The Band of the Hawk, the musical company known as DEF on the battlefield. Also known as the BOHUP Crew (BAND OF THE HAWK UNDERGROUND PYRAMID CREW), are described as a Southern Hip Hop Crew with East Coast lyrical influence and some West Coast swag. Out of Houston, Texas, the line-up includes Noah Archangel (the producer), King (Lyricist/Writer), Ashtonomics (Producer) and 3 (Lyricist/Writer). Each of them bringing their own unique styles, skills and joining forces to create their latest mixtape “#BOHUP” which also features some other upcoming talent.
The mixtape feels musical, like it was made by genuine music lovers. Not just hip-hop lovers, but music lovers, who happen to perform hip-hop. The group’s creations don’t pander to today’s trends, so they’re able to distinguish themselves from most of the music out right now. With the eager assistance of all involved, the record is often forward-thinking, despite its proudly old-school sensibilities and presentation.
The mixtape’s deep, free-falling mix of sounds and samples is what ties it to various eras and especially the golden 90s, it’s certainly noticeable in today’s comparatively rigid music landscape.
That said, “#BOHUP” is accessible enough for listeners who’ve never ever heard of BAND OF THE HAWK UNDERGROUND PYRAMID CREW to get stuck into. Honestly, listeners won’t need an extensive knowledge of the group’s back catalogue to understand and enjoy what they do.
From track one, “Meditation” (feat. Full Metal F Dot), the boys don’t come across as if they’re stuck in any antiquated era as they embark on transcending music’s sonic and generational gaps. Moving through standouts like “Animals”, My Ni@@a (feat. Noah Archangel), “No Disrespect”, “Burberry Trench (feat. Grynd Seazon)” and “Bruce Lee” (feat. Noah Archangel), one of the first things you notice is that the most enduring thing about the mixtape is how brilliantly and confidently each member and feature jumps in on each track. It’s done with the kind of chemistry that can only be crafted with experience and expertise.
The gang of emcees here sound like a real force, as if they’re all exactly on the same page. The laid-back “Take Your Fro” also spreads the head nodding vibe, and is supported by a dreamy, eased, horn and organ dominated instrumental.
Careening through a horde of topics and observations, BOHUP arrive at “Ruckus Hawk Minor” and “Pyramids” (feat. Grynd Seazon) which steal the spotlight with extended doses of combustible lyrics. As the emcees lay down their verses, they manage to slickly navigate the instrumentals’ fascinating mutations.
Anchored by delicious, melodic vocal work, “Wake Up” (Bonus) [feat. Jeremiah] is another highlight. The tune is laced with carefree and immaculate musical touches. “Redbone” (Bonus) closes the show down with a soulfully sung acoustic number that is as impressive as it is surprising to encounter on a rap album. The cut feels organic, unprocessed and smooth.
Considering the chemistry and goodness The Band of the Hawk have consistently and insistently delivered throughout this mixtape, it’s hard not to feel a flicker of gratitude for the mere existence of this recording.