Its already been said that KMD’s Mr Hood was the album De La Soul talked when they were busy laying the D.A.I.S.Y. age to rest – this is the album De La Soul Is Dead SHOULD have been. Fast funny and razor sharp Mr Hood takes a warped walk through America’s urban landscape with Sesame Street’s Ernie and Bert and the idiot Mr Hood for company.
“We got Mr Hood from a language record, a Spanish and English thing,” Zev Luv reveals. “The dude would say a phrase in English and then repeat it in Spanish, and when I listened to it, he was saying some things in English that were really bugged out, y’know, like; ‘I would like to buy some gold rings’ – when I imagined that in my mind, I saw a hood buying gold rings. There’s another one where he says ‘Your shirt is dirty’ – I figured someone’s fronting on his shirt.
That’s how we got Mr Hood.
The title character is more than the albums running joke though, for behind the comedy, KMD dispenses some serious messages. Brothers Zev Luv X (first heard on the 3rd bass single ‘The gasface’) and DJ Subroc met Onyx the Birthstone Kid through their mutual religion Islam, and the sermons are never far beneath the skits.
“We based the album on the Sesame Street concept,” confirms Zev, “incorporating loads of puppets and learning, which will get the kids into it. So we incorporated that humour with education, with confrontation, with touchy subjects that people DON’T want to hear about.”
“We speak of serious issues in a way that you won’t get offended – black and white issues – cos living in an African-American neighbourhood, we became victims of society in different ways that people outside just can’t see,” Onyx continues, “We wanted to bring that to the attention of everybody, but in a humorous way so you won’t be offended – so you WON’T go out and cause anydamage.”
This last concern is central to the KMD concept – as well as signifying that the group are another rap crew Kausin’ Much Damage, the name also dubs the band as a positive Kause in a Much Damaged society. A paradox?
“Its really a positive thing that sounds negative.” Zev clarifies. “Negative things are what get the attention, but THEN we can let people know what’s going on and talk about the RIGHT things.”
For KMD the ‘right things’ are breaking down racial stereotypes and mentally uplifting the black youth of America. The most impressive thing about Mr Hood is the way none of the messages ever swamp the music, as the trio slide through styles from jazz to soul to funk to blues, mixing up a cocktail that can only be described as KMD.
Mr Hood is packed with choice tunes, but one of the stand out cuts is ‘Hard wit no hoe’ which Zev is eager to explain.
“Hard wit no hoe’ is a tricky jam. The whole story is about three different farmers and just one hoe, one tool. One farmer has this hoe and is tilling the ground, but he leaves it out on the ground one time and when he comes out next morning its not there – simply because he neglected that hoe.”
“In real life terms, its about inter-racial relationships. Most of the teenage black guys, when they see a black girl with a white guy, they get hostile and flip on both of them. But the problem came up when he neglected his sister – in the way that she’ll look at black males and say, ‘you dropped out of school, you’ve tried drugs, you’re not doing anything for yourself’ and there’s NOTHING positive in that. It’s in a woman’s nature to go towards a provider and if she sees someone outside her own race doing that then she’ll go for that. You shouldn’t be angry, you should learn from that example as far as taking up our role as men.”
KMDs strict doctrine is evident in their views on race too. In a recent edition of US magazine ‘The Source’ KMD’s Zev openly referred to the white race as devils and the black man as god. Onyx plays it down by saying “You’re looking at slavery, how the bomb was dropped on Hiroshima, how animals are being made extinct, how they’re building cars that go 200mph when the speed limit is 55mph, killing off the Indians…People begin to see these people as very evil beings so they refer to them as the devil, but no-one ever really sees a little red guy with a pitchfork!!”
Ahh, what the hell! For the moment KMD are Heaven sent.