About Me

Name: Adam Bernard
Home: Fairfield, Connecticut, United States
About Me: Entertainment journalist with 15+ years of experience. Supporter of indie music. Lover of day baseball, fringe movies, & chicken shawarma. Part time ninja. Nerdy, but awesome.
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Hip-Hop’s Going To Be AOK
Friday, October 17, 2008

The AOK Collective

While I normally don’t make bold proclamations about the scene, this is one instance where I feel the need to get on my soapbox and let the world know about something. I know a lot of people have voiced concern regarding the future of Hip-Hop, but I want to let everyone know there’s no need to worry, everything’s going to be AOK. AOK as in the AOK Collective, the most impressive assemblage of emcees in NYC’s Hip-Hop scene today.

The AOK Collective is a group of like-minded emcees and producers that recently came together to form a Voltron-like unit and in the process launched themselves to the forefront of New York City’s underground Hip-Hop scene. Yes, there are other collectives of artists in the city, but none with the talent and skills of AOK, a team that consists of Homeboy Sandman, Fresh Daily, 8th W1, P.Casso, 2 Hungry Bros and Nola Darling (all pictured above minus the other half of Nola Darling).

Although I was already familiar with most of the AOK Collective’s artists as soloists (as evidenced by all of those Artist Of The Week links in the previous paragraph), last Friday, when they opened for Das Efx and Jeru the Damaja at The Knitting Factory in NYC, was the first time I saw them take the stage as a unit. Having the daunting task of attempting to impress a crowd that was mostly there to see their old school heroes - the kind of crowd that’s notorious for folding their arms and giving a “prove to me you deserve my appreciation” look to every artist they don’t know - the AOK Collective did something I’ve seen few others manage, grab the crowd and hold on to them for the entire set.

While they were performing I realized what made the AOK set so fantastic; they didn’t rely on group songs, but rather let every artist shine as soloists for a few songs so the crowd was able to sample each unique personality. After the audience clearly knew who was who the members of AOK went into songs they had that featured multiple members of the team, such as the Homeboy Sandman and P.Casso track “Wise Up” off of Actual Factual Pterodactyl. In fact, I think there was only one song that featured all of the emcees of the group, the PreZZure produced AOK theme song that samples Sesame Street (which is really dope).

Musically the AOK Collective has absolutely everything a Hip-Hop fan could want; fantastic beats, the majority of which are produced by 2 Hungry Bros, amazing emcees, and a really enjoyable live show. About the only gripe I had was that I didn’t hear all of my favorite songs from the individual artists, but I understand the time constraint issues that would create. The quick individual mini sets within the larger overall set perfectly served their purpose of both introducing listeners to the artists and making sure the energy level never dropped below blistering.

A fantastic sign that the AOK Collective is doing something right is that they drew some of scene’s elite to the show, including Conscious, Creature, Sav Killz, Rugged N Raw, Hasan Salaam and Tzo. Great artists get the support of other great artists and that showing proved that although the AOK Collective may have just recently come together as a crew they already have the respect of some of the biggest names on the scene. It shouldn’t come as much of a surprise, though, as all of the artists in AOK have had the respect of their peers for years, it’s just now they’ve found a way to harness each of their individual followings to create something even bigger.

As far as Hip-Hop goes you can’t go wrong with the AOK Collective. Go out of your way to see them now so in a few years you’ll be able to say you knew about them way back when.

Related Links

The AOK Collective: myspace.com/aokcollective


posted by Adam Bernard @ 7:34 AM  
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