Federal & Co.
Funksters Federal & Co. stand out against today’s sample-driven hip-hop artists by combining live instrumentation with mellow storytelling, arriving somewhere between the Roots and the Ohio Players. As veterans of the Sounds Like Ohio movement, Federal & Co. offer raw refreshment in an era when the glossy production of major record labels doesn’t quite quench your thirst for authentic hip-hop. Bassist Dave Hendrix, a former Ohio Player, brings more than 30 years of experience to lend a smooth, watery groove to the band’s rhythm section. Sayyid Azim gives a live snap to the drums in a time when most mainstream artists opt for the churned robotics of a computer. Classically trained keyboardist Brian “Mad Scientist” Russell shreds the ivory like the bastard son of Thelonious Monk, at times taking the place of a guitarist and soloing Daft Punk-style on his synthesizer. Rapper Federal is the breezy, brainy charisma behind the group and spits lyrics with a nasal whine that conjures the best of Kid Cudi, another Ohio native. You can catch them on June 3 at Bojangle’s in West Carrollton, before they depart on a summer-long tour. Admission is free.
– Benjamin Dale