It’s all about dope. And not of the hallucinogenic kind, but the proverbial one. Bless the Mad is a group that recognizes what’s dope. They take the best from 90s hip hop, rehash it, add some soul and jazz, and there you have it: something new, something fresh. Something dope.
Hip hop, blues, jazz, soul, and funk: they all will always have a symbiotic bond with ancestry, authenticity and lineage. Without one, there will be no other. As if there is some spirit that wades through all of the different genres, securing that formative factors of the old will remain inherent to the new. This ensures that there is a lofty narrative that binds all the genres together, one that goes back to ancient African cultures, forever organically evolving into something from the future.
Bless the Mad is another descendant in this long lineage. They take the foundations that built hip hop – jazz, funk and soul – and reposition them on the forefront. Doing so, the Chicago-based band creates an immersive sound that fits right into the line of ancestors before them: J Dilla, Madlib, RZA, DJ Premier, A Tribe Called Quest, but also a longer time ago with Alice Coltrane, Pharoah Sanders and Sun Ra.
Looking at the cover of their self-titled debut album alone is as if you’re looking at history itself. It’s a photocollage in which we for example recognize the logo of Phil Cohran, trumpetist of early Chicago-era Sun Ra, and his band Artistic Heritage Ensemble. Bless The Mad is a visual and sonic two-lane trip down memory lane and into the future. You decide which road you wanna take.