The First of the Rock Hop Era – Augustus Caesar

17 Jan


Augustus Caesar’s name suits him well. As the progenitor Augustus was the first Roman Emperor, today’s version of Augustus Caesar uses an electric guitar to reshape collaborative sound. Caesar has molded a modern form of metal and hip/hop that is a refreshing reboot of rap/rock, which hit it mainstream in the 90s.

One of the main triggers for this eclectic combination was Run D.M.C.’s collaboration with Aerosmith. The two groups reworked Aerosmith’s “Walk This Way” into a rock/rap hit. That was in 1986. This genre splice expanded to bands like the Beastie Boys (a hardcore punk band turned hip/hop experimental act) and Rage Against the Machine. As popular as the genre became in the mid-to-late 90s, when it hit the corruptible grasp of the mainstream it was compacted and commercialized and it quickly fizzled out (there are still Alt/Metal and NuMetal bands, it’s just not nearly as popular).

Now, more than a decade after the rap/rock bubble burst, Augustus Caesar has restored the collaboration into a more modern hip/hop version of rap/rock. Let’s take a listen to how it sounds.

The more modern elements are immediately heard with the effects. The song itself is drenched in heavy sound. It’s like a rainstorm of percussion-driven production where the thunder is a sick guitar riff. Yes, sick. The riff is an ode to tap-guitarists like Eddie Van Halen, and it’s sick. Augustus’ rap is also refreshing. I find that many rappers are vocally confusing, but Augustus enunciates well.

“Hope” is ostensibly lighter, but in some ways this piece hits harder. The hip/hop beat is set over a whining guitar riff that cries elegantly. The chorus follows the riff, an audible echo over the riff that is directed by the lyric. The piano riff calls out Brit/Pop, which makes the song more multi-layered. It is fun to peel back this onion and experience the song’s intricacies.

Learn more about Augustus Caesar! Visit his website, Facebook, and Twitter.

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