Album Release Alert | The Strangers | 9/15



The Strangers are American emcee Lateef The Truthspeaker (Blackalicious/Latyrx/Quannum Projects), French emcee Leeroy (Saïan Supa Crew), and French keyboardist/producer/singer Hervé Salters (aka Genera Elektriks). A musical high-wire act blending Hip Hop with organic Funk, The Strangers present a bold mix of US and French rap fused with infectious hooks.

Lateef and Hervé first met when the Frenchman moved to the San Francisco Bay Area and started playing keyboards with Blackalicious. As part of the Blackalicious live band they played together all over the world, and went on to collaborate on various General Elektriks songs. Leeroy and Hervé met when the former asked the latter to play keys on his first solo album. Salters invited the two emcees to join GE on stage for a special festival show in Marseille in July 2022. Sparks seemed to fly from the microphones, it was clear that the three artists shared a common energy and that it should be put to tape. They came up with the concept behind the Strangers that same night and got to work.

Hailing from the year 2222, The Strangers are sending us a time capsule in reverse, a sonic testimony from the future. Their songs tell us that in 200 years, the Earth Federation political system will be based on the obligation for everyone to travel annually, starting from a very young age. As a result, fear of the unknown will have disappeared and so will the concept of war. But humans of the future will be forced to travel. Some will refuse to do so and fight for their right to stay home. Can securing a better world justify oppression?

The album plays as a futuristic road movie alternating between, on the one hand, bright uptempos clamoring for the call of the road (‘Movin’) or the quest for a better tomorrow (‘Chasin Sunshine’), and, on the other hand, darker downtempos probing the dystopia to come (‘2222 – Go That Way’) or the consequences of global warming (the submerged part of the city in ‘Lullaby of San Angeles’). Through Leeroy and Lateef’s razor-sharp rapping styles and Hervé’s soulful choruses, we learn that garbage is falling from the skies, dumped by the Trash Mothership as a result of a garbageman strike; that restaurants serve dishes that our 2023 tastebuds can’t even fathom; that the Federal Bureau of Travel is watching and that agents make sure that every child goes on their annual trip; that the info feeds down which people used to scroll on their smartphones now appear directly on their mental feed; etc…

Environment, personal freedom, police brutality… the 3 Strangers use the Future as a means to talk about the Present. But they also inject a healthy dose of humor and energy into their music, and if what they wrote is indeed a concept album, it should be filed somewhere between The Beatles’ ‘Sergeant Pepper’ and Quasimoto’s ‘The Unseen,’ two records whose basic premise gives birth to an unbridled playing field.

A mix of drum programming and live keyboard funk, the sound whipped up by Salters talks to the hips as much as the head. Scheduled to release their album this Fall, the Strangers will take this sound to the stage mixing hip hop aesthetics with live instrumental music. The line- up: Lateef and Leeroy on microphones, Hervé on Clavinet/Fender Rhodes/vocals, Aleqs Notal on turntables (DMC World DJ Champion), and Toma Milteau on drums/SPDX/Akaï MPC.