Birmingham’s K.L.U.B. Monsta (Knowledge Learned Under Birmingham), is a hip hop group that arrived on the scene in 2005, bringing with them lyrics that reflect the struggle of the everyman. “Life itself is filled with so many interesting moments,” says K.L.U.B. “We choose to take those moments and put them in a lyrical format.”
The group is comprised of Kel Ricks, Air Talley, Joshua, and J. Dotta. “We are just a group of artist trying to formulate quality music over great production from a talented core of refreshing producers,” says Joshua.
After J. Dotta and Joshua joined the original lineup and began collaborating in 2009, the group dove headfirst into Birmingham’s evolving scene. “We feel like the community here is growing and on the verge of really getting an opportunity to make an impact within the industry,” says Joshua. “This city has remarkable graphics designers, videographers, journalist, DJ’s, producers, engineers, live bands, singers, dancers, and song writers. Booking agents, promoters, and club owners have gone out on a limb to give us a chance to perform.”
K.L.U.B. is grateful for the industry professionals that have opened doors, but realizes that the scene wouldn’t be the same without the music lovers that attend their shows. “Sometimes, it’s word of mouth from fans that would like to see us perform at a particular venue,” says Joshua. “It has very little to do with us more to do with the supporters that have helped us further these dreams.”
Currently, KLUB is independent with no label, but given the quality and fresh feel of their music, listeners will not be able to tell the difference. Their style is akin to groups that emerged out of the popularity of hip hop in the mid 80’s, telling stories rather than spewing off puns. However, K.L.U.B. retains a Bronx/Harlem feel to their melodies, blending the old with the new, much like Birmingham itself. The inspiring “Dreams of Motown” is an especially diverse track that marries the mellow, summery feel of The Temptations with their own rhythmic style, while “Get Up” is more modern and fast paced.
To capture that classic sound for “Dreams of Motown”, the group sampled Eddie Kendricks’ “Shoeshine Boy.” “We used that sample in knowing Eddie’s ties to the city and the aspirations he had to make it big within music at that time,” says Joshua. “There is no big Motown like back in those days, but we still have a dream to one day be successful within this music.”
That’s an ambition that permeates the group’s lyrical themes. “Playing to Our Strengths” encourages audiences to seize opportunities to improve life. The song is also loaded with cultural references, both historical and popular. They drop the names of Birmingham icons like Reverend Fred Shuttlesworth, and pop-culture throwbacks like G.I. Joe’s Cobra Commander as the song travels thematically to a conclusion. “Integrity is a must,” they sing.
In March, the group represented Birmingham at SXSW in Austin, Texas. They are now back in the Southeast, recording material for their latest project. “We create music about the things that shape our daily lives, from work experiences to disappointments within relationships,” says Joshua. “The feedback from “Separate But Sequel” has been overwhelming and really has put a standard of quality that we want to achieve with each and every project.”
K.L.U.B. has two albums posted on their Bandcamp page, Southern Theory and Separate But Sequel.
If you would like to book K.L.U.B. Monsta, email them at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Photo by Dez of 1987 Supply.