'WARNING! This Band Is Hot!'
With the musical motto “Not Confined, Not Defined,” Code Red bridges the hip hop generation gap with healthy reverence for old school as well as daring reflections of the new school. The result? Their debut album, 'All Aboard', on Toucan Cove Entertainment is one of the most eagerly anticipated of 2006.
El One Wise, a prolific MC, and Junior Dread, a Jamaican Reggae artist, though having completely different backgrounds, had a mutual desire to create a fresh, pure sound that embraced all the possibilities of lyrics and beats. With El One’s worldly vision and Dread’s fiery energy, the foundation for Code Red was laid.
After recruiting super-producer Watz, whose production confidence is matched only by his sense of humor, the group independently released Since Forever…Till Forever, which was recognized for both phat rhythm tracks and great hooks. Soon after, the offbeat and experimental MC Manfred joined the crew, and the community started buzzing about Code Red - one of the livest hip hop groups on the come up.
Code Red live shows are unforgettable, a power surge that has heated the stage for 50 Cent, Busta Rhymes, Wyclef Jean, Mystikal and Nappy Roots, and have recorded with Skillz, Masta Ace and Smoke E. from Playa.
Be on high alert, ‘cause in a few months, it’s gonna get hot up in here. Code Red’s 'All Aboard' drops in June ‘06.
Chatting recently with El One Wise, and mentioning that their press release states about them that we have been "warned," I first wondered just what happens if we fail to heed the warning?! "Jr. Dread will personally pay each of you a visit…and trust me, you don’t want that! ha ha!"
Your album title 'All Aboard' is an obvious welcoming invite to your listeners, but does it originate from a more personal standpoint for you guys, perhaps? "This album signified our musical growth from our last two albums. We wanted to do an album that didn’t fall into any one sub-genre of hip hop/rap. We wanted everybody to get something out of it. This wasn’t just about us as artists. This was about us as fans of good hip hop."
If there was one track on this new album that truly encapsulated Code Red at their musical and lyrical finest, which one would it be? "Lyrically, I think we really shined on 'Long Time Coming,' 'Brother Louis,' and 'Give Me a Reason,' and 'Pimp It Out,' but then again, we make sure the lyrics are on point for every song – we take no shorts in the lyrics department. I think a song like 'For My People' has all of the elements of good Code Red song."
This debut album is chock full of musical personalities for sure, but just how did you finally balance them without one overshadowing the others? "We just have a healthy respect for each other’s talents and opinions where the music is concerned. We’ve learned to let go of all of our preconceived notions about how things should sound and run with the other guy’s idea sometimes, because hey, you never know what’s going to work until your try it. So, I guess the key is to not be stubborn."
And just where did the name Code Red originate ... and what else could it so easily have been? "Code Red was the name of an entertainment company I started when I first moved to KY. I was throwing a party serious call “502 Headz.” Eventually, 502 Headz stuck as the company name and Code Red turned into the flag ship act on 502 Headz Records."
With two of the band being ex-Army men, and the song 'Give Me A Reason' being such a powerful lead off single, I'm wondering if there are other undercurrents of a war's social commentary on this album? "Not really. We didn’t get too political on this album, but we definitely have our own views on this issue from a veteran’s standpoint. Don’t be surprised if you hear future records about the war."
Where did the inspiration to use a Hot Chocolate melody come from? "Watz heard the original record and just fell in love with it. He came to us with his vision already in place, we just had to fill in the blanks. Manfred and I drove it home lyrically with years of personal experience with interracial relationships. This is an important record for us. We felt like it needed to be heard."
For fun, and taking the titles of a few of your album tracks, please let us know:
'Elbow Room' - Have you ever been in a situation where your elbows had to be brought into action?! "Almost every Friday and Saturday! The clubs me and Dread go to are the inspiration for that song, and believe me, you have to be aggressive in those spots."
'Summer Jam' - What's your ideal summer getaway consist of? "I used to live in Hawaii, so I’d love to go back there with enough money to do whatever I wanted and not have to worry about the price tag. Oh yeah – no cell phones and no business. Just a stress free good time."
'Pimp It Out' - If you were a pimp, what would be your pimp name?! "The Bald Headed Beautiful aka the Teddy Bear Freak!"
What other '80s (and possibly cheesy!) song would you love to cover today if asked ... and why?! "We already did it – Queen’s “Fat Bottom Girls.” That’s from the 70’s, but it still fits. We did it, because well, we like fat bottoms!!!"
Lastly, I like Penguins ... do you?! "Who doesn’t?"
Interviewed by Russell A. Trunk
If you would like to win an AUTOGRAPHED copy of Code Red's brand new CD, just answer this easy question: Code Red were formed from the deep indie talent pool of ... where?!
Send me your answers and if you're correct you'll be in the running to win one of these great new AUTOGRAPHED CDs! Just send us an e:mail here before May 15th with your answer and the subject title 'CODE RED SIGNED CDs' to: firstname.lastname@example.org
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