Arsonists

Full Discography

LPs
  • Date of Birth - OLE-476 - 2001-09-11
  • As The World Burns - OLE-343 - 1999-08-24

Biography

“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."

 

 

 

As the World Burns 
August 24, 1999

Few M.C’s can compare to their lyrical fire. None can match the charismatic swagger that gushes forth from the moment you see any of them to when they leave the area. But for every outrageous prophecy, for every half-assed group or solo artist that’s out with their daring assault on the mic, it is matched by a tremendous presence of mind that has you aware Arsonists are one step ahead of the game.

Proof?

Put it on. As The World Burns. It’s a bold, blistering addition to their groundbreaking 3 singles, which feature many classics. Unlike other MC’s there is no air of panic in the Arsonists’ zany antics, reclaiming one of the most influential styles in music by playfully dominating the rhymes, trusting their instincts and never dodging the dark or difficult phrase. They’re not so much playing with fire as they’re bringing all challenges directly to them. They’re calling on the so-called forces of rap’s new millennium who dare to cross swords with their empire.

Since 1993, when they formed as the Bushwick Bomb Squad, the five young impresarios now known as The Arsonists have been one of the most impressive acts on the hip-hop scene. Q-Unique is a ten-year plus member of The Rock Steady Crew and has released records on both the Columbia and V.I.P. labels. D-stroy is known for his mix tape appearances and performance work on the title track for "Palante Siempre Palante," a documentary based on the Young Lords. Freestyle, working with Shabazz The Disciple, met D-Stroy when he won a Zulu Nation M.C. battle contest which D-stroy was hosting. Swel Boogie is a long standing partner of D-stroy, embellishing the group with his witty verbal content. Jise One rounds out the group with his frenetic lyrical style and lion-like mane.

The Arsonists’ greatly anticipated album As The World Burns is a bold statement, following three groundbreaking 12"s which featured such classics as "The Session" and "Halloween" (both appearing on Bobbito Garcia’s Fondle ’Em Records), "Venom" (on Serchlite Records), and "Seed." Covered in such magazines as Urb, SPIN, El Pitirre, Rap Sheet, The Source, Rap Et Ragga, Japan’s Warp magazine, and interviewed on MTV News, The Arsonists already have the fuse lit with ill songs showcasing a fresh new lyrical delivery. Furthermore, As The World Burns is expertly self-produced at a time when producers’ names seem more important than the artists.

The four elements of hip-hop have long been ignored in commercial rap, but The Arsonists use their own experiences in the worlds of B-Boys, Graff Artists, DJ’s and MC’s to explore these themes, pushing them all equally to the forefront.

Although you may at times find D-Stroy, Q-Unique, Swel, Jise One and Freestyle ordering from different menus, their direction in music is clear and united.

As The World Burns is out now.

Pre-blog News

03/01/02
From Jise: “What up Arsonists fans? It's been awhile since getting some kind of update on the Matador website. It's not that we've been neglecting our duties as a Matador based band, it's just been alot of hard work going into new songs and ventures. We're not sure when the next album is due, but we assure that we will work our hardest to get it out there along with the Matador staff. As far as rumors of any sorts regarding the relationship between Matador and The Arsonists? I've heard some crazy ones, but regardless of our relationship, good, bad, fair or none, IT'S MUSIC! Sit back and enjoy what we're here for, which is not scandalous rumors of beef that are'nt really there. We are working towards blessing ya'll with an improved sound everytime we hit ya'll so just listen. AND, no there is'nt any beef between any old Arsonists memebers, We wish everyone that has contributed to the Arsonists the best of success for the simple fact that it's a reflection of what we started out of the nieghborhood and no fallouts can changed what we've created as a foundation. PEACE YA'LL............. Jise/ARSONISTS”


09/07/01
‘Date Of Birth,’ one of 2001’s most eagerly awaited new albums will be released this Tuesday, coinciding with an instore performance and signing session at Fat Beats the same day. A new 12" of “What You Want” is shipping to DJs as we speak/write/talk. The group will be hitting the road in mid-October, co-headlining northeastern dates with DJ Swamp, DMC champion circa 1996. Following that jaunt, theArsonists will be back on the road with DJ Logic and Ninja Tune recording artist Kid Koala, whom some of you might’ve seen supporting Radiohead earlier in the year. If you’re gonna be in NYC during the CMJ Music Marathon, don’t miss the Arsonists at BB Kings (237 W. 42nd Street between 7th and 8th Avenues), appearing with the Smut Peddlers, DJ Swamp, Mixmaster Mike, X-ecutioners, DJ Swamp, Rock Steady Crew, Afu Ra and Pep Love. There will be 700 tickets available for those without CMJ credentials. 

What You Want” and “We Be About” from ‘Date Of Birth’ are now available for free download from our MP3 section. 

