Asaan “Swamburger” Brooks
Solillaquists of Sound’s saga comes to its natural conclusion
‘The 4th Wall’ completes the group’s epic listener’s trilogy
Published: January 8, 2014
The 4th Wall CD Release Party with Solillaquists of Sound, Blueprint, E-Turn & SPS, Beef Wellington
9 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 11 | The Social, 54 N. Orange Ave. | 407-246-1419 | thesocial.org | $15-$20
Solillaquists of Sound are done. Orlando’s first family of hip-hop has, as the title of their new album (The 4th Wall) suggests, demolished all boundaries. And even for this provocative group, the finality with which they’ve done it is a stunning surprise.
The 4th Wall wraps The Listener’s Trilogy, a three-album story arc that consumed and defined the lion’s share of the group’s colorful and illustrious career. It’s an epic, spanning seven years, that’s taken them from the DIY underground to signed international profile and back. It envelops the entirety of the elaborate Solillaquist universe, and they are about to smash it to pieces.
If quality, longevity and success are the measure, Solillaquists of Sound are one of the greatest breakout stories in not just Orlando hip-hop, but in Orlando music history. Dominating this publication’s Best of Orlando readers poll for “best hip-hop act” for the past decade, the group – a pair of couples (executive producer-MPCist Glen “DiVinci” Valencia Jr. and poet-listener Tonya Combs; lead MC Asaan “Swamburger” Brooks and lead vocalist Alexandrah Sarton) – is the city’s alternative rap touchstone. Their odyssey has included group accomplishments like a record deal with respected Epitaph sister label Anti Records (signed in 2006), international tours and filling in as Sage Francis’ band, as well as individual achievements like membership in Lauryn Hill’s band, a mention in The New York Times and an MPC product development consultancy with Akai.
The style trajectory of their Fugees-esque dynamic has gone from playing up pure hip-hop roots to transcending the genre altogether with a sound that now liberally references funk, soul, rock, jazz, dance and electronic alongside classic rap pedigree. Although it’s confounded many – the listening public and the industry alike – it is what has ultimately defined the Solillaquists.
It all began in 2002 when the Solillaquists blindsided Orlando by releasing their first album, 4 Student Counsol (Nonsense Records), before ever performing out. Although their subsequent releases were staggered (As If We Existed in 2006 and No More Heroes in 2008, both on Anti/Epitaph), it was due to diligent song crafting and their nonstop individual endeavors, never inactivity. After fulfilling their contract with Anti, the band delved back to their DIY roots and independently released this year’s The 4th Wall.
Group mastermind DiVinci says, “Before [trilogy opener] As If We Existed came out, we just met so much resistance in the hip-hop community of like, ‘You guys aren’t hip-hop – you guys are experimental; you guys are electronic.’ But people forget that [hip-hop] was actually a movement that could be continued. And that’s kinda what we were doing! That’s what we have been doing and what we are still doing.”
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