CD Release - Mojo rising
On stage, Heavy Mojo smashes through genres and generates so many different kinds of musical energy that you're not sure what to call it. Three MCs — B-Dirty, Priest Shooby and Simon Stone — thrash out on raps like "Dirty Water" and "Hood Rat" while guitarist R-Dub, keyboardist DD Fingers, drummer Machine Gun and bassist the Foundation deliver hard funk beats. The experience invokes Sly & the Family Stone, Fishbone and '90s-era Public Enemy.
Heavy Mojo's seven members have played together since 2002. The crazy nicknames and explosive live show have attracted lots of local fans and praise from major-label executives. "Warner's showed some interest," says Priest Shooby, whose name is inspired by classic Blaxploitation movie The Mack. "They flew us up to New York and we showcased for them." According to Priest Shooby, labels have been afraid of Heavy Mojo's music because it's too eclectic to pigeonhole.
So for now, Heavy Mojo remains independent. It sold 5,000 copies of its 2005 album, It Is What It Is (following Dirty Water), in conjunction with Southern Music Distribution. A third album, Blow Out the Sound, was completed and mastered in May. Blow Out the Sound is more subdued than Heavy Mojo's live performances, emphasizing groove and rhythm over loud guitars and shouted vocals. One track, "Machine Gun Blues," sounds like a Ninja Tune track circa 1997, and the title track is a pulpy backpack rap led by DD Fingers' keyboard licks. Heavy Mojo calls its style "acid hip-hop," but Blow Out the Sound is admirably all over the place.
The group currently sells copies of the disc at shows through its label, Jank Recordings, but is waiting to set up proper distribution with a different company before offering it through retail and online stores. "We've got about three or four people talking to us right now," says B-Dirty. "We've got this new album, and we just want to make sure that we can get a bigger and better situation to reach more folks." Heavy Mojo hopes to get the disc in retail and online stores by October because, he says, "Everybody's in a good buying mood right before the holiday season."
Heavy Mojo plays Sat., Aug. 5, with Slack Republic. $10. 10 p.m. Apache Cafe, 64 Third St. 404-876-5436. www.apachecafe.info.