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Say Hello to Bad News Brown, Hip-Hop’s First Harmonica Player

The harmonica surely isn’t the most gangster instrument around, but it does have a storied sordid history. Whether it’s the blues, Vietnam-era political folk music, or that scene from your favorite movie with someone hitting the harp in a jailhouse, the harmonica is a cheap, easily transportable way to express your emotions. Which is why we’re happy to pass on what might be the very first hip-hop harmonica player, and it’s almost as weird as you would expect.

Meet Bad News Brown from Montreal. As he tells it, the harmonica was a way to overcome his lack of mic skills while still vibing to the sort of beats that capture the hearts of hip-hop fans. It’s actually a surprisingly unique mixture. Check out his first video for ‘Reign’:

“I started out rapping and doing spoken word,” explained Brown in an interview. “I’m no Drake. I’m no Jay-Z. I’m no Lil Wayne. I knew that was the competition. For me to try to step in the ring and try to box with people of that caliber would be futile. It’s just not gonna happen. Certain people I knew in my own entourage, I couldn’t even beat on that level… I decided to step off the scene and do something in the background.”

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