BLKHRTS are a force of nature. Their live show is like a hurricane slamming into a shoreline at a thousand miles an hour or an avalanche triggered by barbaric yawp. King Foe, one third of the Velociraptor-voiced Denver rap trio, describes them as the “breath that you take the moment after the bungee cord is extended to its fullest extent jumping into the Grand Canyon.” Yorrissey, the group’s producer, summarizes them as “M.O.P.” meets Morrissey.” There is a light that will always get punched out.
“There’s a grand and emotive romanticism and fatalism to our sound, but we layer it over hard beats,” says Yorrissey. “It’s that dichotomy of being the most hard and soft thing in the room.”
A nationally recognized, critically hailed rap crew had never emerged from Denver until BLKHRTS (Yorrissey, King F.O.E., Karma) burst onto the scene in 2011. The local alt-weekly, Westword, named them “Best New Band” and raved about their “unique and progressive” rock-rap hybrid…with “an unbridled energy as ferocious as Onyx, as primal as Body Count and as frenzied and unhinged as Bad Brains.”
Pitchfork named their debut BLK S BTFL one of the year’s best over-looked mixtapes. The review celebrated the group’s eclectic sample choices (Joy Division, Eraserhead, Gravediggaz) and described their sound as riding a roller coaster in the dark: violent, dramatic, and with many unexpected turns.”
In advance of the group’s performance at LA beat scene hub, Low End Theory, The LA Times said “BLKHRTS’ words and beats hit like shrapnel…their voices sound as if they’ve been slit with scythes…. It is rap as hard-core punk music that never forgets it\'s hip-hop.” They also noted the group’s diverse lyrical terrain: sex, drugs, money and death, nightmares, demons and hearts pumping like the fury of angry slaves. Subsequent solo projects, Yorrissey’s SEXTAPE and King Foe’s J.U.N.K.I.E. elicited similar praise.
The revolutionary and futuristic fusion of sounds and sub-genres attracted the attention of Jeff Bowers, the head of ORG Music, an independent label distributed through Warner Bros. Eager to sign the group; he paired them with Dave Sitek, the revered producer and co-founder of TV on the Radio. An instant convert to the band’s aesthetic, Sitek immediately agreed to co-executive produce BLKHRTS formal full-length debut, JZBL JNKNS, slated for release this fall.
But before it drops, BLKHRTS are currently prepping the Love is Thicker Than Blood EP due in the spring or early summer and mixed by Steve McDonald of OFF!/Red Kross.
“We’re really confident in our grasp of rock music and the way to interpolate that with hip-hop,” Yorrissey says. “We’re not making rap-rock. We’re making hard-core rap music that uses textures and the loud/soft dynamic and the textual element of rock and guitars. We’re the best guitar players in rap.”