I discovered The Black Opera (Magestik Legend & Jamall Bufford) a few years ago as they had some stuff out on Mello Music Group. I was instantly drawn to their sound and sharp lyrics. I got in touch with them and they were into the project, so much so that we ended up with 2 Black Opera tracks and a Jamall Bufford track. We also have some stuff with Magestik Legend for our second album.
Can you explain The Black Opera movement to our readers and how it all began? Also what can we expect when we come to a TBO live show?
ML - The Black Opera is comprised of well known artists who have chosen to hide their identities for the sake of making the following statement: Art is all that matters. The Black Opera’s creative collective has roots from Nigeria, Uganda, Madagascar, France and the United States. Thriving on anonymity for a selfless cause, we lose ourselves in a different character’s costume per song during live presentations.
Could you explain the lyrical content of your 3 tracks? Trees for the Jungle, Deep Breath & Soothsayers.
ML - On "Trees for the Jungle" we just put a spin on the phrase "can't see the forest for the trees", which means if you're too caught up on minor details you can see the big picture. For the actual verses we were inspired by Sabira Jade's piece, we were just talking about staying focused on your goals and working hard to obtain them.
JB - On "Deep Breath" I wanted to talk about all the crazy things going on in the world, and how it can weigh on you mentally. I tried to make a song people could use if they needed to take their mind off of whatever is causing stress in their lives.
ML - On "Soothsayers" was a little more about the mic skills, but of course we snuck in a little social commentary. We talked about what's going on in the world in and the rap game. Just trying to tell our truth, and hopefully that can influence the future in a positive way.
What was it about the beats that made you write that way?
JB - All of the beats have a slightly faster tempo than typical hip hop beats, and they obviously have the live instrumental vibe. Because of that I think it influenced us to talk about other things besides typical hip hop topics, such as focusing on and bragging about self. And even though we're not on a party vibe people can still dance to the music. We're definitely not above rapping about self or partying, but I don't think that's why people gravitate towards The Black Opera.
Do yo think there is space for more live bands in hip hop?
ML - Without a doubt. As long as Hip Hop bands keep it raw and soulful, there will always be room for them.
Have you got any other favourite tracks on the album?
JB - The Black Opera songs of course lol Everyone did an incredible job. We're just bias to our collective.
Has The Black Opera ever performed live with a band before?
ML - Yes, our first live demonstrations were with our band called "The Black Operation". When we performed at Deepak Chopra's Symposium, we had our live band.
What are TBO working on at the moment?
JB - We are currently working on a remix project for our "African America" release, a Magestik Legend album, my album and a few new artists we have in the dojo right now.
Can you recommend us an artist that we should work with in the future?
ML - Yes we can. Soul Galaxy Girl, who is featured on our song "Save Us" and T. Calmese, who is featured on our "80z Babiez To The 2Gz 2" experimix-tape.
Some of our favourite Black Opera tracks: