The Cornel West Theory



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the Cornel West theory is a Washington D.C. based ensemble, proudly born from the hip-hop aesthetic, but not bound by limitations of any genre.  It’s an eclectiv amalgram of spoken word, lyricism, instruments, electronics and vocals, which draw from genres ranging from home-grown go-go to jazz to rock to hip-hop.  This “musical theory” is best understood as an artistic wavelength that hits you aesthetically, emotionally, and intellectually.

With the blessing of Dr. Cornel West, the Princeton University professor and renowned author, the Cornel West theory takes its name from his prolific writins and philosophies, which have shaped contemporary thought throughout the world.

Inspired by D.C.’s rich musical history and the struggles of poor people worldwide, the ensemble formed in 2004 in response to social oppression everywhere.  Winners of the 2008 Washington Area Music Association’s Wammie for Best Hip-Hop Duo or Group, the Cornel West theory released its debut album Second Rome in 2009.

They are here to deliver music that holds a mirror to the world, with a core focus on political, cultural, and spiritual commentary.  They combine the essence of hip-hop with the original purpose of its movement:  to speak truth to the masses.

the Cornel West theory presents a unique live music experience that entertains and informs listeners.  The ensemble’s style, sound, and show challenge audiences to confront some of the most important issues of our time.  At it’s core, their sound is driven by the hard, edgy funk from the bass kick and stinging snare shots of drummer Sam Lavine.  It’s purpose is defined in the poignant message and peculiar delivery of it’s lyricist Tim Hicks and Rashad Dobbins.  These elements congeal through the addition of a live electronic sound manipulation John Wesley Moon who employs samples, pads, clips, beat breaks and vocals lik a high-tech futuristic DJ.  The bass and keys add rich, soulful layers of harmonic and rhythmic texture, which is beautifully complemented by the thought-provoking voice of spoken word artists Katrina Lorraine Starr and Yvonne Gilmore.  Djembe and conga drums lend a dynamic and traditional accompaniment to the group.

The ultimat griot, Dr. Cornel West, has recorded and appeared live with the band, sharing his unifying philosophy and highlighting the talents of this extraordinary ensemble.

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