Royal Ruckus started with a couple high school kids in Bakersfield, CA in 1998 trying to make positive hip-hop music. They released a number of records, and built a buzz that gained them national attention, and landed them a record deal on a label out of Nashville.
After a fun ride, they ended up quiet for a number of years, soft-releasing a few projects here and there, but largely staying out of the spotlight. In 2017, they return with their most ambitious project ever: a double album, wrapped around a story-line and a metaphor based on the cicada, the strange insect that spends most of its life quietly underground, before coming out to make a royal ruckus above ground for a season. The cicada is every man: longing to live, but spending so much time in preparation for really living.
For their latest project, they called in help from about two dozen of their friends, and made their strongest project ever. It's a journey through joy and pain, life and death, friendship and struggle.
Invisible Library Records Releases a Double Album from Royal Ruckus, The Summer of Cicadas
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
(January 6, 2017) Nashville, TN—Royal Ruckus, an unconventional hip-hop group formed in California in 1998, are preparing to release their magnum opus, a double album entitled The Summer of Cicadas through Nashville-based Invisible Library Records.
The album is available for preorder now at http://summerofthecicadas.com in both digital and physical form, with its first single “The Waitress Song” out now. News about the resurgence of these “cicada rappers” has fans on the edge of their seat, and their most loyal backers successfully funded the project through the grassroots angle of Kickstarter.
Royal Ruckus is comprised of members Michael Walker and Jamey Bennett (Flatline and Chunjay, respectively), natives of Bakersfield, California. Flatline now hails from Austin, Texas, and Chunjay lives in South Florida. The album was created largely through Dropbox collaboration, with vocal performances, and mixing and mastering in person at TWLVS in Fort Worth, Texas by DJ Sean P.
The first half of the album is the fruit of the collaboration of the Royal Ruckus duo, while the second half is a “solo project” of emcee Chunjay, with a great set of guest artists, including friends of RR such as Pigeon John, Eligh of Living Legends, Bonafide of GRITS, ManChild of Mars ILL, and Cookbook of LA Symphony.
While rarely attempted by rap artists, this is a full-blown concept album, exploring themes of love and loss, joy and pain, legacy and temporality. To accomplish this, the primary metaphor explores human life through the life cycle of a cicada, an insect that spends most of its life underground preparing and dreaming of a life above ground—and when the cicada finds fulfillment above ground, its life is brief, and it returns to the earth. The second metaphor is of “lone gunmen,” capturing the tension in life between individuality and togetherness. Listeners can expect to be entertained and challenged, but most certainly the record will inspire plenty ofhip-bone shaking.
The duo has been living up to their name Royal Ruckus as they are capable of creating a quite a commotion whenever they release a project. They have released more than half a dozen albums over the years and have been featured on many compilations, but there is no argument that this is their finest moment. The eclectic sounds of Royal Ruckus incorporate elements of rock n roll, electro, trap, and pop—but never straying far from their roots in classic hip-hop, sometimes reminiscent of Beastie Boys, A Tribe Called Quest, or Run DMC. They deliver slick hip-hop beats with culturally relevant topics, maintaining their signature tongue-in-cheek, off-beat approach and a little something to think about.