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Get over to The Smoking Section and check out this article they did on Brwn Bflo.
Oakland-based Hip-Hop group BRWN BFLO is just as much as an anomaly as their namesake: a progressive Chicano Hip-Hop group with bottomless hyphy 808s and an immense stage presence. So while the carnales in SoCal are making you “Lean Like A Cholo”, you can find Somos One, Big Dan, Jacinto and Giant collar-poppin’ in their sets, fully decked in Dios de los Muertes face paintand scaring the beejezus out of the nearest Federal Agent lurking in their audience. You get the feeling that anything is possible when it comes to their dynamic appeal.
What’s fascinating about their style speaks less about their approach, but more of what we, as Hip-Hop fans, might expect from most MCs of Latin descent: that they’re either spitting corny ass Spanglish verses with Lil’ Loca singin’ the hook, stompin’ in their Timbs moonlighting as a poor man’s Big Pun trying to relive 1998, or worst of all, a Reggaeton Cubano with meticulously-trimmed eyebrows spittin’ for the Ed Hardy-adorned club masses. If you are basing your expectations on these outdated and unfortunate stereotypes, you will be delightfully surprised that they are none of the former.
To understand BRWN BFLO, you must first understand the Chicanos of NorCal, who are oftentimes free from the segregational gang mentality of L.A. and in close proximity to the grassroots movements of consciousness prevalent in the Bay Area. The Brown Pride they feel has less to do with sticking together in survival and xenophobia, but more to do with understanding their history and contribution to the movements that created universal social change and awareness in the 60s and 70s. So even though the original Brown Buffalo, lawyer Oscar Zeta Acosta, was playing Robin Hood and taking psychedelics with his road dawg Dr. Hunter Thompson nearly 40 years prior, you get the sense that they honored him not only for the cool-sounding name, but for the regional pride and self-awareness they ultimately project in their music.
Their newest offering, entitled BRWN BFLO, has underground content with mainstream appeal thanks to the continuity of Jacinto’s production. And while “Apeshit” is clearly the one to get the party started, tracks such as “Corazon” and “Wheels Keep Spinning” featuring Zion-I and Bambu, provide the counterbalance. Peep for yourself.
BRWN BFLO’s remix of “Corazon” with Stic.Man of Dead Prez celebrates immigrants in a much-needed way. The dominant narrative around immigration in this country resembles a demonizing “us vs. them” dichotomy. Given that America is a country comprised of immigrants of every stripe, the hypocrisy of America being anti-immigrant seems obvious. And yet, when it comes to immigrant groups that don’t share the complexion of Piedmont, things get a bit dicey.
In the words of the Panthers, “Power to the People.”
Taking their message off the stage and into the classrrom, BRWN BFLO provides multi media workshops on creative/visual arts including music production for community justice, violence-prevention, and youth organizing, that is accessible for elementary through college level students, not for profit organizations, etc.
BRWN BFLO keeps their focus through deep community roots and a strong dedication to their personal testimony as block educators turned musicians.
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