Hear full-length cuts from Modill's debut CD:
From gospel legend Thomas Dorsey to rap star Kanye West, the city of Chicago has long been home to some of America's top musical talent. The hip-hop group Modill has absorbed the best of their hometown's blues, soul, house and funk traditions.
Racecar, left and K-Kruz of Modill.
With their debut album Midnight Green, the duo of Racecar (aka Sam Nash) and K-Kruz (aka Keith Kreuser) adds a fresh voice to the city's diverse musical heritage.
Diversity is the key word to describe Modill's sound and its players. Racecar's father is black and his mother Chinese, and he grew up listening to all kinds of music before focusing on hip-hop. K-Kruz, a white drummer from the Chicago suburbs, found sampling and electronic beats to be a welcome change from traditional instruments.
K-Kruz, who produced the debut CD, says that despite having different backgrounds and musical styles, Modill and other Chicago hip-hop groups seem to share a common thread: soul.
"The soul side of things — the Curtis Mayfield and all the South Side Chicago soul — I think that probably had a big influence on a lot of Chicago producers and MCs," he says.
Modill sets out in early April for a six-week national tour.