New Kingdom | Theater Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader
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With the lines "Pouring no lies / No suits-n-ties / No need to rush / We love to fuck time," New Kingdom dispense with all notions of finesse from the get-go of their joyously grueling debut Heavy Load (Gee Street). This wiggy New York hip-hop duo celebrates chaos and heaviness, carefully occupying the stylistic space between seriousness and dumb yuks. As comfortable sampling the James Gang and Grand Funk Railroad as more expected R & B sources, they recall the over-the-top mayhem of the Beastie Boys, alternating delivery of their rhyme-deconstructing lines between hoarse shouts, gentle whispers, and brash sneers. Over a fat, psychedelic bed of jackhammer-subtle drums and bass, Nosaj and Sebastian spill substance-friendly chants--"Now alotta my friends are heavy drinkers / But it's the plant that keeps the kid to thinkin"'--that hazily exude a kind of color-blind ecumenism. Yet in the end it's the sludge-thick rhythms--and piquant samples like "And to the black folks he was just a crazy nigga," lifted from Bob Dylan's mid-70s tale of boxer Ruben Carter, "Hurricane"--that make their music as crazily successful as their out-of-control coifs. Wednesday, 11 PM, Smart Bar, 3730 N. Clark; 549-4140.

Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): photo/Rob Jarbee.

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