07/19/01

‘Date Of Birth’ on the way, along with a new single 

Q-Unique, Jise One and Swell Boogie aka the ARSONISTS have just completed a grueling nationwide tour in support of the Beatnuts, previewing material from the September 2001 CD/double LP ‘Date Of Birth.’ You can hear an MP3 of the album’s current single “We Be About” starting July 24. A new 12" of “What You Want” b/w “Millionaire” will be hitting radio stations sometime next month. 

06/12/01
Upcoming instore events
Arsonists are hitting the entire U.S. during the journey in support of the Beatnuts, previewing material from the upcoming Arsonists CD / LP ‘Date Of Birth.’ 

You can catch the following instore appearances: 

LOS ANGELES: Saturday, June 23rd at 3PM
Fat Beats LA, 7600 Melrose, Los Angeles, CA 90036
323-655-8997 ** This is a freestyle / signing event 

AUSTIN: Sunday, July 1st at 3PM
33 Degrees, 4017 Guadalupe Street, Austin, TX 78751
512-302-5233 ** This is a freestyle / signing event 

ATLANTA: Saturday, July 7th at 3PM 
Criminal Records, 466 Moreland Ave NE, Atlanta, GA 30307
404-215-9511 ** This is a performance / signing event 

In addition, we’re still waiting for the details, but we’re told that Q-Unique will be featured in a series of upcoming radio commercials for Nike. 

05/10/01
As we prepare for the long awaited 'Date Of Birth' full-length, we receive news that the group will be featured in an upcoming Coca Cola advertising campaign. You'd think someone would hook us up with a Coke machine in the office, but those are the breaks. Hopefully we'll have news & dates for the first single from 'Date Of Birth' along with Arsonists live dates in an upcoming update. 

03/07/01
The waiting is nearly over 
(just as soon as we’re done waiting)
 
The hotly anticipated follow-up to ’As The World Burns,’ ’Date Of Birth’ is coming later this year and marks the arrival of a newly aggressive, super-focused Arsonists trio. More news to come concerning singles, live dates and other activity in future editions of the update.

09/11/00
Arsonists — beyond fabulous, no matter what magazine you read. 
Q- Unique writes: “we are almost completed on the new LP, and i must say that we are extremely happy with this one... jise-one, swel boogie and myself have definitely found a good chemistry together and the results are great...so far features are: "kinetic energy," "great scott" and some production from DJ Doom. Also, we came out in the Sept. 18th issue of Newsweek in an article entitled "beyond ghetto fabulous: faces of a hip hop nation".... we also started a softball team called... "the arsonists" for the snow flake leagues that play throughout the fall and winter... unfortunately we lost our first 2 games but I’m quite confident that we’ll pick up the pace.... aside from that everything else is cool... peace and may the force be with you.”

08/04/00

Recording Continues
The Arsonists are more than halfway done with their new LP, Q-Unique producing 85-90% of the album, as well as picking up the mic. Jise One and Swel Boogie steppin up to bat from out of the shadows of the last LP. The best is yet to come.

08/04/00 
Whats up pyromaniax? This is Jise of The Arsonists. If you're wondering what The Arsonists is cooking up, you came to the right place.We are currently experiencing the sophmore syndrome of growing up.We like thank everyone who copped 'AS THE WORLD BURNS' and supported our live shows during the course of our first album adventures. Personally, i like to thank everyone who hooked it up! with the chronic while i was on the road. Anyway, the new album will consist of a lot of the production being played other than your average sample maniacs. There will still be samples of course, but it won't be an "all beats contain a sample from a classic record" album.The group should be hitting ya over the head with some spanking cuts.We are happy to say that it will be a totally new experience for those are looking forward to the second album.Until later, peace out! WHERE MY NIGGAS AT? WHERE MY LADIES AT? WHERE MY PYROS AT? 

07/05/00
Arsonists
The group are currently working on the their next album, tentatively scheduled for release in early 2001. Q-Unique has also finished a remix of Yo La Tengo’s “Danelectro” which might surface later this year, but that’s kinda top-secret so forget we mentioned it. 

05/03/00
The first full-fledged American tour from the Arsonists is currently under way. Check their tour dates page early and often as new dates are being added daily. You can also hear Q-Unique on the flipside of the new Mr. Len single, “What The Fuck.” “Straight” is Q’s track and you need it in your life.

04/14/00
Arsonists + Modernist: 
Live video action from Elektrip Festival

Would you love to see live Real Video footage of the Arsonists and the Modernist? If not, there is no reason to tell us about it. Arsonists Live | Modernist Live 

While the Arsonists have repeatedly toured the European continent, never have they really toured the US... that is until now. Their first full-fledged American tour got under way last weekend in Princeton, NJ with a flash and should be spending the day en route to Columbus, OH as we type. From there, they will blaze a westerly trail across the US and then down the Pacific coast. Check the tour dates early and often as new dates are being added daily. 

