Iconoclastic, enigmatic and angst-ridden are words used to describe former front man for the punk/thrash metal group Bad Brains, H.R. (Ras Hailu Gabriel Joseph I). A devout Rastafarian, H.R.'s songs, a seamless blend of singing, rap and African chanting, demand social and economic equality and an end to oppression and racism. He got his start with the Washington, D.C.-based Bad Brains, and sang with them through the '80s. H.R. periodically left to pursue his own career, returning only to make a few quick bucks. He infused their music with his own brand of reggae rhythms, which they called "rasta-core," but grew disillusioned because fans were more interested in their hardcore sound than the message of love he was trying to convey. Compared to the rough-edged, riotous energy of the Brains, H.R.'s reggae was mellower as can be heard in his late '80s album Singin in the Heart (SST) which he recorded in between Bad Brains' I Against I and Quickness. H.R. left the band for good in 1989 and has since worked on developing his solo career.
The Drastics are modern roots music. Their sound fits as easily in a Kingston dancehall as it does in an artist's loft-party in the warehouse district. Though primarily classified as a reggae group, The Drastics embrace many styles of music both live and in the studio. This can be heard in their songs which draw from roots Jamaican music, hip hop, hard-bop jazz, afro-beat, dancehall, as well as folk music from Asia, Africa, the Middle East and South America. Take this powder keg cocktail of styles, add the pulse of gritty everyday urban living and you get one explosive sound. Not playing into any gimmicks or compromising to trends ("The Drastics deserve much credit for moving deep into unchartered territories" - allMusic Guide) The Drastics have been consistantly rocking crowds for three years from NYC to LA and everywhere in between ("dub masters, The Drastics ... never fail to put on a killer party" - TimeOut Chicago).