Pin It
Favorite

Recess Pieces 

Ayo.O learned to rap because he wasn't supposed to.

click to enlarge art16553.jpg

They called it “Turntable Terror” — and it was, for all intents and purposes, illegal where Ayo Ogunrinde went to boarding school in Nigeria.

“I’m not talking about a Harry Potter-type boarding school with pretty uniforms and pet griffins,” says Ogunrinde, a Seattle rapper who goes by the stage name Ayo.O. “This had more of a military-style experience to it. Five am wake-up time with manual labor and all kinds of outlandish stuff.”

Turntable Terror, he says, was when “we’d go back to the classrooms, way past curfew, and have someone beat on the desks and beatbox. A couple people would just rap over the beats and this would go on until the late hours of the morning.”

Today, as a member of the Seattle band the Staxx Brothers, Ayo.O — who says his name onstage like an acronym (A.Y.O.) but who is often referred to as Ayo Dot — brings that experience to the band’s fusion of funk, soul, rock and hip-hop.

And in his solo work, the emcee’s animated verbosity goes deeper into heavy alt-rap territory. “My Dreams,” the standout track from his 2009 album, Got You, showcases Ayo deftly rhyming over a propulsive string sample: “One to the two, let the bodies hit the floor/Three to the four, now they knockin’ down my door/Five to the six, I verbally assault/ Like open wounds I make em sting like salt” It’s a strong hook, and a compulsively listenable song.

Ayo.O’s lyrical presence is a curious amalgam.

He effortlessly name-drops Beretta handguns in songs that exude an almost cheerful, relaxed attitude, bouncing between talk of tender love and one-upping lesser MCs. Despite his fierceness as a rapper, Ayo’s music is soothing to the ear, making use of live instruments as well as fluid experimentation. He elegantly repurposes songs by Tracy Chapman (“Fast Car”) and the Eagles (“I Can’t Tell You Why”), giving them a firm and energetic street makeover.
He sails into stranger waters at times, too — on “Space Ghost,” he rides a trippy, funked-up beat and asserts that he is both “the number-one G” as well as someone who has the ability to “analyze like Stephanopoulos, because my flows are fabulous” and “step on MCs like a dinosaur.”

Ayo considers his work to be emotional and loving, albeit fun. “It’s high-energy, head-nodding music,” he explains. “I mostly touch on the ups and down of life and relationships, in a manner that is poignant and playful.”

Ayo.O plays the release party for Ocean’s album BL/CK C3ILING with Jaeda, Quiz, Freetime Synthetic, Vibeself, DJ Stone Tobey, and DJ Forcefeed • Friday, May 20, at 7 pm • Mootsy’s • $5 • 21 • 838-1570

  • Pin It

Latest in Music

  • Magic in Six Strings
  • Magic in Six Strings

    The story of Sir Richard Bishop, an old guitar and Tangier Sessions
    • Mar 25, 2015
  • Clear Skies Ahead
  • Clear Skies Ahead

    Joe Pug slayed some demons making his new album and his music is better for it
    • Mar 25, 2015
  • Ride It Out
  • Ride It Out

    Rough Congress hasn't played a show in two years, but that doesn't mean they broke up
    • Mar 18, 2015
  • More »

Comments

Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

Today | Mon | Tue | Wed | Thu | Fri | Sat
Joe Pug

Joe Pug @ The Bartlett

Sun., March 29, 8 p.m.

All of today's events | Staff Picks

More by Jorma Knowles

  • Backpack Backlog
  • Backpack Backlog

    Pioneering independent rappers Hieroglyphics are still going hard after all these years.
    • Feb 1, 2012
  • For Your Consideration
  • For Your Consideration

    An under-rated soft sci-fi film. Plus, the new installment of the “Song of Ice and Fire” series and a worthwhile local blog.
    • Jul 20, 2011
  • Murder Dog
  • Murder Dog

    Brotha Lynch Hung, after all these years, retains his significance as a particular sort of rap icon.
    • Jun 1, 2011
  • More »

Most Commented On

  • Road Goes On Forever

    Widespread Panic's never-ending tour stops in Spokane for the first time since 1999
    • Mar 11, 2015
  • More »

Top Tags in
Music & Film

Music


Film


Hip-hop


Indie Rock


Review


© 2015 Inlander
Website powered by Foundation