Nigeria in the late 80’s pop music was what was popping, and then coming here to the States I’ve been a heavy hip hop head, so I guess I fall into what they’ve dubbed as “alternative”.

Ever since I started putting out albums as a solo artist or as a member of THE 5th L (poetry duo I’m in outside of my solo band activity), rock music has always been present and represented in our music just as much as hip hop. They both capture the type of energy I exude in my writing, in my mega volume voice and definitely in my animated high energy performance style.

What do you see for yourself as a musician and performer?
I see my music and performance walking ahead of me to places I’ve never been and back to the places I have been as a poet/spoken word artist. I see my band gracing larger stages, touring nationally or even internationally with rock and hip hop acts to combine those audiences that seem to have made a split decades ago. I see another album in the making fully recorded with my band, The Out of Water eXperience; my last album was a mix of live instrumentation and tracks.

Where did the name "Dri Fish" come from?
Femi The DriFish is a title that came from a nick name I acquired when I moved here to the United States from Nigeria. I was so used to Nigeria’s heat that the DMV’s summer’s heat didn’t seem to bother me none at all. I’d play outside all day with my cousins in VA and somehow I’d be the only one bone dry while everyone else would be drenched in their sweat from hours of hard playing all day under the sun. One of my cousins dubbed me The DriFish as a joke and I owned it right away then used it as a tag name for all my drawings before I ever thought I’d be on stage as a lead lyricist for a great band.
When folks ask me now I just say, “I be the man who can be dropped in the middle of the ocean and not get wet (I’m rubber made), for I am unlike no other, standout like a fish out of water, so I am the dri fish.”

What's the logic behind the album "The Clown With No Circus"?
The Clown With No Circus is an album that embodies everything I am currently as an artist in look, music, feel, lyrics and atmosphere, it’s also another title I’ve given myself (I have many). Looking at a circus as an industry or a work place, an enterprise and in most cases you can see that only clowns are the ones who can go rouge and can exist without the circus and still earn a living. You never hear about the bearded lady at birthday parties or the high wire act guy by himself just doing his thing on the street corner, or even the lion tamer putting his head into the lion’s mouth as part of your company’s dinner function do you? Clowns can be sad and still paint on a smile to give a show in order to entertain others who might be unhappy. Clowns are always in disguise so you have to dig in deep to figure out who they are if ever at all you’re able to. Some folks have a clown phobia and need to overcome that and some clowns are intentionally frightening so approach with caution.

What's next for you as a performer?
We’ve done a lot of show over the last year and a half, in Baltimore, DC, VA, NYC & parts of PA and now it’s time to do more, go further and to move our music further before we reach those destinations. As a poet over the last 11 years, I’ve had the opportunity to travel to so many cities in America, just because someone thought what I had to say was important to be heard where they were, and what I’m doing now is no different if not we offer more with the live music.

What is your ultimate goal for your musical and artistic pursuits?
Touring is definitely in the cards, getting our music videos to go viral is what we want to see, making more music to match my lyrics is a definite, and selling plenty of albums is what has to happen to achieve our goals. Beyond that, I’m a poet and a writer, I’ve written graphic novels that I need to put drawings to, I act a fool publicly that I’m sure can be used productively in films or tv shows, and as a band (The Out of Water eXperience) we are ingrained to our label (www.Stinkifacemusic.com), so we aim to push more talented artists out of Baltimore City to show the world that great art/music can only come multi-dimensional minds that never settle for the norm.

What is the response you get for your acts and costumes?
At The Clown With No Circus album release party last year, I wanted it to be a carnival circus freak show party and that’s how we promoted it. To my surprise many folks in attendance came dressed up in costume and not anything pretty either, they embraced the carnival freak show look and I appreciated that while they had a great time. I do the costume thing occasionally, it’s not at every function we promote random Halloween but when we do, it’s always crazy to see the bizarre fans/supporters I have (warped minds think alike).
- Afro Punk


LP: The Clown With No Circus (2011) http://itunes.apple.com/us/artist/femi-the-drifish/id413662654

LP: Mad As A Hatter (2012)

Single: Feet On The Ground ft. Darryl McCready & Native Son (2011)

All singles can be found at www.Reverbnation.com/thedrifish



Femi the Drifish is a British born Nigerian Native, Baltimore City resident, lyricist, song writer, & spoken word poetry's answer to Fela Kuti, Old Dirty Bastard & Freddie Mercury with influences that range from Cage the Elephant to The Roots to Queen to Redman to Flobots to De La Soul. In front of audiences he is passionate, animated & ferocious on the microphone, backed The Out of Water eXperience band that goes beyond rocking stages, more like avalanche places with their musical performing talents. Pulling from various genres for the most energetic meaningful display of showmanship they dub themselves, Soul-Lyrical-HipHop-Funk-Rock.

The Dri Fish has been a professional performance artist for over twelve years, honing his audacious lyrical skills and intense stage presence at venues across the country, ranging from private parties and nightclubs to college campuses. The Dri Fish’s journey as a performer has included serving as one the lead lyricists for the hip hop-meets-spoken word duo THE 5th L. As part of THE 5th L, he has performed on BET's Lyric Cafe' and shared stages with artists such as Musiq Soulchild, Saul Williams, Fertile Ground, Ursula Rucker, Raheem DeVaughn, Bill Cosby, and KRS One. Femi The DriFish & The Out of Water eXperience was also 98 Rocks (97.9fm Baltimore) band of the month for the month of July 2012.

The Dri Fish is also actively involved in using his talents to serve his community – he participates in programs designed to introduce creative writing to students, and facilitates a violence intervention program at The University of Maryland Shock Trauma Center (VIP).

Femi The DriFish currently tours with his band, The Out Of Water experience, a progressive Hip-Hop-Alternative Rock band with a poetic twist and a touch of funk. The DriFish’s animated style matched by the band’s over the top energetic musical talents capture crowds at their live shows. With two albums out, “The Clown With No Circus” & “Mad As A Hatter” (both can be located & downloaded on itunes), 3 music video and lots of footage available on youtube, this is the band brings artistry, entertainment and the best of times to any stage at any time.

For booking please contact, thedrifish@5thL.com