One of hip-hop’s newest and brightest underground stars is about to shine bright on the music scene. The Thunderkatz have signed onto Irv Gotti’s The Inc record label. Gotti, clearly impressed with the level of talent within the group as seen here, signed The Thunderkatz as part of his image revamping and goal of broadening his label’s music oeuvre. He announced the signing while the band was closing their set at the world-famous Masquerade in Atlanta. The Inc (formerly known as Murder Inc) records currently still hosts Ashanti and Ja Rule; however, they have also signed Vanessa Carlton to their label.
The Thunderkatz are an Atlanta-based group that turned many heads last year at BMI’s unsigned artist contest. They played in several New York high-vis venues such as The Piano Room and the now-defunct CBGB’s. The Thunderkatz- a wild mix of soul-singing, hip-hop and rock beats- beat out all others to win Best Unsigned Band in the showcase that was hosted by Lil’ Jon. The group boasts 6 touring members that are all prominent musicians in their own right. Even the lead singer, Ginger, is an accomplished guitar and piano player. Their front man, Del (a/k/a 080) was a production assistant at the Hit Factory in New York. They originally signed with Wall Street records while based in New York. After winning the BMI contest, The Thunderkatz moved to Atlanta, Georgia, and established their music act in the college and underground scene.
The Thunderkatz have previously released one CD titled New Age Urban Hip-Hop Rockolistics, featuring the single “Pop Lock”. They list their influences as mostly from movies: The Goonies, Ferris Beuller’s Day Off, and The Breakfast Club.
The signing doesn’t come without a little bit of controversy. Irv Gotti was recently on New York City’s premiere urban music station Hot 97 discussing his musical tastes and future plans as a label head. He mentioned The Thunderkatz and gave a passing comparison of them to The Black Eyed Peas. Although he was mainly giving a surface comparison based on The Thunderkatz surface look (multi-cultural group members with a white lead singing female), many current fans disagreed and worried that the comparison could disrespect the group as a whole since The Thunderkatz are accomplished musicians that play their instruments live during the show unlike the very commercial and popular Black Eyed Peas. 080 is quoted in their MySpace blog as stating that the “ThunderKatz are not only recording artist but we are a live band that in our short existence of 2 years have grown a deep history in the live performance arena.” He also points out that they were one of the very few “hip-hop” labeled groups that earned a spot at playing in CBGB’s, a venue traditionally known for punk and harder-sounding bands.
Stay tuned for more updates.