An assortment of voices—different ages, genders, races—speak over a tense, clipped groove. Phrases overlap, offering definitions of a word while a beat snaps and propulsive strings bite and race up and down a scale. “A stereotype is an often unclear and untrue belief” says one; “a standardized mental picture” echoes another. Eventually, one voice settles in out front, explaining the responsibility that comes with a stereotype—“it gives me a goal, something to try to debunk.”
The opening and title track to Stereotypes, the major-label debut by Black Violin, serves as a mission statement for an ambitious and groundbreaking group. Wil Baptiste (viola) and Kev Marcus (violin) are a string duo from Florida with equal footing in the worlds of classical music and hip-hop. Though they have been playing together since high school, with Stereotypes, they take a great leap forward, from admirable rarities to significant innovators.