“Crunk-punk” comes to the Industry

BY BRI LaPELUSA | OCTOBER 08, 2009 7:20 AM

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Mahi-mahi, roast beef, and turkey.

What do all of these foods have in common besides high protein content? They all go well with Whole Wheat Bread.

The members of Whole Wheat Bread, a Florida-based “crunk-punk” band, noted the above foods as their favorite complements to the band’s moniker.

The band plays a unique mix of rap, hip-hop, and punk rock, and the sound has been referred to as “crunk rock” and “rap punk,” among others.

Whole Wheat Bread will bring this flavor to the Industry, 211 Iowa Ave., at 6 p.m. Saturday. MC Chris — famous for his work on Cartoon Network’s “Aqua Teen Hunger Force” — and Fight Dragons will also perform. Tickets are $12 in advance, $14 at the door.

Aaron Abraham, guitarist and lead singer of Whole Wheat Bread, says the band incorporates instrumental and melodic elements from both the rap and punk “sides” in its music. During live performances, though, Abraham said, the band relies more heavily upon hip-hop.

“The way that we treat the show as far as crowd participation — like throwing hands in the air — is not like at a rock show,” he said. “When you come, it seems more like a hip-hop show than a punk show.”

A first listen to the group hardly indicates this, but a deeper delve into the band’s lyrics and videos creates an expectation for such a performance.

“Basically, just because we’re black, I guess [people expect hip-hop],” Abraham said. “If you saw a band of Spanish guys, you would think they would speak Spanish at some point in the show or at least say, ‘Hola.’ We don’t dress like punk rockers — none of us have Mohawks or anything.”

Labels aside, Abraham insists that people from all walks of life, ranging from grandmothers to Insane Clown Posse fans, come together to have fun at Whole Wheat Bread concerts. Considering that the band has worked with artists including punk pioneers GBH and Suicidal Tendencies and big-name rappers like Lil’ Jon, its music has been exposed to a wider range of audiences than most genre-trapped musicians. Drummer Mr. Whitefolks said the experience of interacting and working with these artists has had an incredible effect on the group.

“A lot of these bands influenced us growing up,” he said. “We listened to them when we were kids, so to actually interact with those people every day is an amazing thing.”

Whole Wheat Bread’s new album, Hearts of Hoodlums, features songs including “Bombs Away,” which seem to convey left-wing partisanship, but Whitefolks insists that any strong political messages are misinterpreted.

“I think a lot of people read into it a lot more than it is. We’re not really a political band; we’re more about expressing how we feel about living life, and having a good time, and things that go along with that,” he said. “It’s more about people trying to hold you down and breaking away from that.”

The blend of punk and hip-hop elements are apparent in the bands lyrics. Hip-hop songs are often parodied or made into rock anthems, and punk songs are charged with lyrics such as those in “Throw Yo Sets Up.” Whole Wheat Bread’s music is difficult to define or stereotype, and Whitefolks feels the same about Iowa.

“To be honest, the last time we were there was a long time ago, and I don’t really remember anything about Iowa,” he said. “I’m not really the kind of person who stereotypes. I’ll give anything a chance and form an opinion about it for myself.”

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