No, that's not "Yo" with an extra letter
tacked on at the end for symmetry. It's this week's
radio.wazee Spotlight, "Yoy" (pronounced
"why oh why"), and it's the new single off
New Jersey rap-rockers Borialis' Capitol Records debut
"What You Thought You Heard," due out in
stores October 7th.
Borialis is frontman/guitarist Rick Dahrouge, bassist
Eddie Acevedo, drummer Jay Kulikowski, guitarist Justin
Rubinstein, turntablist Doc-Nu and keyboardist Jimmy
Farkas. Formed by childhood friends Dahrouge and Acevedo,
Borialis quickly acquired a reputation in and around
Jersey as one of the most energetic, most promising
acts of the burgeoning rap-metal scene. But make no
mistake, Borialis isn't in the vein of fellow rock-hip
hop fusion acts like Limp Bizkit and Linkin Park;
instead of channeling adolescent angst, the members
of Borialis concern themselves with the big things:
social and political commentary, legitimacy, issues
of race and identity. Borialis uses the multicultural
bent of their music to deliver powerful (and catchy)
Dahrouge says it best: "At that time, gangsta
rap was coming in [and] all these kids were listening
to NWA," he recalls. "But I thought it was
tougher, these guys just flexing their brains, than
these thugs saying they were gonna shoot you. I don't
think that music was necessarily intended for me,
I sort of just intercepted it." And intercept
it he did. After spending several years performing
an infectious combo of reggae and rock, in 1998 Dahrouge
officially introduced his hip-hop beats and rhymes
into the band's repertoire of songs, forging a unique
and potent sound that's come to define Borialis.
Soon after Dahrouge made the move towards incorporating
hip-hop into the band's music, Borialis landed a spot
on the 2002 Vans Warped Tour. The Warped Tour exposure
was just what Borialis needed to leap on to this year's
Sprite Liquid Mix Tour, where they're billed with
performers like Jay-Z, N.E.R.D. and 311.
"When we played in front of a lot of new people,
we always got this amazing reaction," says Dahrouge.
"There were kids there to see Jay-Z and others
to see Hoobastank and 311. And that was perfect for
us." Despite their rising fortunes, Borialis
doesn't have any intention of "selling out"
and turning into another chip off the rap-metal-hardcore
"No doubt/I'd rather sacrifice a few record sales
than be a fraud," Dahrouge sings in "Yoy,"
an impassioned assault on the thug lifestyle promoted
by gangsta hip-hop culture, and it's to the band's
deep credit that they're more concerned with musical
integrity than with moving albums.
But with Dahrouge laying down his impressive rhymes
over the band's trademark hard-edged hip-hop beats
and muscular guitar riffs, Borialis probably doesn't
have to worry about sacrificing any record sales any
time soon. Borialis may be seen this summer on the
Sprite Liquid Mix Tour, which started August 2nd and
concludes September 14th in Boston, Massachusetts.
For more information, see the band's website at www.borialis.com.