Local Hip-Hop Group MuAmin Collective Turns Its New Album Into a Family Affair

MuAmin Collective has been a fixture on the local hip-hop scene in the city for over ten years. During that time, the crew has seen a few different lineups — some featured local poet and musician R.a. Washington and local musician Dwayne “G.O.R.K.” Pigee, who was killed in February 2016, but the two constants have always been emcee Josiah “Zion” Quarles and producer Aaron “A-Live” Snorton. The group will release its latest album, The Hues Brothers, on May 15, and this time around it’s even more of a family affair.

“This one was a collaborative effort between myself and my brother [James ‘Jungle Jim’ Quarles] as far as lyrically,” says the elder Quarles via telephone. MuAmin Collective plays a release party at 9 p.m. on Friday, May 11, at Now That’s Class. Obnox,  Kent Archie and DJ Nuera open the show. “The idea of brotherhood was floating around. We’re both big movie buffs and fans of the Hughes Brothers’ work. Also back in the day, me and [Snorton] had this painting and landscaping thing, not like a real business, but we did about ten jobs or so, and we were calling ourselves the Hues Brothers, so it’s kinda like it resurfaced. It was really early in the project, but it kept floating and as stuff was coming together it kinda felt cinematic. So we started digging though [movies like] Menace II Society and The Book of Eli and Dead Presidents and pulling different pieces that fit thematically. As that was happening, my brother had gone ahead and put together this compilation of characters and moments from these different movies in one piece. He’s a phenomenal artist.”

One of the album’s songs, “Fake News,” touches on a term that’s becoming part of our daily lexicon, but the brothers address it in a different manner.

“My whole thing is that it’s not new,” Quarles says. “The shit has been going on for a long, long time. A lot of people are perturbed by what’s happening, but if you look at the past history, this shit has happened over and over again. That’s how we came at it, not so much for the shock value of Trumpism and all that.”

Read the rest of the interview at Scene