BLKHRTS, the vowel-less brainchild of The Pirate Signal frontman Yonnas Abraham, brings together three MCs of beautifully dark proportions. The concept of the group ebbs and flows between the havoc in the world of goth and the grit found most typically in hip-hop.
The three MCs, Abraham, FOE and Karma, each bring a unique style of creativity to the group, not to mention three enigmatic personalities. There's Yonnas, the high-profile and slightly controversial character and maker of the beats; FOE, the MC who builds his brand largely on his rhyme pattern and ability to pump out tracks left and right; and Karma, the Jewell Tyme affiliate with the voice of steel.
BLK S BFTL, the six-song EP due for release tomorrow night at Glob, serves as an extended introduction into the world of black. We caught up with FOE to talk further about the concept and get a listen to the first single, "This Is a Blk Hrts Party."
Westword: How does the chosen first single fit into the album concept?
FOE: The single was chosen because it's a dope-ass song. It's kinda hype, and it gives you the gist of what we're trying to do. It's gonna be a lot of big drums. It's kind of a big song. Plus, we're having a party, so what better way to showcase the party?
The sound of the album is kind of what you'd expect to hear from the Blk Hrts. A lot of heavy guitars and drums. There's a couple of softer tracks. Yonnas gave us those beats to mix it up a little bit so that's it's not hard-edge, in-your-face-type shit. So we have a couple softer tracks. The whole album is called BLK IS BEAUTIFUL, so the theme is to talk about a lot of beautiful things being black.
It encapsulates both the gothic culture and rap. How have you merged the two genres of dark metal and hip-hop?
One thing that helps is that we can rap. As long as you're good at what you do, the music will turn out good. To be honest, a lot of the time, I feel like I'm a rock star anyway. I've been feeling that way my whole life, except without the skinny jeans. That's Yonnas. The rock stuff came hella easy to me. It was a matter of making good music and making sure we could convey the message throughout that music.
With any music that we make, it's a matter of us liking it in order to get everyone else to like it. That's just how we make our music. Once we like it, we hope everyone else is gonna like it. The new sounds and all that stuff, we tried all the hard stuff out, and with the hard-edge lyrics and the beats, it's the perfect marriage.
How do all three of your strengths come together?
I think we all manage because we're all individual artists and we come with our own ideas. We help each other out with concepts. As far as our writing goes, it's always better to have talented artists with you so that you'll step up your writing. This album allowed us all to step it up a little bit, because we're on an album with two other artists who are going to step it up as well. I think we just all did what we did best. That's make music and rap, and Yonnas made beats.
This is a colossal project, and it's only a six-song EP. What's the long-term BLK HRTS movement?
We're gonna push the hell out of BLK S BFTL, and we're gonna start in April, the 22nd, with a BLKHRTS monthly jam. That will lead up to the end of the year, where we're releasing a full-length album. None of the songs we release monthly will be on the album.
The album cover is striking in that it doesn't depict the group...
To be honest, we wanted to come up with something that is symbolic of something black being beautiful. As far as being on covers of the album, I'm not really a big fan of being on the cover. I don't think that had anything to do with the decision-making. We wanted to capture a picture that is symbolic of black being beautiful, and we captured that.