"Okinato Black is a reference to Yasuke, or Sakanouye no [Tamuramaro], the legendary African Shogun of early Japanese civilization. He was known to be the paragon of military virtues and regarded as one of the most distinguished Black warriors of antiquity, yet still, he is largely unknown. The project is a response to the resurgence of Chamber Rap beats, popularized by Wu-Tang [Clan], the proliferation of Experimental Hip-Hop producers using the legendary Roland SP-404, and my own fascination with the anime Samurai Champloo. The intention was to never limit the source or genre of samples, but through the usage, obtain a cohesion in sound," Texas-based Experimental Hip-Hop producer Phil Ford aka BLKrKRT (Blacker Karat) wrote within a recent emailed statement. Ford has fittingly self-described his unique sound as "Post-Dilla Hip-Hop Instrumental" and lists J Dilla, Madlib, KAN KICK, No I.D. Public Enemy, Prefuse 73, S1, and Boogie Down Productions amongst his greatest sources of influence. Okinato Black, which I'm proud to be premiering here today at The Witzard, will be released on Philly rapper-producer Darko The Super's eclectic U DONT DESERVE THIS BEAUTIFUL ART imprint and will quickly become BLKrKRT's whopping 40th Bandcamp release; one of three final releases before Phil Ford plans to retire from music altogether and embark on a new venture into the world of fashion design. "I met Phil during the early Soundcloud days. He actually remixed a lot of my very early Rap projects; I used a lot of his beats throughout the years. He’s an incredible producer! I asked him if he’d like to do a release with the label recently and he sent over Okinato Black right away," Darko The Super explained.
"I live in Texas, where Experimental Hip-Hop has always existed, but hadn't always been well respected, going mostly overlooked in favor of artists from the more metropolitan cities and music with a more mainstream appeal... Looking forward to taking the heads of Hip-Hop listeners seeking to see it remain the same... limiting the growth of our new era, [Okinato Black] is a slight departure from my previous works. In attempting to shed a persona, I had unwittingly re-invented one," Ford's email tellingly continued. BLKrKRT says that as he dug further into Yasuke's story, he found many (abstract) parallels between himself and the legendary African Shogun, which run through both his personal life and his discipline, musically. Phil Ford explained that Okinato Black differs from his previous 39 released works since "the focus of [his] work thus far, has been the nature of [his] "chop," or sample usage, now the hallmark of [his] sound" and further went on to compare his approach and sensibility to that of Jackson Pollock. It appears as though Darko The Super and Phil Ford's working relationship dates back as far as May-June 2014, as I recently unearthed two BLKrKRT-produced tracks amidst the Stereopathetic Soulmanure (Beck reference) heap that is Darko's plethora of released music: "President Camacho" and The Buggles-referencing "F*ck The Rap Game (Darko Killed The Radio Star)." BLKrKRT's Okinato Black is currently available for your streaming and downloading pleasures on U DONT DESERVE THIS BEAUTIFUL ART's respective Bandcamp and Soundcloud pages.