Don’t get the wrong impression about Pradigy GT. The Charlotte group may combine rap with pop hooks, live drums and heavier rock guitar, but that doesn’t mean the Charlotte trio is your older brother’s rap-rock. That term made a lot of critics recoil in the ’90s, but while Pradigy shares some of those elements, its updated version is more infectious than polarizing.
On the long-awaited new album “About Damn Time,” the trio of Reggie Jamerson (aka Pradigy Musicman), guitarist Ben Huffman and drummer Patrick Cannon (no relation to the former mayor) dole out pop-rap singalongs, slow-building rock attacks, shadows of mid-tempo R&B balladry, Latin rhythms, and snappy punk, but it’s all fun, party music.
“One thing that separates us is people want to dance (to it),” says vocalist/guitarist Jamerson, sitting with his bandmates in BNR Promotions’ downtown office.
That danceable rock makes it a good fit with LGBT-friendly pop punk/dance diva Eryn Woods at the Milestone on Monday.
Jamerson conceived Pradigy as a way to combine the guitar playing he took up in college with his previous endeavors as a beat maker and rapper, but the mashup could be a hurdle in the band’s early days.
“In the beginning we struggled to get shows,” he says. He recalls at least one local club responding to the band’s booking request with “We don’t allow rap in this house.”
Eventually that lack of boundaries translated to versatility. It shared the Tremont stage with metal and hard rock bands and eventually worked itself up to playing Speed Street and CIAA events. The band admits it wasn’t a clear fit for the latter and had to win over the crowd. Now it’s paired with Woods.
“Being put in that ‘other’ box was weird, but we played with interesting groups. We took those opportunities and went in a more rock route,” explains Cannon.
The younger the crowd the better, Jamerson adds. But music in general is more diverse than it was when Pradigy started seven or eight years ago.
“Music’s changed so much since we became a group. Rappers didn’t sing or play guitar. Lil Wayne picks up a guitar and it’s cool,” says Jamerson. “People are way more open-minded.”
Pradigy’s sound may be a result of its members’ varied backgrounds and tastes. Cannon grew up playing in marching band in Florida. He calls Dave Matthews Band his favorite artist.
Huffman, a die-hard Metallica fan growing up, played cello in orchestra before turning to guitar. His current inspiration is Slash, while Jamerson counts Red Hot Chili Peppers as his favorite.
“About Damn Time” was a long time coming thanks to an arduous mixing process, which included input from BNR and veteran producer Bruce Irvine (Anthony Hamilton).
Radio appears to be the group’s next hurdle. Its received favorable reviews from fans on Rude Jude’s “Hate It or Love It” segment on Sirius/XM’s Shade 45 – Eminem’s hip-hop channel – and here at home on WEND 106.5’s new-rock station.
While the industry may not have figured out where they fit, it helps that the band has found its own identity.
“We’ve matured to where we know who we are,” says Jamerson. “And that’s a huge thing.”
“We’ve grown so much,” Huffman adds, noting that there’s more singing and Jamerson has slowed his delivery to make his lyrics and message clearer. “We’re much better musicians and songwriters now.”
WHEN: 9 p.m. Monday.
WHERE: The Milestone Club, 3400 Tuckaseegee Road.