02/25/00
Can anyone answer the musical question "why don't you go play hide-and-go-fuck-yourself?" Probably not, as this is really a rhetorical question. But the upcoming Mr. Len 12", "What The Fuck," featuring the MC skills of Mr. Live, will provide answers for questions we haven't even thought of yet. The flipside, "Straight Up," features Q-Unique of theArsonists.

12/20/99
S.O.B.'s stands for "sounds of Brazil." At least that's what my parents told me. Arsonists and Non Phixion will be tearing it up at this legendary Varick St. venue on January 29. Kind of like a hip-hop superbowl, without the Billy Ray Cyrus halftime show (memo to research dept.: please make sure Billy Ray Cyrus isn't first on the bill.) 

12/13/99
Following some East Coast dates, the Arsonists will be returning to Europe for live activity in February and March. We received a strange letter today from someone who alleges that John "Earthquake" Tenta is a huge Arsonists fan. What are we supposed to do with this information? It wouldn't hurt if some of you people thought twice before writing to us. 

11/19/1999
The Aronsists and Non Phixion are on a new compilation out last month on Battle Axe Records/Nu Gruv Alliance called "Defenders of the Underworld." Non Phixion lead off the disc with "The Full Monty"; the Arsonists contribute a sample-heavy "Fat Laces." Other artists of note include Everlast, Defari, Kool Keith, Swollen Members, Dilated Peoples, Del, and Aceyalone. 

10/22/99
Plus: the Arsonists and Non Phixion's appearance on the 88hiphop.com Fat Beats Radio show last month is up in anaudio/video archive

10/08/99
Gerard on the 10th Anniversary shows: The Arsonists are engaged in a bitter debate over which member of the group is Kris Gillespie's personal favorite. I try to quell the uproar by telling them "this night isn't about who is Kris Gillespie's favorite, this night is about making sure Leonardo DiCaprio's fund manager gets in for free." Well, that was the wrong thing to say and it could take several hours to smooth things over. The performances are blistering, in spite of these distractions, and yes, don't worry, Leo's fund manager did manage to get in. 

10/01/99
The Arsonists and Non Phixion will be appearing live on WSOU's "Over Ya Head" radio show Sunday, Oct 3 from 10pm-12mid. Tune in to 89.5 from points in the 5 boroughs and North Jersey or http://www.nj.com/wsou/ from points beyond to hear host Trademark and the boys tear it up. Not really sure what they have up their sleeve but it is the show's one-year anniversary so I'm sure it'll be a party.

Plus! The Arsonists' Pyromaniax/Backdraft is now on The Box. Call and request #583. Then make sure you watch it. It's a phenomenal video. Really. 

09/31/99
Attention! The Arsonists chat has been moved to 11:30 EST, Thursday night at Support Online Hip-hop

09/10/99
Gerard on the London Anniversary shows: A really fun 3 days, tons of musical ground covered and all kinds of barriers shattered. Live Human were amazing, Sleater-Kinney had the room screaming, JSBX had the entire city screaming, but no one knocked out so many patrons as theArsonists. Except for maybe Bardo Pond, so we'll call it a tie.

08/20/99
As if you needed to be reminded, let me remind you once again that "As The World Burns" hits the shelves next Tuesday 8/24. And if you happen to live near New York City you also happen to be lucky: you'll have 2 chances to see the Arsonists perform live next week. On the day of release they (the best live hip hop act on Planet ROCK) will be performing for free at FAT BEATS. That's Tuesday at 4pm, 6th Avenue between 8th and 9th. Can't make it? That's OK, but don't ever let it happen again: if you purchase "As The World Burns" at Fat Beats next week you'll also receive a pass to see the Arsonists live at BOWERY BALLROOM on Saturday 8/28. The show is closed to the public (record- release party style) and supplies are limited. Both performances are guaranteed to be hotter than a Dave Matthews parking lot going up in flames.

06/18/99
On September 24th, Matador will release a specially-priced double CD/LP (OLE-400-1/2) which will have greatest hits as well as unreleased material from Matador artists (Pavement, Yo La Tengo, The Jon Spencer Blues Explosion, Solex, Mogwai, Arsonists, Cat Power and many more). On the same date, Matador will also release a VHS/DVD (OLE-400-3/4) collecting videos these and others of your favorite Matador artists. 

04/16/99
Things are still moving with the mp3 page. A new JON SPENCER BLUES EXPLOSION track will go up Monday, and you can still get "New Year" until then... also new to the mp3: a snippet from a mix tape of ARSONISTS' stuff (warning: 8k). Speaking of, we finally have what looks to be a firm street date for the Arsonists' first full length, As the World Burns: July 13. Meanwhile, those guys will be touring Europe with The Roots, among others. Dates, places, TBA shortly, really. New Yorkers can look forward to a mid-May showcase with both Arsonists and NON PHIXION at Bowery Ballroom.