Foreign Legion's Marc Stretch and Prozack Turner may be hella broke hip-hoppers, but that's not going to stand in their way, as confirmed by their new album Night Moves and its accompanying film. In anticipation of the release this coming Tuesday (April 12th) of the Oakland duo's new album on Quality Control, Foreign Legion have been busy pre-promoting it. They've put out The Red Eye Flight Mixtape prequel CD and are doing a series of concert dates in various cities and states. Last month they were down in Austin, TX at SXSW and in the past week they've played in both Utah and Oregon. Tonight they are back home in the Bay Area, where they will be throwing what promises to be a hella fun pre-release party for the new album. The event, in their hometown at Disco Volante on 347 14th St., will by no means be your typical rap record release party, either. Instead, it'll be a true celebratory event: a concert, plus a film screening of the ever-witty duo's new movie.
Since they formed a dozen years ago, the two emcees, Prozack Turner & Marc Stretch, have built a quite a rep not just for their lyrical & musical skills but also for their wildly creative & refreshingly fun-fueled approach to hip-hop music -- an attitude typically lacking in a genre known for taking itself way too seriously. In concert the far from self-conscious Marc and Prozack often dress up in ridiculously funny costumes, making audiences smile and laugh along as well as get their hip-hop groove on. Recent on-stage antics have included a presidential themed moment with Prozack dressing as George Washington while Stretch became Lincoln. Another one was South Park themed, with Stretch dressed as Chef (singing "Chocolate Salty Balls") and Prozack as Kenny. Playing Kyle was their DJ (for that show), DJ Ammbush from the Oakland Faders. Dublin, Ireland's DJ Flip is their most regular DJ since original Foreign Legion member DJ Design departed the group some time back.
In short, Foreign Legion, who are constantly in good-humored mode and who can't hide their love & passion for hip-hop, are by no means your typical rap act. Tonight they'll not only perform tracks from the new album plus some classics such as "Full Time B-Boy" (a track that was on & inspired the title for the first Amoeba Music Compilation All That Glitters Isn't Platinum), but they will also present a premiere screening of the pair's new "movie" made to accompany the new album of the same name. Yesterday I asked Prozack Turner about this movie and how he would describe it. "The film is a comedy. We made it to have more content to share with our fans," he explained. "In the climate of today's deteriorating music business I believe one needs to use all the tools in your toolbox to get peoples' attention in this flooded market. I know that Stretch and I can do so much more than just rap so we wanted to share a bit of the chemistry we share on stage and bring it to the screen," he said of the 40 minute film that screens at 8pm sharp tonight.
Like the Night Moves film, the album the displays the pair's self deprecating humor and their take on the state of the music industry in 2011, exemplified by lines like, "I'm an emcee with two jobs and a ten speed," by Prozack on "The Ultimate." The album, which will be released digitally and on CD next Tuesday with a possible vinyl release in a couple of months, is thirteen fun hip-hop tracks like the previously released single "Travel Lite" and the faux NPR interview rap track "Fresh Air." The various album collaborators lending their skills include Rashaan Ahmad of Crown City Rockers, G Koop (Jake One, EA Ski), Grandpa J, Intr0Beatz, DJ Buzz (Waxolutionists), and the aforementioned DJ Flip.
Earlier this week the group released the Marc Stretch mixed The Red Eye Flight Mixtape as a kind of teaser for the Night Moves album. This free mix features some tracks from the forthcoming album plus unreleased tracks featuring Oh No, Mondo and Ray (Buckle Bros), as well some early career Foreign Legion tracks. Not surprisingly, it also has several funny skits in the mix. Having a sense of humor has helped the way under-appreciated (in terms of sales, radio airplay, and mainstream acceptance) hip-hop duo accept the fact that, despite their obvious musical skills, they will likely always be struggling financially.
"We are so good at things that you don't get paid for," laughed Marc Stretch. "You could be as dope as you want but nobody really cares. So you just got be okay with the fact that you will always be broke." Stretch noted how he has had countless "good corporate jobs that I quit" so as to be free to drop everything and go out on low-paying Foreign Legion tours. "I just love hip-hop," he said. "We don't have any plans of stopping what we do," added Prozack. "I am really happy just at making music. I'm not trying to make hits. I rarely have to make radio edits."
Foreign Legion's official hometown record release party for Night Moves happens tonight (April 8th) at 8pm at Disco Volante located at 347 14th St. in downtown Oakland. The Night Moves film screening starts at 8pm sharp. The concert begins at 10pm. $5 cover. 21+