As you all know the 70’s were an amazing era for funk and soul music. The music, fashion, dances and the attitude of the time still carry on today. Most recently we have seen a slew of Nike commercials and the release of Eddie Griffith’s movie, Undercover Brother which all pay homage to the feel of 70’s nostalgia. The colorful sound of red, black and green Afro picks, bellbottoms, platform shoes and butterfly collared shirts can still be heard loud and clear in the music of today’s Hip-Hop artists. Artists like Dr. Dre, Snoop Dog, Cee-Lo and a host of others can be found using samples and creating interpolations of the old school vibe in their tracks. Now witness the rebirth of Camp Lo.
Dynamite AKA Chiba and Emerald Suede are back after a few years of alleged hibernation. Even though you haven’t heard from the camp known as Camp Lo, they have not been sleeping as mush as they have been slept on. They have been working at returning to the masses. Their mission is to take care of what Dynamite calls, “a drought in music.”
With their critically acclaimed, fresh sounding, debut album “Uptown Saturday Night” the Bronx New York natives sent the Hip-Hop world into a frenzy. Their approach towards the music was different and included a twist of 70’s funk and soul with the now ever present Neo-soul feel. The difference was that they did it back in 1996. The hit single “Luchini” off the album with the movie title taken from a Sidney Potier and Bill Cosby Classic stirred up some wicked emotion in rap. These kats dared to be different coming from the East Coast dressing with 70’s flare, flossing old school cool attitude and having a glossary of new and old slang to back it up. You would have thought that they were a part of the Dungeon Family if you didn’t know their roots. For those of you bent over with your heads between your legs, their home of the boogie down spawned the greatest music ever known to American youth. The Bronx is the birthplace of Hip-Hop.
Now some might say that the cutting edge of funk and soul is dead in rap music but Chiba says different. “We are basically doing the same thing we did before because we feel that there’s room for us because of the drought in music and we wanna change that. We went through a lot of changes and we just want the people to know that the reason they didn’t see us wasn’t because of us. We didn’t want them thinking that we weren’t coming back. It’s a business and it was because of people on higher levels why we weren’t seen.” Some of those troubles were presented when Profile records participated in the selling of their label. They sold out to Arista Records and left a collage of artists worrying about the fate of their careers. Dynamite says, “Arista wanted us to change our sound, our hooks, they wanted to find beats for us. They wouldn’t let us find our own producers.” The Camp then moved on to Stimulated /Loud Records and released a double sided single “Cookers” and “Trouble Man.”
It’s only so long that artists can take the shit that labels put them through and the same is relevant for Camp Lo. They are now producing their jointz independently on their own Diamond Crook Records and have released a new album entitled Lets Do It Again (Another movie classic by the comedic duo Bill and Sidney) along with the a new single “Glow.” Diamond Cook is being distributed by Warner Bros.
Dynamite also says that he and Emerald are writing some potential movie scripts and that the theme they are working with right now is a concept of rich and poor. They have sustained themselves by touring over seas and their attachment to various labels always kept them readily available for work. The new album features the work of two producers Jacko and the more notable Ski. Ski is best known for his work on what is arguably Jay-Z’s best album ever, Reasonable Doubt.
With massive amounts of new contacts, a new label and a new distribution deal Chiba says, “What we do is just the music that we bring. You might not be able to identify it by years cause it’s always gonna be here. Yeah definitely, we just bringin’ it like we always do.” No doubt.