“Every now and again, a hip-hop outfit emerges and threatens to take the music from its growing commercial context and back to the essence... not only do the Arsonists offer up an amazingly imaginative form of lyricism and unbelievably sharp delivery, but also they support the wider aspect of hip-hop... Integrating their old-skool outlook with forward-looking production skills and lyricism... and tackling effortlessly both the humorous and the hardcore, The Arsonists shine so brightly they send most of their contemporaries scuttling shamefully into the shadows.”
Paul Sullivan — DJ Magazine

If hip-hop were a sport, the Arsonists would have been considered all-stars years ago. The crew, which began 13 members strong in Bushwick, Brooklyn back in 1993, has since been reduced to Q-Unique, Jise One and Swel Boogie. No longer the size of a football team, but pared down to a compact three-man group, the trio has developed a signature mode of expression that has earned them a loyal international following. In September, their eagerly awaited second album drops on the public.

Following the release of three innovative 12-inch singles (on Bobbito’s Fondle ’Em Records and Serchlite/Geffen), and their critically acclaimed 1999 Matador debut As The World Burns, members Freestyle and D-Stroy left the group, leaving Q-Unique, Jise One and Swel Boogie to carry the reins on the group’s new album, Date of Birth.

Despite the first album’s excellent reviews and fan support, the guys considered it just a baby, and strove for a more mature, thoughtful sophomore effort through which they could be reborn, hence the title Date of Birth. Concentrating on smarter song structure, melody and provoking lyrics, the Arsonists developed an LP rich with head-nodding cuts, from the piano-laced crew manifesto "We Be About" to the haunting sounds of "Language Arts," the funky "Space Junk" with Kinetic Energy and the gothic, string heavy "Alive," which details the group’s triumphant rise above struggle and adversity. "Self-Righteous Spics (Anthem)," produced by the Beatnuts’ Psycho Les, is a high energy track guaranteed to get you moving, while "Millionaire" is a hilariously clever take on the popular Regis Philbin game show.

While the Arsonists’ creative and bold music speaks for itself, the group is also well-known for one of the best stage shows in hip-hop. They have toured the world and played with such groups as the Roots, Public Enemy and Gang Starr; Q, Jise and Swel are currently in the midst of a 27-city North American tour with the Beatnuts and Greg Nice. The group will follow up this North American run with a late summer/early fall tour of Europe, Australia and Japan.

Also on the horizon for the trio is the soundtrack for "Empire," starring John Leguizamo, Denise Richards and Isabella Rosselini, and Fox Sports’ new extreme sports show, "Bluetorch TV," which will feature music from the new album. The trio can also be seen as featured players in the new Coca-Cola advertising campaign that is plastered across buses and bus stops in the Northeast, and in a Nike radio spot incorporating sports and hip-hop.

The Arsonists are quick to point out that they won’t compromise their creativity or integrity merely for the sake of sales, but they do acknowledge that commercial recognition is due. "It’s like the Olympics," says Q-Unique. "You train all your life to come to what? Fourth? We want a gold medal like everybody else, but we won’t surrender ourselves. We just try to make hot music."
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