The Rebel Yell
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The Rebel Yell

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States | MAJOR

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States | MAJOR
Band EDM Pop


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"New band of the day"

Hometown: Philadelphia, USA.

The lineup: James Poyser and Khari Ferrari Mateen (music, production), Domini Quinn SupaStar (vocals).

The background: Do Outkast have a new album out? If you heard any of the songs from Love & War, the debut album by the Rebel Yell, coming out your radio, you might indeed wonder if it was the latest work by the planet's favourite ATLiens. Or if Prince had unearthed some tracks from the vaults circa Around the World in a Day. It's R&B on a Beatles tip, or a funked-up Fab Four at their most psychedelic. It's synthed-up soul and cosmic pop so liberally sprinkled with references to the decade of fingerless gloves and Day-Glo leggings that at least one reviewer has decided Love & War is a thematic celebration of 80s hits, a sort of Now That's What I Call New Wave Funk. Meanwhile, another has placed it in the same category as Neon Neon's DeLorean-inspired 80s fest, Stainless Style. We would also propose Devin Dazzle and the Neon Fever, the 2004 album of 80s-style electro-pop by Felix Da Housecat, as a record the Rebel Yell – the latest brainchild of Grammy-winning songwriter-producer-keyboardist James Poyser (Common, Jill Scott, Mariah, Erykah Badu) plus sometime Roots member Mateen and singer SupaStar – must surely have played before embarking on their Love & War project.

There are sonic quotes throughout. Wanted! opens with a Strawberry Fields-ish Mellotron sound then erupts into Timbaland-esque fidget-funk. Everybody's Doing It features chilly, menacing keyboards straight outta Gary Numan's Tubeway Army. The piano figure at the start of single Army of Misfits recalls ELO's Mr Blue Sky, a brief incursion into 70s territory before Save the World takes us back to the era of John Hughes movies and jump-suits. The Revolution is like Eye of the Tiger performed by Prince, and Get Off, with its Princely title, sounds like the Human League stuck in Paisley Park. Denial is manic electronica. Spend the Night is electro-funk that recalls the era of the Dazz Band with the crisp efficiency of retro-disco Canadian duo Chromeo. Allnight sounds like La Roux duetting with Cee-Lo. And the title track is as sticky-sweet as Scritti Politti, and just as wordy – there is some sex-talk on Love & War but it mainly eschews the usual R&B romance-and-grindin' fodder for proselytising and didacticism, preaching the gospel according to the Rebel Yell, whose attitude is, broadly speaking, Make Love, Not War. This is socially conscious phuture-funk, dense with ideas and allusions, and although it's not all good, and there are synth riffs here in search of proper songs, it's well worth investigating.
- Guardian

"Album: The Rebel Yell, Love & War"

James Poyser has been a vital part of Philadelphia's Soulquarians generation, his production and keyboard skills crucial components in the success of such as Erykah Badu, Common, D'Angelo, Jill Scott and The Roots. With 'The Rebel Yell', he steps out as prime mover of his own project, fronted by lead vocalist SupaStar.

The new group is perhaps best characterised as Philly's equivalent of R&B crossover acts like OutKast and Gnarls Barkley. Thus does "Wanted" feature fluting "Strawberry Fields" mellotron with an itchy, grimy urban groove topped with a rap duet, while the metallic beats and tortured synth riff of "Everybody's Doing It" bring to mind The Prodigy and Nine Inch Nails. Elsewhere, the hippy philosophy of "Love & War" ("Love is but a state of mind/War lives where love is in decline") rides a weird blend of harpsichord, mellotron and celesta, instruments not over-used in R&B. At times, the arrangements can get a touch convoluted, their serpentine melodies and densely-layered swirls of guitar and keyboards obscuring whatever garbled points SupaStar is trying to make, but the results are never less than engaging. And it's impossible to dislike a band canny enough to update Gil Scott-Heron, pointedly observing that "The revolution will not be downloaded to your computer". - The Independent

"James Poyser presents... The ReBel Yell"

