Words by Sean Moeller, Illustration by Johnnie Cluney, Recording engineered by Shawn Biggs at Studio Paradiso, San Francisco, Calif.
The Jealous Guys make you feel like you're doing something right when you're awake, but still in a semi-state of unconsciousness. It's as if the hip-hop duo from San Francisco celebrates that point of doggedness and one where the eyes are still endorsed by lightning. They're that glorious, albeit exhausting middle ground between the yawn and the second wind, where they're eeking out every shred of energy from their bodies before they just keel right over and can't do anything but help themselves to a few hours of sleep. Rest comes to them only when they need it, when they just cannot operate without it, when everything has died down just enough so that they can justify turning themselves off for a few hours.
Ayinde and BizYCasa have known each other almost their entire lives, attending the same day care when they were pre-elementary school-aged toddlers and sticking together as friends throughout. They say that they're motivated by two words - Life Insomniac - which they define as "someone who doesn't sleep on life or the opportunities thrown their way." The music that they make together seems to back up these statements, with the words and beats flowing from them with an urgency and creativity that suggests that nothing is ever taken for granted. They possess keen eyes and chests for detail and seem to revel in the roles of social observers in a way that feels a lot more from the world of classic hip-hop than that of more modern lyricists whose self-centered takes on themselves don't offer anything substantial to the discussion. They rap, almost chant, "I'm from a city brainwashed by London," at the start of the song, "Brainwashed," and the theme of digging their feet into the ground and really getting into what makes the city that they've lived in their whole lives and the people that they've lived around their whole lives tick is a fascinating piece of artwork that's much closer to literature than most street culture or its subsequent diatribes ever get.