Top 100 Artists of the Decade: #52 Thievery Corporation
The Top 100 Artists of the Decade list will be posted over the course of 100 days. On September 23rd, we will post one artist and continue every day until December 31st, when we will unveil our #1 artist of the decade!
Please read our introduction to learn about our nominating and ordering process.
#52 Thievery Corporation
Some people think that Thievery Corporation is a bit on the light weight side, probably due to their high-production quality. Thievery produces dewntempo trip hop that could easily be at home at a soulless yuppie eatery. But such a crowd might give pause if they actually were listening to the music or could hear the decidedly left-wing messages.
Thievery Corporation, a DJ duo consisting of Rob Garza and Eric Hilton, have remained one of the more politically outspoken acts in the music business through the Bush years. Read any interview with these guys and - rather than talking the usual bunk about their tour or influences - they're full-on into rants against the establish order of the music industry, the country, the war, bad art, etc. (Radio Retaliation, their most recent album features Comandante Marcos on the cover). Their typically edgy views couple nicely with their musical influences many of which rest on political origins - hip hop, reggae, dub, tropicalismo. Thievery seamlessly envelopes these sounds in a trippy and subtly complex lounge veneer.
Garza and Hilton also dispense with genre expectations, managing to create a "world" sound across diverse styles, without being thought of as a "world music" duo (no small feat in the genre-specific early '00s). Their broad international musical influences are matched by lyrics that span English, Spanish, French, Persian, Portuguese, Romanian and Hindi.
Their guests performers are also usually musicians with a history of contrarian musical and social approaches, e.g., Perry Ferrell, Q-Tip, David Byrne, and Wayne Coyne of Flaming Lips.
Check back tomorrow for the next artist! To see the full list of the Top 100 Artists of the Decade, click here.