SOHH teamed up with ReverbNation to select 20 unsigned rappers with "True Grit" --that rough, authentic swagger and determination to win at all costs. After weeks of deliberations and debates reviewing hundreds of worthy (and simply wack) contenders, the SOHH.com team countsdown the top 20 grittiest rappers on ReverbNation with a hustle so hard and rhymes so raw, they can't go unnoticed.
The SOHH True Grit Artist #19: "CEE KNOWLEDGE & THE COSMIC FUNK ALL STARS", PHILADELPHIA, PENNSYLVANIA
Straight out of Philadelphia comes Cee Knowledge & The Cosmic Funk All Stars. Now don't get your boots stuck in the mud, just because they rep the "City of Brotherly Love" doesn't mean this seven-member rowdy bunch won't hesitate to slice and dice the microphone at any given time. Coming together like a rodeo square dance, the crew consists of Kai Chi, Indian Black, Reality along with drummer Gary Dann, bass player Mitch Beer, guitarist Adam 12 and DJ Soulbuck. The band is fronted by Cee Knowledge, also known as Doodlebug from Grammy-winning rap trio Digable Planets.
These good ol' fellas aren't overnight creations either. Having made a name for themselves on the underground level since 2001 with mixtapes and touring all over the country, this gritty bunch has the social game on lock with over 4,300 Myspace fans and 1,600-plus Facebook supporters as well. We like these boys not only because they pack shows on a monthly basis with hundreds of fans, but because their fan demographic spans from the 18-year-old headbanger to the older, music grit connoisseurs.
While their grit is slowly unraveled on tracks like "Grown Folks" and "Changing Da Game", it's their assault on records like "Butcher Shop" that really proves why they're gutting anything that gets in their path. "Slice and dice with Kreugger claw/but still nice with the Ruger, y'all/ Murk any motherf*cker that try me/Get slapped up/Kidnapped in the truck/The wigs get pushed, back the f*ck up/Screwed and chopped in the butcher shop/Welcome to the underworld where there ain't no cops but sex, drugs and violence -- razor blades on the back of my mic, you might lose your life if your rhyme ain't right." Shook yet?
Repping their Seven N A Crescent Productions, Cee Knowledge & The Cosmic Funk All Stars show that rap posses are still relevant in a time when many artists go for self and try to make a silver dollar off the strength of their name alone. Cats spitting blade-sharp rhymes to a live, edgy instrumentals -- that's gritty to us.
While we will continue to love Philly city slickers like State Property and The Roots, in 2011 and onward, this collective has us lassoed in!
Check back tomorrow for SOHH's True Grit Artist #18.