BBE / Rapster ushers in one of the world's A-list R&B / hip hop producers, James Poyser, for The ReBeL Yell, a jaw-dropping new project alongside Khari Ferrari Mateen (The Roots, J*DaVeY, Skillz) and vocalist SupaStar. For those unfamiliar, Poyser is behind some of the great names in contemporary black music and an important part of Philadelphia's new soul heritage, having produced and written for everyone from Common, Jill Scott and The Roots to Al Green, Talib Kweli and Queen Latifah, and is a member of the Soulquarians alongside Questlove, J Dilla (RIP), Bilal, Common & D'Angelo. He can also be seen on TV playing keys for The Roots as part of Jimmy Fallon's house band.

Teaming up with Mateen and SupaStar, Poyser starts with a blank sheet and moves light years on from the standard R&B template for an album with an anything-goes twinkle in its eye. "Strawberry Fields"-era Beatles psychedelia gets pitched into fidgety urban grooves; electro booty beats meet dark, System-inspired synths, a la "Don't Disturb This Groove"; hazy live band tracks get dotted into the mix and production techniques and sounds more readily associated with house music get lifted and re-appropriated in entirely new ways.

Rebel Yell enlists a suitably eclectic range of Philly's younger generation on vocals with featured artists including fresh Columbia signing Nikki Jean, The Roots protégé Dice Raw, alt-rockers PAttyCraSH and video director-turned-singer Domini Quinn SupaStar, a revelation on lead vocal duties.

All the tracks on Love & War feature SupaStar on vocals. A Philly resident with a rich history in the local scene, SupaStar has ties to Jill Scott, The Roots, Boyz 2 Men and 3 Times Dope, and is featured on the track "I Don't Care" from the Roots' album The Tipping Point. On the back of this relationship with the crew, Poyser started giving tracks for SupaStar to write to, and The Rebel Yell project was born.

You can't categorize this album – it's misfit R&B, taking a stand against black music stereotypes and life's clichés as well, a rebel yell against uniformity and rulebooks. And, under Poyser's disciplined direction, it's a revolution for everyone.
- HYPE Magazine


Love & War [debut album]



T.R.Y. is The Rebel Yell
With Lead vocals and production by Domini Quinn SupaStar, The Rebel Yell creates a PG [Post Genre ©?] sound to think and dance to.

As the vocalist of The Rebel Yell, SupaStar’s own history brought him to the forefront of this band. He's played drums since he was 3 years old and is also known to toy with guitar, trumpet and keys. Hip Hop took him away from traditional instruments initially, but his new found love of beats and rhymes didn’t drown his understanding of real musicianship.

From his early beginnings with local hip hop heroes 3 X Dope, he knew he was destined to be in the music business as a singer/songwriter/producer. SupaStar explains, “Hip Hop pulled me in.” Answering the siren, his next appearance on a classic album came when Kwame (MC and producer) asked him to become part of his troupe, A New Beginning. SupaStar went on the road with the crew until he decided to move to L.A. where his good friends Will Smith and Jazzy Jeff were starring in a sitcom, “The Fresh Prince of Bel Air.” That peaked his interest in acting, which led to getting work on the show and appearing in other television shows. Ultimately sparking his fascination with film. SupaStar started taking a camera with him everywhere he went, making mini movies that have turned into music videos, film shorts, features, and his series of video blogs called “Talking @oms”. Currently playing all over the Internet.

In L.A. he co-founded another legendary band, Jack Herrera. Featuring himself, Whitey, and soul singer John B. The band was signed to Edmonds Entertainment, but because of label politics their highly acclaimed debut album was never released [at least not officially]. Fast forward to The Rebel Yell aka T.R.Y. An incarnation of Electric/Hip/Pop©? at it’s best! The songs on the album are synth driven, no bass or guitar, and the grooves come from what SupaStar calls “virtual drums.” SupaStar perfectly explains, “R&B has become a synonym for redundant and boring, this music is electric, literally.”

The songs are about everything from the affairs of the heart, to the political zeitgeist. In other words, The Rebel Yell is a revolution…