Earthworms, 'Midnight At The Capricorn'
Earthworms, 'Midnight At The Capricorn'
Special to Metromix
One of my biggest music pet peeves is when people use the terms “hip-hop” and “rap” interchangeably as if they’re the same thing. There is a HUGE difference between the two styles. Rap glamorizes violence, objectifying females, drugs, gangs…basically anything that the rest of the civilized world looks down upon. The “music” is characterized by electronic beats usually conjured up on a computer or keyboard or it is completely ripped off from a song that someone else has already written thus displaying the rapper's complete lack of any kind of talent. The genre is about the image, not about creating art. Hip-hop is quite different. The music most of the time is driven by a turntablist and a lot of the songs are influenced by live band elements (i.e. horns, guitars, drum beats, even though there may be some effects on them, will still sound like an actual drum kit). The lyrics deal with a lot of the same ideas that rock musicians touch on: Life, fun, love, etc. These are just some of the elements that make Earthworms so appealing.
St. Louis based hip-hop quartet Earthworms banded together in 2005 and has remained a strong presence in STL ever since. Each member has put in years of time on the local scene throughout the years with bands like Core Project, Essence Of Logic, Jive Turkey and Lojic. On December 26 Earthworms will release their third studio effort entitled Midnight At The Capricorn. The album continues in the footsteps of its predecessors Bottle Full Of Bourbon (2008) and No Arms No Legs Just A Head And A Body (2006). …Capricorn is chock full of well thought out rhymes, head bobbing beats and tons of old school hip-hop and funk flavor. Throw in some guest appearances from some local, regional and national artists and you have an album that is guaranteed to get you moving.
Earthworms have certainly shown that they have solidified their groove and niche in the music world. Each MC has his own unique voice that contributes to each song yet when the three combine they have something that is still all their own. DJ-MAHF's scratches and cuts have never sounded as polished and crisp as they do on Capricorn. He has definitely taken his style to the next level incorporating effects and layering into his cuts. The record flows seemlessly from one song to another and while they do include some rock and jazz stylings into the music, it is mostly dominated by an old school funk and R&B influence in the vein of artists like Stevie Wonder and Marvin Gaye. This is probably best exemplified by the tune, "City Noise" which features Nick Savage and is probably the coolest track on the album and I dare say one of the best tracks to come from a St. Louis group this year. Other highlights include "Fire On The Floor", "Try2Find" which features Jonathan Toth From Hoth, a local hip-hop artist who has been pretty quiet on the scene lately otherwise, and "Johnny Got Buck", an old Core Project recording that has been revamped and given a different feel while still retaining some of the original vocal and instrument tracks.
The one thing that surprised me about Midnight At The Capricorn was that there are no tracks on the album featuring their full live band, Fresh Heir. For the past year and a half or so, local group Fresh Heir has served as Earthworms' backing band for select live concerts. Earthworms sound great as a quartet but I thought they really exploded and added a whole new element with the full band behind them. I expected there to be at least one song on the record featuring Fresh Heir.
The production quality on the record is top notch. With Jonathan Toth From Hoth handling the engineering and production by DJ Crucial and Ben Bounce, this record could not sound more pristine. MAHF's cuts are clear and slice through the mix while the beats behind him power the tracks. The vocals from MCs Mathias, Black Patrick and Kama are in your face without being over the top or too loud in the mix.
Midnight At The Capricorn further proves that Earthworms is a force to be reckoned with on the hip-hop scene. Their laid back attitude mixed with their love for life and everything it has to offer is something different for the music scene in general. Earthworms blends old school hip-hop styles with elements of a live rock band and classic R&B and funk grooves. Midnight At The Capricorn will make your head nod and your feet bounce whether you like it or not.