Dynamax Roberts

Freewheeling through time and space, Kris Needs continues his adventures in sound. This month: Dynamax Roberts

Long-time readers of this column may recall my love of 20th century, electronically bolstered hip hop and four-decade friendship with NYC super-rapper Dynamax Roberts. Owing to his memorable stint with Alex Paterson’s ambient hip hop spinoff High Frequency Bandwidth in 2009, Dynamax was one of the stars of Alex’s biography, ‘Babble On An’ Ting’, which I co-wrote.

Next month sees the fourth volume of The Jeffrey Lee Pierce Sessions Project series I’m involved with finally released. Obviously it’s beyond this organ’s orbit, but the monstrous track I concocted with Welsh space rockers Sendelica features vocals by Secret Knowledge’s Wonder, colossal electro beats and mix by NY studio legend Jay Burnett (of ‘Planet Rock’ and Beastie Boys fame)… and rap by Dynamax! Not only that, D has just finished his first solo album, ‘Love Power & Sound’.

Growing up in the South Bronx, Dynamax was inspired by the hip hop revolution happening around him. He was welcomed by Afrika Bambaataa into his Universal Zulu Nation, aimed at uniting warring gangs with its philosophy of peace, unity and having fun. He was also connected with Ice-T’s Rhyme Syndicate and hung with the Cold Crush Brothers.

Relocating to France as the Zulu Nation’s European ambassador, Dynamax hooked up with Dee Nasty to form electro-punk crossover Le Damn Dog, before coming to the UK. He blew Alex and HFB co-conspirator Dom Beken away with his superlative cool-but-deadly freestyling when I brought him to the studio to feature on 2009’s ‘Hell Fire And Brimstone’ album and birth the Years Of The Canine project with Dom (who now plays in Nick Mason’s Saucerful of Secrets).

Now happily settled in Nebraska with his wife Carrie, Dynamax has deployed advanced technology and a lot of dedication to create his most personal statement to date.

Layering dreamy textures, rock and soul flourishes and echoes of hip hop’s six-decade legacy over tough beats, his rhyming and vocals are joined by an array of guests including Wu-Tang Clan’s Cappadonna on ‘The Resurrected Angel 7’ and Young Dirty Bastard on ‘Lit’, Faithless singer LSK and Stix Bones on the 1980s-Giorgio-Moroder-recalling ‘Welcome To Insanity’, and Atlanta rapper Bone Crusher on ‘Family’. Gorgeous quiet storm flavours garnish ‘Heaven Sent’, which he has dedicated to Carrie and features HellzFlame and LaGhe. All he needs now is a record company to give his labour-of-love electronic masterpiece the multi-format release it deserves.

As Nina and I prepare to launch our regular podcasts, we’re looking forward to welcoming the mighty Dynamax to paradise – Dorset-style.

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