Going for Broke
B. R. O. K. E. Brothers Rising Over Kaotic Energy Depending on whom you ask, rap music has seemingly morphed into a genre that has lost it's way. That said, the brothers who comprise B.R.O.K.E. are happy to challenge the game while helping to restore rap's flawless veneer through their love of life and verse. The trio includes Brother Rhane, Big Rawn and Mistah Hassan-- men who say they aren't afraid to challenge the barriers that suggest every Black rapper can only gain respect as a 'thug' or a 'gangsta.' And, unlike most rappers of the day, they are fearless in the sense that they are not afraid to, as Big Rawn puts it, to 'wear our hearts on our sleeves.' GOING FOR BROKE., the album on their independent label Moor Rhythm Enterprises, is a thought-provoking debut as well as a testament to their dedication at changing the direction of rap music. Like their predecessors A Tribe Called Quest and Common, B.R.O.K.E. takes to task political consciousness, love and sex in today's world. Sonic, who is one half of the DJ team, The Wonder TwinZ says B.R.O.K.E. is going to be among the top competitors in hip-hop music. 'They are definitely a generation of hot MCs to blaze the mike,' he said. 'They have a great collection of production, good concepts and good flows.' Other positive recation to B.R.O.K.E.'s sound comes from music executive John Houston, (brother to Whitney) who has said their tracks are a 'nice cross between Hip-Hop and R&B.' The group describes their sound as positive, yet fun with a style that is quirky and intelligent but with an uncommon level of 'maturity.' Over the years, they have gleaned inspiration from rap pioneers such as Rakim, Nas and De La Soul. Musically, they incorporate all styles of genres including Rock, Classic R&B and Jazz. All are talented songwriters, who each add something special to the mix. Mistah Hassan is the musician of the group who also serves as their engineer, often wearing the hat of producer. Big Rawn occasionally sings the hooks on their tracks, lending an R&B element. Rhane on the other hand, is considered a 'hardcore MC at heart.' The acronym B.R.O.K.E. stands for 'Brothers Rising Over Kaotic Energy.' It was actually Mistah Hassan's lamentations over being 'broke' all the time that gave them the idea of naming the group B.R.O.K.E. -- only with a positive spin, especially since they were working with at an independent label that was trying to succeed within the 'chaotic energy' that is the music industry. The group was first launched out of Fort Greene, Brooklyn in 1998 under the name, 'BROKE AS.' But prior to a Black Expo performance in Manhattan, the announcer mistakenly introduced them as Broke 'Ass.' Needless to say, the guys dropped the 'As' to avoid any other negative connotations to their name. Tracks they originally released as Maxi-singles such as 'Tonight' have already appeared on mixtapes including Underground Academy Presents: D'Originators The Underground Makers Vol. 1(Next Music), All-City Vol. 1 (Bang the Drum Records),and most recently DJ Menace: Summer Blaze '04 and All Up In Ya Area! (Next Music). They have also appeared in Anti-Smoking Public Service Announcements for The University of Vermont as and worked on a promotion for basketball star Allen Iverson. For now B.R.O.K.E. is interested in reaching the masses with their brand of rap that is sure to be recorded in rap's history books. If they happen to become a household name while they're at it, they won't be mad. And for those who think today's rap is in need of repair, the trio's answer is simply this: If it ain't B.R.O.K.E. ...you'd better fix it!