Mike Madriaga 9:30 a.m., May 25
Sound description: Rock-influenced hip-hop, harder than the Red Hot Chili Peppers but not quite as brutal — nor as metal — as Ice T's Body Count.
RIYL: Kanye West, Tim Raldo, Goodbye Blue Monday, Bad Credit, Blackilicious
- "Commercials: The New Frontier" · Oct. 17, 2012
- As I Hear It · May 26, 2010
- Blurt: "Look, Ma, Kneehighs" · Nov. 19, 2008
- Blurt: "Warmth After" · Dec. 8, 2005
- Musician Interviews · Dec. 1, 2005
Inception: San Diego, 2005
Current Status: Playing around town.
Influences: Common, My American Heart, Faith No More, Jurassic 5
Hip-hop groups have a different dynamic than rock bands. Despite the individual boasting and bragging, hip-hoppers tend to mesh their contributions more seamlessly than rock players, whose goal is usually to stand out and "solo." Edgar Alminar walks both lines, playing keyboards and percussion for rockers Irradio and also DJing as DJ GarGar for the Kneehighs, along with three MCs: Talls, DaDa, and Dalton. "Playing with Irradio packs its own kind of energy," he says, "but the Kneehighs definitely has its own unique energy and stage presence that can't really be described. You really have to see a live show to get the full experience. The music is energetic, feel-good hip-hop that'll get your grandma out of her seat."
Alminar/GarGar thinks San Diego is finally plugged into the contemporary hip-hop scene, citing successful events like Tha Liks at 'Canes, DJ Quik at 4th&B, and especially the Up in Smoke Tour at Coors Amphitheatre. "Up in Smoke was hit after hit after hit by all the artists I grew up with. Packed amphitheater, crazy energy — it was good to see many big-name artists sharing the stage."
Along with the increase of open-mic nights with hip-hop and spoken-word performers, it would seem the city that rapper Kev-4Play once called a "rich bitch, paint-the-ghetto-psychedelic kind of town" is finally more gabba than Abba. If you don't know what that means, you may not be the Kneehighs' target crowd.
They've opened for Bone Thugs-N-Harmony, Talib Kweli, DJ Quik, tha Alkaholiks, Sage Francis, L.A. Symphony, Ugly Duckling, P.O.S, Lyrics Born, Pigeon John, Blowfly, and Grand Buffet. Their albums include Global Warming (2005) and Rise and Shine (2007).
At the 2007 San Diego Music Awards, the band took home the trophy for "Best Hip-Hop Album" for their record Rise and Shine. They were nominated for another SDMA in 2009.
By 2012, recording commercial jingles has become another good way for the band to help pay their bills. In 2012, they were one of five local artists asked to record a 60-second spot for “Movin’ and Groovin,’” a TV and radio ad campaign created and paid for by the Metro Transit System (MTS) to get San Diegans to appreciate public transportation.
Vokab Kompany, Buck-O-Nine, the Kneehighs, Ron Fountenberry, and Todo Mundo were each paid a flat fee of $1500 for their jingle, and MTS has the rights to each jingle for three years.
A new Kneehighs CD was announced for release in May 2016.