Dujeous

Mercury Lounge; Fri 8

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Remember when hip-hop was less about making money than paying dues? Dujeous does. The group’s seven members—including jazz trumpeter Dave Guy—have been associates since they were kids, and the New York City natives formally launched their collective way back in 1995, when they were high-schoolers. More like a band than a crew, Dujeous creates the sounds of hip-hop with real instruments, a technique that proves advantageous in many ways. For one thing, the band’s music has more stylistic adventurousness than is possible with the standard DJ-and-MC setup. “Sightlines,” for example, opens with a ripping arena-rock guitar intro before busting into a chanted chorus.

As anyone who’s ever seen a Roots performance can attest, a live band tends to be more exciting than what you get at the average hey-ho hip-hop show. The format also makes for a producer’s dream—just ask Mark Ronson, who recently enlisted Dujeous for his remix of Lily Allen’s “Smile.” Plenty of other items on the group’s rsum suggest an act on the brink of crossover: production for the Crank Yankers theme song, licensing deals with Levi’s and Enyce, and a rash of movie-soundtrack spots. A new Dujeous album is due later this year; if merit counts for anything, the record will be the break the band’s been working toward all these years. — Cristina Black

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