No matter the derivative chosen, whether it's electro-funk, hip-hop-funk, or funk-pop, Plantlife simply makes fresh, vintage-sounding funk; however, their music is very much rooted in traditional hip-hop formulas and programming. When Panda One, core producer for West Coast indie rappers Tha Animal Pharm, and MC Jack Splash first got together in Los Angeles during the late '90s, they didn't plan on releasing any music. Tired of what they perceived to be a stagnant hip-hop industry, the two completely isolated themselves from the outside world, creating whatever music they thought felt good. With DJ Rashida the Beautiful (who came off from a stint working with Tricky) and second vocalist Dena Deadly joining the fold, it became more difficult to contain this cathartic funk free-for-all within the confines of their bedrooms. The four first recorded an album entitled Remembering Back to Now..., slated for a 2003 release. Unsatisfied with the results, the group never released it and went back to the drawing board. Their official debut was acclaimed album The Return of Jack Splash (2004). Equal parts Prince and André 3000, Jack Splash was introduced as Plantlife's radical frontman, expounding on love, sex, and politics with his dirty and rugged falsettos. The band found themselves receiving wild comparisons and praise from critics as well as artists of multiple genres, including Mos Def, the Chemical Brothers, the Roots' ?uestlove, and Vikter Duplaix. They ended 2004 on a high note with world-renowned disc jockey Gilles Peterson awarding The Return of Jack Splash Album of the Year at BBC Radio One's Worldwide Music Awards. An equally ambitious follow-up, Time Traveller, appeared in 2008. ~ Cyril Cordor
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