Let the healing begin
Rehab's rap-rock elixir
Here's what I want you to print, says Jason Brooks of Atlanta alt-rock/rap duo REHAB, his tone slightly taunting. "We've spent 4 million dollars so far on Rehab and our first video is directed by Hype Williams. It's a $1.5 million video shot in Bali."
"We've got four emus, interjects his cohort Danny Alexander.
Brooks continues, "Four emus. And we've got tigers and lions and ...
"Bears, oh my, laughs Alexander.
"There's guest appearances from the entire music industry, Brooks says. "Puffy's in it, DMX is in it. George Jones. Kenny Rogers is in the video.
"It's a real ecleftic video, Alexander offers, mocking Wyclef Jean's recent album title.
"We're about to explode! Brooks declares.
Of course, none of this is true, and no, Alexander didn't have a snootful, nor was Brooks on medication at the time. That's just good-natured banter — Rehab style. And perhaps a little wishful thinking too. But that's to be expected from two guys who hooked up in rehab — Alexander battling addiction, Brooks manic depression. A vivid imagination and illusions of grandeur were all they had. That, and music.
"Music saved my life, says Brooks. "It was the only light at the end of the tunnel, the only possible reason to live. I don't have much else. But now I feel like I get to live. I feel like I've been saved.
As the premier act from Atlanta's Destiny Music (via its joint venture with Epic Records), Rehab pushes forth with an amalgam of styles. In some ways, the duo falls in easily with the countless other white guys meshing hip-hop and rock these days, but unlike many of their compadres, they seem just as comfortable with either genre.
Just off a tour with the Kottonmouth Kings, the group's 30-minute set favors rock-flavored tunes ("Kick My Ass, "Rattle My Cage, "Drinking Problem, "My Addiction), but their debut album, the just-released Southern Discomfort, reaches beyond rock and hip-hop to include shots of pop ("Miss Jones) and even a dash of country ("Sittin' in a Bar). The lead single, "Stormchaser, features their Atlanta homeboys, Goodie Mob.
One part Warner-Robbins beer-guzzling, good-ol'-boy (Alexander), one part Atlanta upper-middle-class, manic-depressive genius (Brooks), Rehab's roots also run deep in hip-hop, an art form that both men say gave them an outlet for their frustrations.
"The first time I heard BDP [KRS-One's Boogie Down Productions] and Beastie Boys I flipped, recalls Alexander, 31. "Hip-hop was loud and clear. You knew exactly what they were saying and it was the art form that I could best relate to. It just drew me in.
Twenty-seven-year-old Brooks agrees. "Hip-hop was the music that made sense to me — more than any other kind of music out there. It felt like my natural art form.
Despite their hip-hop past, Rehab's future may rest with rock fans. "We're being handled like a new alternative-rock group, says Brooks. "But I think because we have the hip-hop background, I can see it going urban. Because we really do rhyme. We're not like a couple of rock kids who started rhyming. We're a couple of people who rhyme and started adding rock to the mix, which is the opposite of a lotta these other cats.
Even as Rehab embrace their alt-rock label, Alexander says he doesn't want to abandon their hip-hop roots. "If I had my druthers, I'd like it to be seen in both places. I love both markets and I listen to both. I love all kinds of music. When I was first coming up and decided to get into music, all I did was hip-hop. So my first and foremost target market was all hip-hop. But as I got older, I wised up and realized that music is music; it really don't matter where you get accepted. To be accepted anywhere is a good thing.
Rehab performs at the Masquerade, Fri., Nov. 10, at 9 p.m. Tickets are $10 in advance. For more information, call 404-577-2007.