New York, NY – The rowdy “ghetto rock” of Virgin Records band El Pus is spreading into the mainstream quickly from its strong and enthusiastic foothold in the early-adopting college market. In June, July and August, the band will take its electric, uncontainable blend of raw punk and hip-hop noise on the road coast-to-coast with the massive ten-stage 2005 edition of Van’s Warped Tour.
In a recent New York Times Arts and Leisure “Playlist” feature, El Pus was credited with the rehabilitation of rock/hip-hop fusion in their Virgin debut album, “Hoodlum Rock: Vol. 1.” The Times notice praised El Pus for the band’s “rare sense of humor,” and suggested that El Pus acts as an antidote to the self-pity of late-1990s-model rap-rock.
The excitement surrounding the band is in large part based on a growing realization that El Pus are the players who’ve found the key to cracking the boundaries between rock and hip-hop for once and for all. The album’s lead single and video, “Suburb Thuggin,'” was added to MTVU at the beginning of February, and has established itself quickly with progressive college music fans, debuting at #7 on mtvu.com Top 25 List and remaining in the Top 15 to date. In addition, having crashed into the No. 10 spot on MTVU’s voter-powered Dean’s List by mid-March, the track has been rising in the top 10 to No. 7 since then. MTVU is the largest, most comprehensive television network targeting college students, broadcasting to over 700 colleges across the country, with a combined enrollment of close to 6.4 million. In recent days, MTV cameras have also been trailing El Pus in their Atlanta home base, in preparation for an April episode of MTV “Advance Warning,” to air on both MTV and MTV2.
Absorbing the band’s love of music ranging from NWA to Led Zeppelin, and hitting every base in between, would at first appear to be a hard stretch to the category-loving music industry and media. The crucial fusion of styles, in fact, had been an unpredictable stroke of good and bad luck for the band, when a sampler was stolen from gigging hip-hop MC duo Kufi and Cosmo, and the show went on with live guitar, bass and drums. Seeing an inevitable creative path then and there, the two held auditions for a permanent band, and CJ, Young Pete and the Woodchuck eventually completed El Pus. “All our songs are meant to be played loud,” Cosmo explains. “When we got the instruments in the mix, it translated that attitude that was underneath our songs all the time.”
A chorus of college reviewers made the same intuitive connection that the band did, immediately recognizing El Pus’ “refreshing take on hip-hop and rock, which on many occasions, the strength of one is often the weakness of the other” (University Daily Kansan). Youngstown State University’s Jambar raved that El Pus are the “saviors of rock,” and the Massachusetts Daily Collegian put it simply: “El Pus gets everything right.”
As the mainstream media discovers El Pus, an obvious sense of surprise and satisfaction is developing, that the still-unfinished business between punk, pop and hip-hop is being concluded with such creativity, style and energy: “They pull it from everywhere,” raved Boston’s Louder Magazine. “What sets them apart from the herd is that they actually sound good doing it.” Time Out Chicago added that “Hoodlum Rock: Vol. 1” is “clearly a hip-hop album with all the essentials… Kufi and Cosmo aren’t watering down their program for the rock fans (and) have married the two perfectly.”