Miami natives Problem Kids aren’t simply a band or solely a hip hop group. Their frontmen are two emcees, who are joined by a full band and a DJ. Between all of those different group members, the band can easily flit through hip hop influences, bring in some Latin, and finish off with some blues – all in one song.
Recently, they released an Open Letter to Jay Z entitled ‘Useful Idiot’, bringing in the Cuban American perspective into the debate. Before their show at The Stage this Friday, the Problem Kids shared why they felt the need to make this song, plus shared details about new upcoming music:
Your group has two emcees, a full band, and a DJ. How does each group member influence the overall sound you create?
What we love about the band is how many different ideas we can come up with for one song. It's like the song starts off very vanilla, with the original idea in place. By the time the song is finished and everyone has put their little touches on the track, it becomes that much more alive. The communication factor is incredible, so the ideas come together very easily.
There was the recent release of the Jay Z open letter track; why did you feel it was so important to put your perspective out there?
When we first heard the song, we just felt like we needed to inform Jay-Z of how we, as Cuban-Americans, viewed the whole vacation and the whole "Open Letter" song. We feel it's important because there are misconceptions about life in Cuba. When women can't walk in the streets and express themselves without getting beaten and thrown in a jail, that's something the whole world needs to know about. We felt that with music, the voices of of those being persecuted would be heard. The purpose of the song wasn't for recognition, it was for freedom and for the love of Cuba.
How do you hope the Cuban - American community reacts to this track?
The response has been pretty crazy already. We have had family members calling us and becoming very emotional at the fact that the younger generation has such passionate feelings about Cuba. Most of the older generations doesn't really think we care and keep up with what is going on in Cuba, but some of us actually do. And if you hear the song you can understand that these aren't made up emotions. This is us speaking for our grandparents and those before them who were persecuted and left with nothing. This is us speaking for our family. For our people.
This Friday you'll be performing at The Stage, opening for Miami's own Uncle Luke. Are there any other Miami groups you'd love to perform with?
It is really an honor to be playing and having Uncle Luke there to host the first "Throwback Series" show. We wish we could tell more about Friday night, but pretty much you'll have to be there to see for yourself. We have some cool things planned, including some surprises from the Video Vixen ladies. In regards to other Miami groups, we want to play with whoever is about all about putting on a great night of Music. The scene down isn't where we would like it to be, so it's on all of as artists to turn this city into what we think it can become musically. So any groups out there who want to put on a show, we're in!
What are the future plans in terms of an album or tour?
We are working on the next album as we speak. We put out an album last August, so hopefully by the same time this year the new one will be ready to go. As far as a tour, we are in talks with some Miami artists about taking our talents (see what we did there) up Florida and rocking some shows hopefully around the same time the album is dropped.
What are the albums/songs that are vibing within your group?
Our group is very diverse with the music that we listen too, but we are also very old school at heart. You could be walking in the studio one day and there could be tribe called quest in one room, and tool playing in the other. Of the new artists out, we really vibe with the new Kendrick album, J Cole, Bruno Mars, maybe even a little Justin Timberlake to make the ladies happy! Haha. Finally seems like maybe that true essence of music is coming back. Hopefully we can add to that.