On a biweekly basis, The Groove Seeker goes in search of killer grooves across rock, funk, hip hop, soul, electronic music, jazz, fusion, and more.
Freestyle Fellowship: “Step 2 the Side”[audio:http://alarm-magazine.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/10/Freestyle_Fellowship_Step_2_The_Side.mp3|titles=Freestyle Fellowship: “Step 2 The Side”]
After two decades and three LPs under its belt, the Freestyle Fellowship has turned into one of the longest-running hip-hop crews with the release of its latest record, The Promise. Previously the vision of innovative new-school rhyming in what seems like the old Wild West of hip hop, the Fellowship embodies the progressive early-’90s West Coast movement when hip-hop culture wasn’t an international trend, and when nation-conscious raps imbibed a certain sense of freedom and lyrical style reigned supreme.
But it’s been quite some time since those open-mic nights at the Good Life Café in South Central Los Angeles, where the Freestyle Fellowship, like many others (Chali 2na, Cut Chemist), got their start. Comprised of Aceyalone, Myka 9, PEACE, Self Jupiter, and producer J Sumbi, the Fellowship maintains a relevant influence as one of the initiators of jazz-rooted hip hop, aimed to challenge the art form with new approaches to rhyme, rhythm, and meter. Along with East Coast counterparts such as A Tribe Called Quest, Digable Planets, and Gang Starr, the Freestyle Fellowship filled a niche between commercialized radio rap and hardcore gangster rap, elevating the game with highly intellectual and esoteric prose.