True hip-hop has long had an affair with classical music, though indirect. The best producers have long used booming strings and brass to add a sense of melodrama and impending doom to classic boom-bap beats. Broward-native duo Black Violin has gone a step further in circling that musical relationship back. Members Kev Marcus and Wil B. studied classical strings throughout childhood and then at Dillard High School's performing arts program. They formed their group during their college years, cribbing the name from an album by jazz violinist Stuff Smith, and worked at making violin music hip for their generation. As Black Violin, they combine classical and jazz with straight-up hip-hop, often performing alongside a breakbeat-spinning DJ and rendering live the instrumentals for hip-hop classics. To date, the group has performed with Alicia Keys, Fat Joe, Akon, and even the Wu-Tang Clan and may be the only local group going that cites equal influence from both Nas and Shostakovich.
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