Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Hip Hop Shop On Blast! Feature: Nine Leaves

Nine Leaves’ latest video “Yesterday” debuted at #4 on Billboard’s New Rock Videos, and is currently airing on networks around the world including MTV, Fuse, Music Choice and the VOA Network. Multitalented producer and composer Zack Hemsey has been making adventurous recordings for years – but only recently was his Nine Leaves collective thrust into the national limelight.

The Northern New Jersey act provided a propulsive new look at a Reebok spot featuring Allen Iverson, which turned into a cult favorite among their fans. The Iverson clip quickly became a popular download on YouTube, and viewers began to ask: where can we get this artist’s music? As it turned out, the executives at the NBA were also watching – and they licensed Nine Leaves’ music for use on their highlight shows. And if that’s all you knew about Nine Leaves, you’d probably assume that they were a straightforward mainstream rap act. Well, we’re here to tell you otherwise. That there are plenty of possible commercial applications for Zack Hemsey’s hypnotic soundscapes is indisputable – the Iverson spot proves that to be true. But Hemsey’s heart is in the music, and the emcees who give voice to his compositions are, to a man, thoughtful, impassioned, and poetic.

The rhymes on Peace In Death, the latest Nine Leaves album, have the cadences, depth, and resonance of the best spoken-word. They’re also conceptually linked, and often politically provocative. Peace In Death is a set about the end of an era – songs about finding the strength and balance to survive and move through a deteriorating world. Mortality haunts the album’s verses, but there’s the promise of rebirth, too. Then there’s the music: moody, seething, intoxicating, harmonically and rhythmically sophisticated, and surprisingly multifaceted.

“Yesterday”, the album's kickoff, shows the collective in top form, as each emcee tells a compelling story of perseverance in the face of personal loss. The inviting video gives a glimpse into the lives of each vocalist: we follow them on a typical morning, rapping as they greet each other, their girlfriends, and the day. As befits an act as cinematic as Nine Leaves,the “Yesterday” clip feels like a mini-movie – or perhaps three interlocking mini-movies. Like the song itself,
the footage feels honest, soulful, and confessional, and it welcomes viewers into the collective with open arms.

One thing is for certain: this album delivers in the full sense of the word. It’s a craft of art in a time where works of such caliber have been sorely missing from the world’s main-stage.

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Additional Info:

Nine Leaves was Put On Blast! by www.liveoffbeats.com