Animal Farm debuts The Unknown
By Sara Brickner
For KRS-One to make an appearance on any young hip hop crew’s album is an honor. But when that album happens to be the first, mostly self-produced album from a crew that’s only been performing collectively for two years, the compliment’s importance swells. Sure, Eugene hip hop fans already know how great Animal Farm is — the group took “Best Local Hip Hop Act” in EW’s 2006 and 2007 Best of Eugene readers’ polls and has gotten lots of airplay on 94.9 Jamz — but to have KRS-One make a guest appearance on their debut album, The Unknown, is not only a testament to the group’s unique style but, Animal Farm emcee DJ Gen.Erik says, “a once in a lifetime opportunity.” Well, sort of. Even though they’ve only been around for a short time, Animal Farm’s already opened for The Teacha twice, along with scores of other big names in conscious underground hip hop. And with Animal Farm’s irresistibly danceable beats, charming stage presence and cunning wordplay, it’s no wonder that they’ve managed to wriggle into the hearts of Northwest hip hop fans so quickly.
What does seem sort of surprising is that the members of Animal Farm have been performing in several equally deserving yet significantly less publicized incarnations since well before Animal Farm came into being — and those other projects are still alive and well. In fact, Animal Farm formed when members of local duos Money Shot (Kenny Wilson and DJ Gen.Erik) and Soundproof (Hanif Wondir, Fury and DJ Gen.Erik) fused their talents. “When we all got together, the chemistry was something you hope for, but you can’t prepare for,” DJ Gen.Erik says. And for DJ Gen.Erik, who’s been making hip hop music for more than 10 years, the instantaneous accolades Animal Farm received from Eugene and Portland audiences were unlike anything he’d ever experienced in any other crew. “It’s been pretty special for me, because I haven’t had that quick a response on anything I’ve done before,” he says. “It lets me know that I’m going in the right direction.”
Animal Farm CD Release with guests Marv Ellis, DJ Wicked, Serge Severe, Endr One, James B. 9 pm Saturday, May 31. WOW Hall • $7 adv., $8 door