A combination of old and new school, with a sound that combines pop, R&B and hip-hop, One Block Radius is comprised of three music veterans ready to make their mark on their major label debut for Mercury/Island Def Jam.
The trio, made up of Chico, CA native Marty James, Indiana-born DJ MDA and San Francisco’s MC Z-Man, counts among their influences hard-core prog-rap pioneers like The Pharcyde, De La Soul and Cypress Hill, ska-rockers Sublime and classic ’80s soul crooners Stevie Winwood, Hall and Oates and David Bowie, sythesized into a melting pot that effortlessly crosses genres. This is a group equally at home sampling the White Stripes (which they did for the song “Mama’s Heart”) as they are A Tribe Called Quest.
Watch One Block Radius on their offical Kyte page:
“YOU GOT ME”: Windows Media
“Every single style of music is represented in what we’re doing,” explains James, who founded the group five years ago with MDA, a DJ who worked as a graphic artist and designer at the Beastie Boys’ Grand Royal label, and Z-Man, an underground staple MC from the Bay Area, part of Del tha Funkee Homosapien’s legendary Hieroglyphics collective. “We didn’t set out to do that intentionally. It’s just something that happened naturally. Different drum beats send me in different directions. I’ll hear an old song and think what it was about it I liked, then try to make something with that same core energy.” The album’s first single, “You Got Me,” illustrates this eclectic approach, James’ breezy vocals delivering a hip-hop ballad that echoes such classics as L.L. Cool J’s “I Need Love.” “This is the perfect song for us as the first single,” says Marty. “It’s about trying to live up to your dreams, having these ambitious goals, but at the same time trying to keep your loved ones, your biggest supporters, those you’re closest to, at the forefront, knowing that you’re all in it together.”