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| @thunderheist


Canada's electronic rap duo Thunderheist -- MC Isis and producer Grahm Zilla -- combine their love of old-school hip-hop with beats that draw on synth-disco, electro, and booty bass to make trendy party music that attempts to avoid ironic hipster detachment without taking itself too seriously. In 2006, on the suggestion of mutual friends, Zilla (aka Graham Bertie) of Montreal, the son of an Olympic wrestler and a struggling producer primarily focused on crafted J Dilla-inspired hip-hop beats under the name Metrix, got in touch (via MySpace) with the Nigerian-born, Toronto-raised Isis (Omalola Isis Salami), whose fledgling underground rap career was starting to bear fruit. Though they sent a few tracks back and forth, the collaboration didn't click until Bertie unwittingly e-mailed her a copy of a Spank Rock remix he had done under his dance-oriented Thunderheist moniker; though the file had been intended for somebody else, Isis loved it and the germ of the duo's sound was born. They made waves on music blogs in 2007 with the prominently Eurythmics-sampling "Suenos Dulces," but, despite rumors of major-label interest, the duo chose to focus primarily on touring and building an audience for the next few years, dropping several buzzed-about singles ("Bubblegum" in 2007 and "Jerk It" in 2008) and a self-titled, self-released EP rather than cranking out an album. In the meantime, "Jerk It" was featured in the soundtrack to Darren Aronofsky's The Wrestler, and Isis contributed vocals to a track from MSTRKRFT's Fist of God album. By the time Thunderheist's eponymous debut was released by Big Dada in the spring of 2009, most of its tracks were already several years old, although a few cuts pointed toward a newer, less rap-based direction. ~ K. Ross Hoffman, Rovi