Rarely will you find a talent whose vision supersedes the boundaries of genre, until you have met King Britt. This Philadelphia native has found a way to escape the boundaries of a single category of music by expressing his creations through deep house, hip-hop, broken beat, nu-jazz, funk and afro-tech. He has been honing his DJ and production skills for the greater part of a decade. The result: a pioneer of all things soulful, rhythmically textured and melodically provocative.
King began his DJ tenure in 1992 when he became the wax poet for the Grammy award winning Digable Planets. Together with Ishmael "Butterfly" Butler, Doodlebug and Ladybug, this quartet changed the face of modern hip-hop by fusing skat style jazz with the ingenious lyrical witticisms of Butterfly's Kafka-inspired language. While touring the globe with Digable Planets, King continued to develop his love of the dance music culture by making numerous appearances in house music clubs all over the world. With his gifted knowledge of music past, present and future, he crafted timeless sets that remain legendary. These international escapades set the stage for his planetary DJ career. He continues to deliver performances as a house, hip-hop, funk and even 80's DJ, to adoring fans the world over.
1994 witnessed the birth of King's Sylk130 collective. This ensemble of top-notch Philadelphia musicians and performers, including Ursula Rucker, Alma Horton and Alison Crockette, collaborated to create a tribute to the funkafied Philly of the '70s and, in 1996, release the full length LP "When the Funk Hits the Fan (Ovum/Sony)." As a follow-up to this red-hot debut, "Re-Members Only (Six Degrees)" was released in 2001 to pay homage to the dance music of the 80's. This time, King consulted British chanteuse Alison Moyet of Yaz fame, ABC's Martin Frye and Grover Washington Jr. to craft what Gear magazine referred to as "an album that flows like a dope mix tape from a bygone era of Britt's own imagination." A third installment of this incomplete trilogy will be dedicated to the future, a finishing touch that is eagerly awaited.
As a return to his love for hip-hop, King released "Adventures in Lo-Fi," a full-length album of original tracks for the highly acclaimed BBE Records Beat Generation Series in March 2003 (BBE/Rapster Records). For this, he called in Ishmael "Butterfly" Butler, Quasimoto and Bahamadia to drop serious licks over space-aged beats. The album is based sonically and lyrically on the cult film by John Sayles, "Brother From Another Planet," the experience of a Black alien who departs slavery on his own planet only to arrive on Earth to find similar entrapments. The album achieved recognition in Mixer Magazine, Straight No Chaser and many other prestigious publications.
As a remix producer, King has flipped and funked everyone from Macy Gray and Tori Amos to Yoko Ono and Femi Kuti. He is included amongst Masters at Work and Joe Claussell on Verve Records (2000) "Remixed" compilation. This same year, his remix of breakthrough artist Josh One's "Contemplation (5.1 Entertainment)" was nominated for the Dancestar Remix of the Year award, alongside remixes by Danny Tenaglia and Basement Jaxx, placing him in the ranks of the top notch, most sought after remixers in the world. He has just completed remixes (2005) for the likes of Curtis Mayfiled, Ojays, Gamble and Huff, Dizzie Gilespie and Digable Planets, placing him in the elite category of legendary remixer.
As a curator of remixes, King and a team of his favorite producers reinvented the original work of the Philadelphia Experiment's Ahmir "?uestlove" Thompson, Uri Caine and Christian McBride (Ropeadope Records 2002.) With his unfaltering ability to discover the latest new talents and his appreciation for those who have paved the way, he also curated an LP of original material for Japanese label Handcut Records, with choice cuts from Jody Watley, Yesterday's New Quintet and Ivana Santilli.
As his "Scuba" moniker, King released "Hidden Treasures (Om Records)" in July 2002. This compilation of lushly layered underwater inspired house remixes features new versions of songs by 4hero, Fantastic Plastic Machine and Michelle Shaprow. He has also just been commissioned for remixes for Gamble and Huff, Curtis Mayfiled, Everything But the Girl, Chic and Edwin Star!!
Never one to hog the spotlight, he recently collaborated with Nigerian born producer Oba Funke to create "Cosmo Afrique (Karma Giraffe 2002)," an LP of original Afro-Tech productions that features the vocal stylings of Soul II Soul's Wumni, Zap Mama and Diva Blue and is an exploration of polyrhythmic beats, chants and tribal grooves. Oba Funke celebrated a massive premiere at the 2002 Winter Music Conference, where Radio One's Gilles Peterson named "Bush Workout" as one of the hottest debut tracks at the WMC.
When he's not busy in the studio or trotting the globe, King can be found at the office of FiveSixMedia, his Multi-Media, Studio and Marketing Corporation. Together with his team of Ronald Clark, George Lawrence, Dozia Blakey and Justin Paul, FiveSixMedia provides music production, video production and editing and market branding services. The team has helped with the marketing of Toyota's Scion and Motorola's Razor phone. The team has launched FIVESIXRECORDINGS. As a part of the Studio Distribution family, FiveSixRecordings has released forward thinking music that will defy the gravities of genre. October 2004 marked the release of the label's first cd sampler, "This is What Radio Should Sound Like."
The fall of 2005 brought three releases to King Britt fans. The long-awaited King Britt Presents Sister Gertrude Morgan project on Ropeadope Records is King's most innovative and historically prescient album to date. Sister Morgan was a painter, singer, and self-proclaimed "Bride of Christ" whose visually explosive folk art is celebrated on the museum circuit worldwide. Her only album, made in New Orleans in the 1960's, is one of black gospel music's secret relics. In the studio for over twelve months reinterpreting Morgan's album, King led a crew of stellar musicians to create one of 2005's most promising releases. The band has toured the world presenting Sister G's message and King's original funk and soul backbeat most recently playing at the Vegoose Festival in Las Vegas. Also this year, a brand new mixed compilation of late-night tracks for a new series on Swank Recordings hit stores and continues to sell well. Finally, a two-disk greatest hits package of King's remixes and original productions entitled This Is...King Britt is out now on V2 Records in the UK!
Whether it's hip-hop or house, Afro tech or funk, musicman or businessman, there are no limits to what King Britt will do next. Watch, listen and experience as he continues to craft the sound of music and pop culture in the 22nd century.