How FEVER 333 Are Reviving Rap-Rock, With Help From Travis Barker


A wave of rap-rock is rising — and it’s far faraway from the boorish, white-washed pressure that dogged the style’s turn-of-the-millennium heyday led by acts like Limp Bizkit. Hyro the Hero, a black artist from Houston, spent 11 weeks on Billboard’s Mainstream Rock Songs chart in late 2018 with “Bullet,” a cry in opposition to police brutality. Fire From the Gods, an Austin mixed-race metallic band, labored rap and antiracist messaging into two latest albums for hard-rock standby Rise Records.

But no act is healthier capitalizing on this pattern than Los Angeles-based FEVER 333, whose incendiary single “Made an America” just lately spent 20 consecutive weeks on Mainstream Rock Songs and earned a Grammy nomination for finest rock efficiency. The tune’s lyrics assault state-sanctioned violence (“Cop vehicles, true killers and so they nonetheless at giant”), and its video reveals frontman (and director) Jason Aalon Butler pressured into shackled labor and a minstrel-like tune and dance whereas a white viewers appears on. (The 3s within the band’s title signify C, the third letter within the alphabet, and stand for neighborhood, charity and alter.)

“Punk rock and hip-hop have at all times shared DNA,” says Butler, a 33-year-old Inglewood, Calif., native who’s half-African-American, half-Scottish-American. “They’re difficult and subversive. A variety of hip-hop has been punk rock and adopting its beliefs sonically and aesthetically.”

FEVER 333 shaped in early 2017 after an opportunity encounter between Butler and Blink-182 drummer Travis Barker, who has labored with rappers like Juice WRLD and Kid Cudi. After Butler’s outdated band broke up, he was promoting vegan cookies in an upscale Calabasas, Calif., grocery store to help himself and his pregnant spouse. Barker, who acknowledged him from seeing his band play, struck up a dialog. “We had been speaking about Bad Brains, Rage Against the Machine, what was lacking from rock music,” remembers Barker. “I stated, ‘We ought to create one thing.’ ”

After including guitarist Stephen Harrison and drummer Aric Improta, FEVER 333 signed with Roadrunner Records and enlisted Barker and John Feldmann (5 Seconds of Summer, Underoath) for songwriting and manufacturing assists. Its 2018 debut single, “Walking in My Shoes,” spent 19 weeks on Mainstream Rock Songs, peaking at No. eight. “Made an America” adopted, serving to the band’s first album, Strength in Numb333rs, enter at No. four on the Heatseekers Albums chart in February.

Barker believes that teams like FEVER 333 are “creating a brand new style of actually heavy, aggressive music influenced by rap.” Says Butler: “If guitar-based music goes to outlive, it has to evolve. There’s this bizarre backlash in plenty of purist rock, individuals who really feel as if it shouldn’t go any additional, and that’s probably the most harmful factor you are able to do in any type of artwork.”

This article initially appeared within the March 2. problem of Billboard.