Srikalogy is an MC, DJ, producer, and percussionist who has established solid footing – and an equally solid following – by creating hip hop rooted in confidence without bravado, devotion without preachiness. The soul in his music is found not only in the rhythms, but in the energy and intention of each beat.
"My music is about transformation. So much so, that if you stripped away the music, that message is still there,” he explains.
That, for Srikalogy (aka Srikala Kerel Roach), is at the center of New Paradigm, his fifth studio album and first widespread label release, due May 20, 2014 on Black Swan Sounds.
Influenced by artists ranging from Talib Kweli to Radiohead, Srikala was raised in the Bedford-Stuyvesant area of Brooklyn, New York, by West Indian parents. Throughout his upbringing, he gained a deep love for listening to and creating hip hop, R&B, dub, and reggae music. He recalls spending many days and nights in the basement with his cousin making beats: “That’s just something we did growing up,” he says.
His early days also found him very active in the skateboarding lifestyle, but the social wear and tear of that wore him down. “There was a lot of partying and I eventually burned out in that space,” he recalls. “Ultimately, New York City beat me up.”
To recover from this crash, he spent six years in an ashram on New York’s Lower East Side, dedicating himself to spiritual instruction and meditation. Slowly, Srikala found his way back to the music and, eventually, left the ashram in 2010 because, as he notes with a smile, “there weren’t any monks coming out with albums.”
He trained as an audio engineer and with those skills produced four albums in less than three years. His audience grew with him, and he’s now at the center of a vibrant Brooklyn-based scene, putting on socially conscious nightlife events with Unitribe Productions, a community-based organization he founded. He also plays regularly with The Flowdown, his jazz-funk fusion band in which he is lead singer and percussionist.
In all of Srikala’s expressions of sound, he seeks to bring a message of hope and inspiration, and defines his philosophy with ease: “I am a fan of the beauty of life.”
This philosophy is borne out on New Paradigm, a showcase for his poetic lyrics, sophisticated beat production, and skilled cadence and flow. The track “State of Mind” (featuring J Brave of California-based Luminaries) is a hip-hop record tingling with dubstep sounds promoting unity, a theme strongly advocated throughout the project. “Radhe Govinda (DanceHall)” taps into Srikala’s Caribbean roots, blending tones mellow enough for meditation, while "Take My Hand," featuring conscious rocker Trevor Hall, perfectly demonstrates how naturally a spiritual message blends with head-nodding beats. From start to finish, the 14-song project illustrates Srikala's varied musical influences, the complexities of his background, and his current exuberance.
As he embarks upon the next stage of his own journey and transformation, Srikala accurately surmises what music fans of every genre have long known to be true: “Good music is good music,” says the powerhouse of creativity. “It really just depends on how you present it.”
1.) New Paradigm
2.) The Realness
3.) Together (feat. Malia Kulp)
5.) In Your Way (feat. Johnson)
6.) Take My Hand (feat. Hall)
8.) State of Mind (feat. J Alokah Bear, Arin Maya)
9.) Radhe Govinda (DanceHall)
10.) Never Back Down
12.) C'est La Nourriture
13.) Little Warrior (feat. Malia Kulp)
14.) Introduce Me