Party affiliates

By DAVID DAY  |  April 27, 2006

Juwan’s first public performance came on Kweisi Mfume’s talk show in Baltimore. Mfume, then the head of the NAACP, had Juwan on to represent the best of hip-hop at a time when the violence was at its peak. He’s since toned down his politics. “It just happened. I just became discouraged and really didn’t want to spend time to try and be a freedom fighter. There’s still concepts and lyrics that go a lot farther than just ass shaking.” And he was emphatic about having his lyrics included with the CD. “My favorite thing about buying an album is seeing the lyrics inside. I’ll buy a David Bowie album and read the lyrics so I can get a better understanding of what he’s trying to say.”

So in Yoyoyoyoyo’s booklet we get lines like “Slain tracks and left them hanging like a runaway slave/For young eyes to gaze/A permanent image to raise them/In my footsteps/Revolutionaries to hood rats” (from “Rick Rubin”). “What we are doing is interactive. It’s not like the people in the scene who inspired me. We never came off as, ‘Yo! I’m the cool guy! Follow me! You should know who I am.’ ”

Spank Rock live comprise Juwan as MC, xxxchange on laptop, and two DJs. “It’s not all about me,” Juwan insists, “even though I do perform my hardest and I do try and show off a little bit. I’d rather people be dancing and interacting with one another instead of watching me.”

A-Trak is on the same track. For the first leg of his tour, he’s also enlisted French party-rockers Cuizinier and DJ Orgasmic — particularly for the party-heavy scenes in Philly, Boston, DC, and New York City. “I want to build a journey and not just play one record for the sake of playing a record. Like a mixtape but doing it live.” In other words, don’t go to A-Trak or Spank Rock unless you’re willing to dance. As party tours become a regular feature at rock clubs, so too should crowds come ready to move. “I always say it ain’t about me,” says Juwan. “It’s about the music. I’m just up here to dance, and you better be doing the same when I turn around.”

A-Trak | Paradise Lounge, 969 Comm Ave, Boston | April 27 | 617.562.8814 | Spank Rock | Middle East upstairs, 472 Mass Ave, Cambridge | April 30 | 617.864.EAST

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