You probably know Wasalu Jaco best for all of his hip-hop collaborations. With Lupe Fiasco as his stage name, he's worked with the likes of Jay-Z, Kanye West, The Neptunes, and Pharrell Williams, Justice, and Rihanna. But now he's got an eye on a different genre: Rock music.
Wasalu isn't the first person to crossover in career paths. He's using his real name, and going from rap to rock with his new band Japanese Cartoon, but that's not what makes this so intriguing. He's adapted a fake British accent to sing on the electric guitar-heavy tracks that border on glam rock, with synths, drum kits, and steady repetitions, while paying tribute to Joy Division.
He recently told Complex,
"The true inspiration for Japanese Cartoon is the band Joy Division ... You ever watch Joy Division singing? [Frontman] Ian Curtis is liek a straight nerd. And he [doesn't look] like the rock and roll type. But when he got on stage, he became a completely different animal."
Currently working on their second album, they released their debut quietly as a free download on their site, and didn't start mentioning any specifics on their Facebook page until a few weeks ago. The album isn't available on Amazon or iTunes, making it doubly hard to track down. If you'd like to skip a few registration steps, you can download the album after the jump.
There are even some songs that border on thrash and metal with strong
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beats that are countered with Jaco's voice and sporadic screams. Titled In the Jaws of the Lords of Death, the debut album tries to touch on almost too many genres. "Heirplanes" is a personal favorite, with lyrics like "You can kill or just destroy them/ here's your pistol and your poison/ please decide because heirplanes flying under the ground/ fireworks that don't make a sound/ oh what a lie" accompanied by a bass-heavy backdrop, it's hard to not get it stuck in your head.
On "You are Here," he goes from a fake British accent to what sounds like a fake Jamaican one, name dropping Caribbean cities and saying it's all "irie." Is anyone else confused by the accents he takes on?
"Gasp" is perhaps the biggest surprise on the album, showing a softer side to Japanese Cartoon with typical indie post-punk undertones and a an auto-tuned voice by Wasalu. Download the whole album below, and tell us what you think.