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Roma Cult Files - Thelonious B

A self-sufficient hip-hop music collective that bypasses the lines of demarcation between musical genres

Roma Cult Files - Thelonious B A self-sufficient hip-hop music collective that bypasses the lines of demarcation between musical genres

I'm in Monteverde, one of the oldest districts in Rome, right after lunchtime.
Yet I didn’t eat anything. I walk down the street looking for the meeting spot. I don’t know much of this place so I find myself looking around with eyes wide open, just like a tourist. All of a sudden I realize that I’m in the right spot. In front of me there is a huge building that stands out from the surroundings. I walk in, feeling like entering a parallel universe. When I pass by a bunch of residents, they look upon me, because they know I don't belong that place. I try to act as naturally as I can until I get into the elevator. After a long and slow lift, I finally get to see the light again.

In front of me, an opened door with six smiling faces. Finally I’m at the Thelonious B headquarter. Their music is deeply rooted in hip-hop and trap but is also full of all that different influences defining nowadays' underground music panorama. THB do everything on their own, because every member has specific and not music related skills, to support the crew.

After a warm welcome and some “SKRT”, the guys introduce themselves.
The most eloquent are Brown, founder member and Simone, art director. So another episode begins. 

#1 Who are Thelonious B?

Brown: Thelonious B it’s me (Brown), BRBK, Roger, Bebi, and Kirua. Then there is Simone who is in charge of art direction. The collective was born in the most natural way possible. We have always been friends and we like to share things. Music is just one of them.
Before landing to our actual music genre, I experimented a lot. I’ve been into music, since my early days in high school and also had a metal band in that period. This kind of eclectic attitude is still very important for us, we try to catch as many influences we can. THB is the result of a very strong friendship, that gave us a similar outlook on things, other than the will to share experiences and grow together.


#2 How would you define your music genre and what are your main influences at the moment?

B: I would define us a hip-hop/trap collective. Yet, today is really common for a lot of artists out there in the international scene to be influenced by different music genres and mix them with what is usually defined as trap music. Rediscovering metal, punk and emo sounds is a way for an artist to explore a whole new dimension. As I already told, we have experimented a huge variety of genres in the past and all those different sounds still represent a huge influence for us, because it belongs to our personal background. It’s also really interesting to notice how the whole phenomenon is opening a dialogue between different generations of artists and people. Art always rejuvenates itself using the past as a bridge that leads to the future.


#3 So, how do you see the future of Trap music?

B: In my opinion, is often wrong to speak about trap music in 2018. We are already in the Post-Trap era. All these new influences and all this will to experiment lead most of the artist to overcome the former Trap sound already. So what many people see as the future, is already happened.


#4 Rome is radically changing.
The city has remained silent for quite a long time, but now a new generation of Roman artists has born and is conquering the whole country at the speed of light. The city has never been so alive and vibrant, especially speaking about music.
How do you live this deep transformation of your hometown?

Simone: Rome has always been a strange place. Nothing ever seems to affect the city, everything comes and passes by, then fades away leaving no trace of its passage. Rome is famous for its history, to the point that innovation never finds its place there. Now times are changing and the city has never been so alive. Yet the simple fact that Rome never completely opened the doors to the international music and art movements led this new generation of artist to develop o personality on their own.
This is why now Roman artists seem so fresh from the outside because we have always been outsiders. THB make no exception.


#5 Rome has never been trendy and fashion always struggled to find a place in the city. Now with the advent of streetwear also this reality has started to crackle. Especially young people have started looking beyond the borders and the interest for fashion is rapidly rising. Do you agree?

S: Of course. Roma has never been trendy. Yet Rome has always had its own trends and they have always been massive. Now that the city is more in contact with what is coming from the outside, its capacity to turn everything into a mass-phenomenon is working to increasingly raise the interest for fashion, such as for Trap Music.
I've always hoped it would have happened one day, be able to see it happen can only make me happy.