TOK Brings Realness to Radio


By Chuck "Jigsaw" Creekmur, Staff Writer

T.O.K.jpgAs most hip-hop artists obsess over "bling-bling," a new wave of reggae/dancehall is ushering in a new era of social consciousness. TOK's new album, Unknown Language, evokes the emotion and grassroots politics of early hip hop records, such as "The Message" by Grand Master Flash & The Furious Five.

Flexx, a member of the Kingston, Jamaica-based group, told that while hip hop is still street, people have grown accustomed to the commercialism of hip-hop messages heard on radio and seen in video.

"Hip hop has been around for a minute and so has dance hall. Hip hop, to some extent in my personal view, has become not only about materialism but it’s kind of like the norm. It's commercial, it's not underground. People out there are seeing dance music as a new vibe, like a form of hip-hop, because you know that both genres pull from each other."

The popularity of "Footprints," a sorrowful tale on the album about lost love, exemplifies the American public’s newfound love of dancehall, Alex added. "It's a good feeling really and truly reggae music, umm, Caribbean music, has been underground for a long time now. It usually has a big boom, then it calms, then a big boom. Really and truly, it's a good feeling because it shows reggae music is just more then just a fad - its here to stay, and its gone through the test of time."