New Kingdom (band)
|Origin||New York City|
|Genres||Hip hop, Experimental hip hop|
|Labels||Gee Street/Island/PolyGram Records|
|Associated acts||Truck Stop, Freak Brothers|
New Kingdom was an American hip hop group from New York City consisting of Nosaj, Sebastian, and Scotty Hard. Formed in 1987, New Kingdom was known for its psychedelic, funk, and blues-influenced style and abstract lyricism. The duo released two albums on Gee Street Records in 1992 and 1996.
Group members Nosaj and Sebastian met as coworkers in a clothing store in New York City. As they were both hip hop fans, they decided to begin recording rhymes in 1987. After New Kingdom moved into a recording studio, engineer Scotty Hard heard New Kingdom's demos, helped the group develop its sound and introduced the duo to Gee Street Records, which officially signed the act in 1992, after two years on a demo deal, New Kingdom released its debut album, Heavy Load, in 1993. Allmusic's Bret Love wrote of the album, "Heavy Load shows an awful lot of promise, but all too often New Kingdom fails to deliver."
New Kingdom released its second album, Paradise Don't Come Cheap, in 1996. Allmusic writer Ned Raggett, who gave the album 4 out of 5 stars and selected the album as the site's Album Pick, wrote, "[The album] arguably beats out the fine debut Heavy Load—there's something even more belligerent, raunchy, and fiery about Furlow and Laws this time out." However, The San Diego Union-Tribune writer Jeff Niesel wrote, "[It's] a clunky affair."
New Kingdom was praised for its unique sound and performance style. New Kingdom's musical style combines elements of hard rock, psychedelic music, funk, and blues. The group's live performances featured a disc jockey and live instrumentation by a guitarist, a drummer, and a percussionist, as well as a masked dancer. The lyrical content of Nosaj and Sebastian is often abstract and ranges from autobiographical subjects to science-fiction fantasies. References made by the band range from Bruce Lee and Super Fly to the folklore of Paul Bunyan. Nosaj and Sebastian's rhymes are often unintelligible.
Sebastian was previously a member of some local hardcore punk bands, and Nosaj was primarily influenced by Curtis Mayfield. The San Diego Union-Tribune writer Jeff Niesel described New Kingdom's music as a cross between Wu-Tang Clan and the Jon Spencer Blues Explosion, while Allmusic's Bret Love compared the group to Beastie Boys and Onyx. The New York Times writer Jon Pareles compared New Kingdom to rap-rock fusions by artists such as Run-D.M.C., Public Enemy, Anthrax, Cypress Hill, and Wu-Tang Clan. In his review of Paradise Don't Come Cheap, Allmusic writer Ned Raggett wrote, "[The group's sound compares with] a Goodie Mob/Bubba Sparxxx collaboration produced by the RZA—or, say, Eminem's "Square Dance" completely gone to hell—well before its time" and concluded that the only easy comparison between New Kingdom and another musical act is Wu-Tang Clan.
- Bush, John. "New Kingdom - Biography". Allmusic. Retrieved 11 November 2011.
- Love, Bret. "Heavy Load - New Kingdom". Allmusic. Retrieved 11 November 2011.
- Raggett, Ned. "Paradise Don't Come Cheap - New Kingdom". Allmusic. Retrieved 11 November 2011.
- Niesel, Jeff (August 8, 1996). "Paradise Don't Come Cheap - New Kingdom". The San Diego Union-Tribune. Retrieved 11 November 2011.
- Parales, Jon (September 9, 1996). "Shooting For Excess". The New York Times. Retrieved 11 November 2011.