Finding one another through music, Junkyard Samurai have connected to make their own unique brand of hip-hop. They take their origin story to the M-Shop Thursday night.
Coming up through the Chicago hip-hop scene, Junkyard Samurai is comprised of rapper ProbCause and duo Palmer Squares. Before they formed, the members of Palmer Squares watched ProbCause open at hip-hop shows in the area. The Chicago scene helped build each member's creative repertoire. ProbCause has featured Chance The Rapper and both ProbCause and Palmer Squares have collaborated with Saba. Through collaborations with each other, however, they found a creative synergy that expands outside the boundaries of hip-hop.
“We wanted to make sure we stepped outside of our strong box,” said Acumental of Palmer Squares. “Expanding our sounds, our boundaries, just as musicians, not just hip-hop or as rappers. Let's make it different.”
Junkyard Samurai incorporates pop, R&B, glitch, industrial and boom-bap production behind their lyrical-based hip-hop. ProbCause’s involvement in the EDM scene has made for interesting musical crossovers.
“I love rapping over those beats because they’re like hip-hop beats on steroids,” ProbCause said.
Junkyard Samurai’s first track, made under their official name, “Paralyzed,” churned out pop and danceable vibes, while Palmer squares has historically been in the pocket of grimy and lyrical. But the track created a balance for the remainder of their self titled debut.
“The main initiative is to make sure we’re saying things that hopefully haven’t been said before,” Acumental said. “For this we still have that approach, that’s our foundation, but I liked when we were making Junkyard it started with a pop song.”
Not wanting to be linear, the production turned to grimy, lyrically chill head-nodders and story driven narratives.
While Junkyard Samurai has found their creative pocket, their on-stage presence is in its infancy. The group has yet to play 10 shows together, but watching a rising hip-hop band form an artistic relationship on stage is part of the experience along with their music.
“You’re getting an interesting perspective of we’re having fun and figuring it out; it’s very loose” said Terminal Knowledge of Palmer Squares. “You get a little more energy and stage presence at either of our solo shows because it’s three times what you would usually get.”
While the members of Palmer Squares have known each other since elementary school and have an established chemistry, ProbCause is finding his way into being the best possible third piece of the band as a solo artist.
Palmer Squares began as a parody of prevailing hip-hop trends, poking fun at autotune and lazy lyricism. Silliness is still part of the Palmer Squares brand.
“Poking fun at popular stuff is one of my favorite things to do,” Acumental said. “At the same time I’m hoping to get up on a bigger level and be a prevailing trend and let people poke fun at me.”
While coming on in the rap scene, Palmer Squares found a little trouble fitting in due to their sense of humor in their approach to rap. Getting over their nervousness by opening for other Chicago rappers' audiences helped grow their talents, however.
Being unnoticed by anyone in the music industry, they owe everything to their listeners in giving them a sustainable music career.
“Not many artists are really discovered by music industry representatives anymore,” Terminal Knowledge said. “You just have to put yourself out there and be discovered by the public. Social media and the internet have kind of cut out the middle man.”
The internet era creates a creative outlet for different brands of hip-hop.
“I think there’s cool trends going on like the bedroom producer style,” ProbCause said. “Not everything has to be so precious. You can record some shit, make it in the same day, drop it and it can still be really dope.”
Doors will open at 7:30 p.m. Thursday and the performance will begin at 8 p.m. Tickets purchased in advance are $12 ($10 with an ISU Student ID) and can be purchased on www.midwestix.com. There will be a $2 increase in ticket prices on the day of the show and online purchases are automatically charged a three percent service fee. Tickets are also available in person or by phone 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. weekdays at the Maintenance Shop Box Office, located in the Memorial Union.