Though Hip Hop’s house band The Roots helped usher in the trend of live instrumentation in mainstream Rap music, that trend largely seemed limited to high-profile stars who used live bands to beef up their stage presence during arena shows. But dig into the Hip Hop underground and you’ll find a lot more artists taking chances and using more than just two turntables and a microphone.
One of the best of the current crop is The B.E.A.T., a trio based in South Bend, Ind. The group takes a progressive approach, not limiting themselves to any genre expectations, and the results — heard on the 2011 release Drops (available as a free download at thebeat.bandcamp.com) — are glorious.
The B.E.A.T.’s Northside Tavern show is a release celebration for the trio’s new EP, Undercover, which is described as a collection of covers and live mash-ups, featuring the group’s rewiring of songs by artists like Radiohead, Kendrick Lamar, Portishead, Gucci Mane and Depeche Mode. Undercover was recorded at Cincinnati’s Soap Floats studio and is being released on the local Grasshopper Juice label. Later this year, the all-original companion EP Overhead will be released.