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Foul Mouth Jerk & TopR - Cross Coast Bros
Wednesday, August 11, 2010

On Thursday, August, 19th, two of the country’s best, and oftentimes most unheralded, hip-hop scenes will converge at the Acoustic Cafe in Bridgeport when New Jersey’s Foul Mouth Jerk co-headlines and shares the stage with the Bay Area’s TopR.

Both emcees are well established veterans of the game. TopR is currently working on his seventh solo album, and he’s done numerous projects with other artists, as well. Foul Mouth Jerk is readying his fifth solo album, and has been working with his GFE (Granola Funk Express) crew for the past dozen years. The crew, which currently has eight members, has had as many as thirteen.

The style of hip-hop that the duo share is a bit of a throwback to the glory days of rap music. “My generation grew up on 80’s rap for the most part, and early 90’s rap,” TopR explains, “the highly commercialized style of rap that Puffy and all those guys brought out in 96, 97, 98, allowed people like myself and people from my generation to kinda backlash against that because in recent memory we had this traditional rap music that made us feel a certain way.” The backlash, TopR says, is something that barely exists amongst today’s artists. “Now what you have is a generation of kids who grew up on that commercialized music from the late 90’s, so now there’s no backlash against commercialism in hip-hop and people don’t even remember traditional hip-hop.”

At least a few people still remember, including TopR and Foul Mouth Jerk. The duo met through mutual friends who kept telling them they were exactly like each other. Foul Mouth Jerk remembers, “we had friends in common and they were really freaked out because apparently he and I act so much alike. They were like ‘dude, you remind me of my buddy TopR from San Francisco,’ and apparently at the same time other people were going to TopR saying ‘it’s really weird, you’re like a West coast Foul Mouth Jerk.’” He says when they eventually met “it was like we were separated at birth.”

Separated at birth, but connected musically, both in ideology, and in many cases the stage as they now routinely tour together and do combined sets. Sharing the stage leads to some very high energy sets as TopR describes his live show as “kind of like LL Cool J meets GG Allin, but with less fecal matter.” There’s also some comedy thrown in for good measure as Foul Mouth Jerk notes “even if we’re complaining about the state of the world, it’s probably pretty cynically written, so there’s a punch line in there somewhere.”

Cynicism is a commonality when it comes to the work of Foul Mouth Jerk and TopR. The latter explains his style saying “there’s always an underlying theme of rebellion and talking about the futility of the human condition and the kind of activities that stem from someone who’s pretty misanthropic and sick of society to begin with, and Jerk shares a lot of those same kind of views.” Foul Mouth Jerk also has some politics thrown into his rhymes, rhymes that he says, unfortunately, haven’t needed to be altered despite the passage of time.

Even though he wrote the two political songs that will be featured on his next album a full two years ago, Foul Mouth Jerk says the ideas in them still apply today. “I thought I’d have to change a lot, or maybe just remove those songs, but honestly, nothing’s really changed that much. We kind of still have the same problems, if not worse, between all the shit that’s gone down in the Gulf, and the economy, and the wars haven’t been stopped.” He adds “I would have been delighted to take them off because they weren’t problems anymore, but unfortunately they’re still relevant.”

Relevant, yes, but you probably won’t hear them at the show. Foul Mouth Jerk understands the concept of a live show, and a lot of political talk isn’t what he’s on stage to do. “I’ve been touring since ’97, and you learn what songs are for albums and what songs are for stage shows,” he explains. “People don’t come out to the bar and drink to hear you moan and bitch about a lot of stuff. A little bit of that peppered throughout is fine, but we definitely know how to take the right songs, the live ones, the hotter songs off the album, and kill the party with them.”

When Foul Mouth Jerk and TopR bring the East and West coasts together on stage for some true school hip-hop on the 19th, with local fave The Rising Sun Quest opening and special guest Johnny Durkin in the house, one thing’s for sure, there will be plenty of partying.

Story originally ran in the FairfieldWeekly.


posted by Adam Bernard @ 7:52 AM  
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