The Brand New Heavies

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About The Brand New Heavies

In the mid-1980s, as acid jazz was becoming a dominant genre in London clubs, Simon Bartholomew and Andrew Levy began honing their own blend of funk, jazz, and early hip-hop drums. Originally dubbing themselves Brothers International, they changed their name to The Brand New Heavies after signing to a small British label and stumbling onto a James Brown single whose liner notes called the American soul legend the “Minister of New Super Heavy Funk.” While the Heavies likely would have continued to build a cult following in London, things changed dramatically when they connected with the American singer N’Dea Davenport. She would contribute lead vocals to the string of singles—“Stay This Way,” “Never Stop,” “Dream Come True”—that established the group as global stars able to meld the popular sounds of the 1960s and ’70s into something psychedelically new. Davenport’s inclusion was also a natural segue to the world of American hip-hop: The Heavies’ second album, 1992’s Heavy Rhyme Experience, Vol. 1, features the likes of Masta Ace, Gang Starr, Kool G. Rap, and The Pharcyde. In the years since, the group’s lineup has continued to evolve, but Bartholomew and Levy’s funked-out futurism has endured.

London, England
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