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Originating in the socially sterile environment of the front range of Colorado, Wandering Monks is a musical entity consisting of rapper/producer McAD and his emcee partner Linguistory. The duo, who came together in 2009, has worked tirelessly to create a unique brand of conscious underground hip-hop that blends multiple genres yet maintains a distinct sound.
Wandering Monks is the fusion of the creative juices of two very different minds that developed separately but established a contrast that works. McAD, a Midwest native, is the leader and founder of the long-standing Freedom Movement, a Boulder-based hip-hop group that has been soulfully addressing social and political issues for over a decade. Linguistory is a Colorado native whose lyrical style and complex rhyme patterns are steeped as much in literature as in popular music. The two ironically met via a musician wanted ad on backpage.com and it’s been on ever since.
Though the guys are over 10 years apart in age (McAD is 37 and Linguistory is 26), they influence each other musically. "Working with McAD has evened me out as an artist in a sense. I think that without this partnership my lyrics would be more abstract and personalized towards my own thoughts and perceptions but perhaps less presentable to the common listener,” says Linguistory. McAD feels as strongly about his growth thanks to his partner. “I feel that Linguistory's age and unique specific make-up has influenced me significantly, pushing me to be more youthful in nature, challenging me to put myself in others' shoes who is not necessarily coming from my own personal stand point or seeing things from my own culturally biased position,” says McAD. The creative vibe the duo has developed over time has pushed them to make the best music of their careers.
Being based in a state with tons of artists participating in hip-hop culture but no discernible unified scene or style has benefited Wandering Monks as they are able to focus on their music without falling into sounding like anyone else. That is very apparent in their self-titled debut album, where the duo successfully merged their personal lives with their sociopolitical ideologies, demonstrating that activism and moderate self-indulgence can peacefully coexist with the right equilibrium. The album boasts a wealth of rhymes and melodies that touch on topics such as police misconduct, fractional reserve banking, genetically modified foods and globalization. McAD and Linguistory also shine the light on themselves by sharing personal experiences involving family, friendship and spiritual balance. Musically, McAD's production (who produced all but four of the 18 songs on the debut) runs the gamut from straight-forward hip-hop to reggae to funk/soul to even some Latin influences. While most current hip-hop releases sound more like soundtracks than albums with all the guest appearances, Wandering Monks kept it to a minimum with only two guests (Black Rhino and Alais Clay).
To celebrate the completion of their first official album, the Wandering Monks played legendary Fox Theatre in Boulder, Colorado. With an incredible line up of Colorado's finest, the Monks stayed committed to their vision of localization and sustainability, encouraged the community to do the same by supporting these amazing artists.
Drawing inspiration from a long tradition of protest music, including Bob Marley, Public Enemy, Rage Against The Machine, Dead Prez, System Of A Down and Immortal Technique, Wandering Monks may not be the most commercially viable group but in the day and age of internet and expanding sub-genres that matters not. “The mainstream is a minor distraction but it doesn't prevent us from doing what we want to do,” says Linguistory. “Hip- hop is infinite!”
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