Bread Fam, playing at Sophie’s Thai Kitchen in Davis, California in 2012
Note (May 20, 2013): Bread Fam’s lead singer, formerly known as Random Abiladeze, experienced a Sgt. Pepper-esque philosophical metamorphosis in early 2013 and now goes by the name RASAR. This piece, below, written in October of last year, is presented now in order to help document the history of his music.
Music For Our Pluralistic Age
By Brian Riley
Written: October 11, 2012
Posted: May 20, 2013, 3:34 am Pacific Time
Bread Fam, a new hip hop group with lead singer Random Abiladeze played recently at Sophia’s Thai Kitchen in Davis. It’s a new group, formed officially just last year, that plays deeply alluring music. I had not even known about the concert beforehand, but couldn’t resist being drawn in while taking a stroll in downtown Davis.
“Do It Movin’” really caught my attention. It comes across as a kind of anthem for young people caught up in the vicissitudes of the current neoliberal political era, trying to keep our heads above water. As Random sings:
Movin’, I gotta do it movin’
I’m always improvin’
I gotta do it movin’
No time for snoozin’
I gotta do it movin’
Whether solo or rollin’ with a crew, man...
I been dispersin’ verses since the year after my 12th birthday
Heard hate from so many angles
It’s kinda like a kaleidoscope, the way we mangle...
“Do It Movin’” is a brilliant masterwork, in my opinion, on par with or exceeding the level of the Beatles’ “A Day in the Life,” a song which, along with “Tomorrow Never Knows,” is one of only two Beatles songs that vaguely anticipated hip hop music. Random’s music, in fact, shows no discernible direct influence from the Beatles, which for me probably accounts for that fresh feeling.
I’m at a loss trying to find a foothold from which to be able to pigeonhole some of Random’s songs and lyrics. There’s an integrated rhythmic-lyrical complexity in passages of Do It Movin’ that eludes description. Maybe it has something to do with the way we expect certain words to be normally accented, but hear Random accent different syllables on and off the beat — a kind of musico-lexical fusion that stretches our mind and leaves us wanting more.
“Ways 2 Flow” is another great work with a kind of a happy-sad sound that gives me goose bumps, with Random’s edgy-soulful voice, undergirded by a Sly and the Family Stone funk groove:
When I step into a venue that’s filled with anticipation
I’m lookin’ at lines of listeners all impatiently waitin’
Reminded why I do this for real
It’s the music you feel
When rockin’ crowds for years
And it’s beautiful still
To see my Blacks and my Whites and my Asians, Latinos
And my people of Middle Eastern persuasion...
Now where my island is at
From the front to the back
We all in this together because we love dat
Boom bap, smooth rap, old school or new jack
As long as the vibe is right, we like, “true dat”...
The name of the new group, “Bread Fam,” is a playful reference to the “bread family” of food. Each member of the band has his own bread-based nickname. Random is “Raisin Bread.” Matt Klee, on drums, is “Sour Dough.” Brian Rogers, on bass, is “Wheat Bread.” Sam Phelps, on keyboard, is “Rye Bread/Gawlic Bread,” and Cole Dutcher, on guitar, is “White Bread/Wonder Bread.”
“Grasping the right feel is the part I focus on the most,” Matt Klee/Sour Dough explained. “That’s the biggest challenge, maintaining the energy of the song within the ‘pocket’ for Random to do his thing and say what he says clearly.”
Brian Rogers/Wheat Bread took lessons from bassist Mike Kelly, who is blind, which perhaps explains some of the feel of an “aural soundscape” created by the band. He sang a rendition of “Billie Jean” that fired up the crowd. “Brian is the secret weapon vocalist,” Random explained.
Random has attended UC Davis, as a sociology major, and has played several times in Davis with a lot of the same musicians during the last two years. The concert at Sophia’s was the official Davis debut of Bread Fam. Random’s been deeply involved in the spoken word poetry scene, both as a regular during the SickSpits open mic sessions on campus at UC Davis and also at Bistro 33. He’s also played the Whole Earth Festival at UC Davis every year since 2008.
As music philosopher and cultural commentator Michael Eric Dyson would say, things have “come full circle,” and perceived racial-cultural boundaries have become blurred in many ways, so this makes for some exciting new possibilities and musical scenarios.
Brian Riley can be reached at email@example.com
CLICK HERE for the related set list.
Sam Phelps, keyboard, and Matt Klee, drums
Cole Dutcher, guitar, Random Abiladeze, singer (now Rasar Amani, 4/30/2016), and Brian Rogers, bass
bandcamp.com: Indubitably!, Skill Before Swagger, ...Lives!
cdbaby.com: Skill Before Swagger, Brutally Honest
iTunes: Skill Before Swagger, Brutally Honest
YouTube: Kitchen Raps, Never Give Up
Sly and the Family Stone - Dance to the Music
The Beatles - Tomorrow Never Knows
The Beatles - A Day in the Life