New Kingdom – “Mars”

WHEW LAWD! Now if I could bring back any defunct group from the ether, it’d have to be New Kingdom. No question.

The trio of Nosaj (Jason Furlow), Sebastian AKA Seb-Stop (Sebastian Laws), and Scotty Hard (Scott Harding) completely messed up the program when they banded together as the Kingdom in the early ’90s. Meeting at a vintage clothing store in the NYC where they both worked, Furlow and Laws discovered that they had a great chemistry and a fine appreciation for hip-hop, funk, blues, and psychedelia, and…psychedelics. Deciding to create music together, it wasn’t long til they met up with Harding, a producer and audio engineer who saw promise in the duo and their experimental ambitions. Landing them a deal with the UK label Gee Street Records, the team got to work, digging up obscure records from local shops and Furlow and Laws sequestering themselves in Furlow’s apartment, taking a bunch of drugs and creating the weirdest, wildest stuff they could, which Harding would guide and grow. The project took shape as Heavy Load, a woolly and dusted debut which had the duo rapping, jamming, and ranting, in a peculiar and striking melange of funk, hip-hop, and rock that felt transported from Woodstock ’69, and brought to 1993.

Now I said on here a real long time ago that the group “fired a blank” with that debut…That’s not entirely true. Heavy Load record gained a fair bit of attention, especially in Europe, and the group became known for their live sets, but in the U.S., they didn’t get too much traction. While not the absolutely drugged-out, earth-departing listen that their second album, Paradise Don’t Come Cheap, is (which STILL blows my mind with tracks like this), Heavy Load is stellar. Funky and chill are the modes for this listen, and it really has some gems.

“Mars” is…wow, well, where can I even start with “Mars”? This one is a brilliant got-damn mess, violently lurching back and forth between two vastly different beats as Nosaj and Seb rap, rant, and yell into their shitty microphones. It feels like a bomb, blowing out your speakers and throwing every damn thing into disarray without warning. This track is something to behold. Give it a listen, and you’ll know why I wish these guys were back.

GIVE ME THE RAPS GIVE ME THE RAPS GIVE ME THE RAPS GIVE ME THE RAPS