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Das Beat: German freestylers team up with S.F. rappers Felonious

Wednesday, Jan 14 2004
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The members of local rap group Felonious have often used their creative endeavors as platforms for soulful communication, ably serving as ambassadors of hip hop culture. Whether bringing the art of vocal percussion to a whole new audience through the acclaimed theater piece Beatbox: A Raparetta or reaching out to young minds with the entertaining urban updates of classic children's poems found on its 2002 release Bust a Nursery Rhyme, Felonious has taken the road less traveled while breaking down boundaries of hip hop expression.

Now, a typically unusual catalyst has sparked the outfit's latest venture. Back in 2000, German director Jens Huckeriede was filming a documentary on the lives and legacy of pre-Nazi vaudeville musicians Ludwig and Leopold Wolf when he learned that Felonious' MC, Ph. D -- aka Dan Wolf -- was in fact Leopold's great-grandson. The filmmaker invited the San Francisco-based crew to Germany to record modern versions of the Wolf Brothers' popular songs with an equally talented freestyle hip hop collective from Hamburg known as the Trainingslager Bouncesystem . Beyond the cross-cultural experimentation on display in Huckeriede's doc, Return of the Tüdelband (which premiered this past week at the Castro as part of the Berlin & Beyond festival), the two groups have continued to work together and will give audiences a taste of their Bay Areabeat-box-meets-German freestyle stew at a pair of local shows. Expect a mix of boombastic impromptu collaborations as well as tunes from Felonious' most recent effort, The Produce Section, Vol. One.

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Dave Pehling

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