Bcap’s hip hop performances will get you groovin’
Published: Thursday, May 2, 2013
Updated: Thursday, May 2, 2013 22:05
Rapping, as a vocal style, has always been a mixed bag since the conception of hip-hop music. Let’s face it, we all have friends who got too drunk and have tried to freestyle because they’ve listened to too much Biggie in their formative years.
But Brian Capobianchi, also known as “bcap”, has continuously re-written the book on the ethics of hip-hop, taking the road less traveled by not only incorporating a vast eclecticism of genres in his beats, but also constructing his rhymes to stimulate philosophical ideas and postulate an alternative train of thought.
“At first, I had preconceived notions of what hip-hop was, stuff like Snoop Dogg and Dre,” Capobianchi said. “But then I started listening to stuff like Mos Def and Blackalicious and I saw that there was another way.”
Bcap, originally from Braintree, Mass., has made himself a house-hold name in the Seacoast music scene. He has frequently toured Hawaii, performed with popular bands like Washington D.C.’s See-I and hometown heroes The All Good Feel Good Collective, and has become a flagship performer for 101.5 WXGR Portsmouth.
But bcap’s musical beginnings don’t mirror his high-energy hip-hop performances. Growing up with artistic inclination, bcap started his musical career as a singer and trumpet player for his high school concert band.
“A lot of where I started was not rooted in hip-hop, and I don’t think that a lot of people know that,” Capobianchi said. “I grew up listening to The Beatles and Oasis. I always loved depressing Radiohead-style things.”
What provoked bcap to start performing live was his affection for the acoustic guitar. A stark contrast to his animated rapping, bcap’s musical beginnings were fixed in coffeehouse-style folk. In fact, it wasn’t until 2000 that bcap started rapping.
“But that doesn’t count the stupid rap that me and my sister made when we were 13,” Capobianchi said.
Since high school, bcap had been learning how to record his own music. He took music production classes and studied the behind-the-scenes techniques of studio technology.
Unlike the vast majority of modern rappers, bcap never really works with beats. Instead, the thrill of seeing him perform is fueled by the interchangeable featured band that can range anywhere from jazz to funk to afro-fusion.
“As soon as I got into hip-hop, I played with a couple bands that had a real hip-hop jazzy sound,” Capobianchi said. “And for me, coming from a live music background, I really needed that in my music.”
For bcap, one of the largest jumps in his musical pursuits was traveling to Hawaii to do a club circuit with Iyeoka Okoawo, a Boston native and soul-fusion musician. It was there that bcap discovered a sound that would be quintessential to his music: reggae.
“They got the largest reggae market, at least in the United States,” Capobianchi said. “I didn’t know anything about reggae when I went out there, but it had a good message and flowed nicely with hip-hop. There’s a lot of cool stuff out there.”
Bcap has since toured Hawaii three times and is planning a fourth club circuit in the near future.
But there’s another ocean in the way of his tour destination May of this year. For the first time, bcap will be touring in Europe, with Iyeoka Okoawo as the co-headliner. But the music will reach back to the multi-musician’s early roots.
“A label in South Shore, Mass. called PB&J records hit me and said, ‘I want to do something with you’,” Capobianchi said. “Now, we’re working on an EP that’s five or six tunes with folk acoustic style music. I’m really excited about that.”
The EP will be released this summer, Capobianchi adds.
And yet, the recorded music can only take your senses so far. The reality is that bcap’s performances are addictive. You can’t see him just once because every time he’s on the stage, you pick up on something different.
There are many aspects that draw people to see bcap, his lyrics that make your veins pulsate with power, the passion in his voice when he’s making himself heard over a live band, but it’s his stage presence that is most captivating of all. He grooves with the fluidity of the funky music that backs his rhymes, like a buoy bobbing in a bay, as his stoic stare that forces what he preaches into your skull and takes over like a virus leaving no audience member uninfected.
“I love the ability to travel with music,” Capobianchi said. “So wherever the opportunity is at, I’ll be sure to be there.”
Check out more of bcap on bandcamp and facebook.