Checking Out: Formula 412
I got a request to check out a new band called Formula 412, and I aim to please so here goes.
They’re a group hailing from Pittsburgh, and they specialize in a brand of hip hop that is heavy on rock beats and instrumentation. Actually, they seem to be a part of a recent trend I’ve been noticing in hip hop over the past year or so – rappers seeking to be rockers. Which is the opposite trend that the music industry saw in the late 90s/early 00s when nu-metal ruled the airwaves. That genre was essentially made up in large part of rockers trying to incorporate some hip hop elements in their sound.
But now we’ve got Lil Wayne who made an atrocious rap-rock album last year. Kid Cudi has announced plans to make a strictly rock record. And it just seems like more and more hip hop is infused with guitar riffs instead of heavy bass beats nowadays. Which isn’t necessarily a bad thing. But it takes deft skill to seamlessly combine both genres.
Formula 412 seeks to do just that, and it doesn’t sound bad. It’s absolutely nothing revelatory, and the lyrics, which seem to be focused on socially conscious issues, tend to border on the overly obvious. I don’t want to slam the message, but there are better ways to deliver it than to assume your audience has the mental capacity of a middle-schooler (ex. “Citizens are addicted to oil / gas stations every corner, yo we royally spoiled.”) Shakespeare, this ain’t. Still, it’s better than the misogyny and ignorance that saturates a lot of other rap these days.
So let’s hear your take on it: Yea or nay?