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Borialis
August 2003


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) messages.

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 block.

"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.



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