Dynamic production duo, J-Radical and Kool Kojak-AKA Urban Legend-is back on the scene with Tropical Techniques-the follow-up to their critically-acclaimed debut, Tranqulidad Cubana-the aftermath of a dizzying trip to Havana, and numerous red-eyed recording sessions lasting until the break of dawn. The debut EP earned 4 CMJ Top 5 hits with countless spins on tastemaker radio, including KCRW and KPFK. But who the f*** is Urban Legend?
THE GENESIS OF URBAN LEGEND:
The 2 first met in the Ft. Green section of Brooklyn, NY at Moe’s bar. Upon being introduced by super producer Dr. Luke (best known for his work with platinum-plus artists Kelly Clarkson, Pink, Ke$ha, Avril Lavigne), both producers hit it off instantly. It turned out that Kojak thought J-Radical’s new kicks were “dope”. “Ever since I saw him rocking those Air Force 1’s, I knew he was down by law”, quips Kojak. “We had an instant connection,” he adds with a smirk.
The two soon found themselves holed up in J-Radical’s Hollywood studio making tracks until all hours. Both with a penchant for Latinas, the obvious move: “to just be a couple of white boys making a Latino record.” Since both cats were already making a name for themselves on a solo tip, the natural thing to do was to come together like some rum-soaked Wonder Twins and set out for a musical path of destruction.
WHO IS THIS CAT J-RADICAL?
J-Radical (Jared Faber) is a native New Yorker and alumnus of New York’s famed High School of Performing Arts. After high school, he did some time at the Berklee College of Music, studying jazz arranging and composition. Since then, J moved into music for film, television, records, theatre and even a few CD-Rom games. He was nominated for an Emmy award for his work on “Clifford’s Puppy Days” and has done a gang of scoring for many hit show, including “Being Bobby Brown”, Ice Cube’s “Friday the Animated Series”, “As Told by Ginger” (Nickelodeon) and “The Mr. Men Show” (Cartoon Network).
Jared also composed music for the ABC show “Emily’s Reasons Why Not” starring Heather Graham. In addition to the episodic scoring, he co-wrote the theme song with frequent collaborator Emily Kapnek, which was performed by Macy Gray.
Jared’s frequent forays into Latin music have lead to him scoring the Fox pilot “Ernesto” staring Wilmer Valderama as well as collaborating with Wilmer and Rosario Dawson on the viral web series, “Voto Latino”. His electronica tracks have been featured on numerous compilations as well as in various TV shows and films including “Nip/Tuck” (F/X), “Cane” (NBC), Dexter (Showtime), Jake in Progress (NBC) and 20th Century Fox’s “Mission Without Permission”. Jared recently contributed music to the film “The Long Shots” starring Ice Cube. The film also featured a song Jared co-wrote and produced, performed by Chris Pierce and Sy Smith.
WHAT ABOUT KOOL KOJAK?
Having spent several years living in Brazil recording and performing with Brazilian pop icon Supla, the artist also known as “El Comandante” rocked massive benefit shows on the streets of Sao Paulo, for C.U.T. (Central Unica Dos Trabalhadores ). Kojak kept his activities na rua – in the streets– creating and implementing a graffiti mural workshop for the youth of the Sao Paulo favelas.
In addition to painting murals with some of Brazil’s most celebrated street artists such as Os Gemeos, Juneca, Vitche, and ChexLunix, Kojak has made frequent appearances on Brazilian television during the 2002 season, bringing his Brooklyn/Brazil b boy agenda para a gente do Brasil. Apon returning to the USA, Kojak became involved in “Boombionic Breakbeat Bonanza,” a hip hop program for juvenile delinquents in group home programs.
In addition to often times laying the smack down on unruly, foolhardy juvenile delinquents, Kojak has been killing it on the music side. He is best known for co-writing/producing Flo Rida’s “Right Round,” working alongside big pimpin’ producers like Dr. Luke, Benny Blanco and Kathy Dennis, and busting out with the theme song to Cartoon Network’s “George of the Jungle” with his partner in crime, J-Radical.
Kojak’s contributions to music can be felt on many projects currently blowing up, including Ke$ha, Shwayze, Mickey Avalon, Dirt Nasty, Too $hort, Three Six Mafia, 2 Live Crew and NASA.
THE NEW JOINT: TROPICAL TECHNIQUES
“We both really like arroz con pollo, so I knew instantly we had to make some tracks…plus he was willing to call me J-Radical, I like that,” describes J-Radical.
Tropical Techniques is an amalgamation of the hottest and most innovative Latin artists to date. Billboard’s “favorite unsigned Latina,” Chana lends her “Dominican-by way of NY/Miami” sabor on the leadoff spanglish dance track, “The World Keeps Spinning.” Whether you are poolside at a posh Miami hotel kicking it to a hot mami orgetting your drink on at a club in NYC or LA, the groove will undoubtedly make you want to shake it up. Costa Rica’s finest, Debi Nova, who is best known for her collaborations with music heavies like Sergio Mendes, Ricky Martin and Mark Ronson, adds a little hip-hop & samba with a pop twist on “Luz Del Atardecer.” Also featured on the jam are some of the illest cats in music, including DJ A-Ski on turntable duties, James Genus on bass (Herbie Hancock & SNL band) and Deron Johnson (Miles Davis, Seal) on keys.
Like category 5 winds, New Yorican Def Poet La Bruja and the Bay Area’s top bilingual rhyme spitter, Rico Pabon add hip hop elements to a traditional montuno on “El Huracan.” From Tequila in Jalisco, Mexico comes the resounding vocals of songstress, Destani Wolf, layered over a haunting trumpet from Stewart Cole (Macy Gray, Edward Sharp and the Magnetic Zeros). Our Chica Tica, Debi Nova kills it once again on the up-tempo banger “Running Around In My Head.” Rounding out the EP is a joint courtesy of La Bruja and the Puerto Rico’s own Jay Omega. The collabo results in the New York style disco-influenced “Como Se Llama.”
Tropical Techniques is one of those rare gems that starts at your ears, works its way to your heart and ends up moving your feet. Until the next episode…