Beatz & Lyrics Show

Kids These Days – “Flashing Lights” (Revised) [Video]

Here is a video for the Kids These Days (KTD) version of “Flashing Lights.” The talented anti-style alt-Hip-Hop band has artfully flipped Kanye West’s song and redelivered it as a brooding story about police harassment.

Cool…but what do you mean when you speak of KTD’s anti-style, ojones1? Well, it is the best descriptor I could assign a band that defies conventional description. However, I did some digging; so you could at least understand KTD and why they are so hard to categorize…and you’re welcome.


Kids These Days (KTD), a group of eight young Chicago musicians, got together in 2009, jamming downstairs in the house of Liam Cunningham, 18, the guitarist and vocalist. Each member could play two to five instruments, and most were undergoing advanced training in jazz music. The sound that developed was based on the jazz training but also blended other genres: Hip-Hop, blues, rock and soul. Their common background and communal setting for their come-up has driven the development of treasured artist traits like incomparable talent and unquestioned loyalty within their clan. On loyalty, Macie Stewart, 18, the group’s sole woman, says it best, “The band is eight people — it’s not three vocalists and a band, or a rapper and a band behind him.”

KTD reminds me of The Roots…in a NOT sort of way. Sorry…like I said, they defy contemporary categorization (or comparison). But folks will learn to love it, because KTD is so unique…and refreshing…and creative! In one early KTD number, ”Be (A Night In Tunisia),” the band laid down a bass line from Common’s “Be” over Dizzy Gillespie’s “Night in Tunisia” and added original lyrics by Vic Mensa, 18, the group’s rapper.

“We’ve created a sound, but we don’t have a genre,” said Mr. Cunningham. Accordingly, the band disdains auto-tuning and mistake-free music. “To bring an entirely human element of eight different humans and their instruments, someone is going to make a mistake, and you’ve got to love that about it,” he said.

KTD released its first project in 2011, an EP titled “Hard Times,” which includes “Be (A Night In Tunisia),” as well as original material.

Though the group’s name is playful, it has taken on a deeper meaning to the group members. “The meaning of Kids These Days is that we want to be the voice for kids who are trying to say, ‘Look out, because we’re serious and we care about the future,’ ” Mr. Cunningham said. “It’s sort of a cry to all kids to step up and to adults that says we should be taken seriously.”

(Shout to Idalmy Carrera, for much of the background info – NY Times, July 30, 2011)


“Hard Times” Tracklist:
01. Hard Times
02. Darling
03. Summerscent
04. My Days
05. Be (A Night in Tunisia)
06. Walking Down the Line
07. Outro

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