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Gaining NOTAR-iety:
 Rising Star Combines Genres

Jul 21, 2011 09:52PM ● By Anonymous

Devil’s Playground follows NOTAR’s self-titled 2010 EP, which garnered much attention from press and fans alike. Counting Crows’ Adam Duritz who discovered and signed NOTAR to his label, Tyrannosaurus Records, found NOTAR’s “words so clear, so lucid, and so brilliant” that he knew he had no choice but to work with the gritty genre defying performer.

Last year’s self-titled EP received rave reviews from the press. Revolt Media Magazine claimed, “Variety can be a strong suit of any artist, and NOTAR shows precise mastery of this on his EP,” while The Cutting Edge Culture stated, “NOTAR pushes boundaries with a refreshing, honest sound.” Says Duritz, “My favorite thing about the EP is that we left some of his best tracks off. NOTAR has enough good songs in him that we left some of my favorites off the EP and it was still great. Think of it as a ‘virtual Side 1.’ With Devil’s Playground, you’ll hear Side 2.” On Devil’s Playground, NOTAR pushes the boundaries of hip-hop music, unafraid to blend rock, funk, and pop, with his roots in jazz and formal training as a trumpet player.

NOTAR adds, “When your father, who has sat in with legends like Maynard Ferguson and Chicago, is listening to Earth Wind & Fire in one room and your older sister to Slick Rick in another room, I realized that music comes in all different form and sounds, so I was inspired to combine as many as I could into my interpretation of music.His music inhabits a spot where the gutter meets the church choir, where harsh, raw beats settle nicely behind gritty hook-driven rock melodies. And above all, his instinct for emotionally honest lyricism and diverse flows radiates throughout the album. “I like cutting up a beat eight different ways so it doesn’t become boring,” says NOTAR.

During the summer of 2010, NOTAR joined Counting Crows and Augustana, among other artists, on the “The Traveling Circus and Medicine Show,” performing for hundreds of thousands of fans during the 25-city tour. Rather than a traditional show format, the Traveling Circus took a communal approach with all of the musicians onstage together at the very beginning of the show, performing covers such as Van Morrison’s “Caravan,” Bob Dylan’s “Just Like A Woman,” or The Rolling Stones’ “Sweet Virginia.”

With a revolving potpourri of musicians taking turns playing original songs and joined by the other featured artists, Duritz served as the ‘ringmaster’ of the evening. NOTAR dominated the stage with his unmatched energy, and as Duritz told an interviewer, “I can’t keep guys off the stage when he’s playing. Everybody wants to play with him.” Devil’s Playground was produced by NOTAR, Grammy winner, Ken Lewis (Kayne West, Beastie Boys, Usher), hip-hop producer MGeezy (Wyclef Jean, T-Pain), and Kevin Augsburg, an up and comer out of Brooklyn, New York. The album consists of 13 songs, written and performed by NOTAR and features such talent as Young Cash, Chris Carrabba of Dashboard Confessional and Adam Duritz. Tour plans will be announced at a later date.

“Not pure hip-hop, nor rap-rock, but a musical cornucopia of the aforementioned along with elements of funk and radio-friendly pop hooks, the self-titled debut EP from New York rapper NOTAR is the first indication that what we're hearing isn't just another EP, but the groundwork for what just may become one of the biggest cross-over success stories of 2011.” - Kik Axe Music

“Being a rapper in the game today is challenging for any newcomer… The only thing that separates predator from prey is skills, and New York based lyrical alchemist, NOTAR, has a surplus big enough to fill an aircraft hangar.” - Unrated NYC

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