There’s still time to nominate local icons for Best of D.C.
Beat Sugar—a seven-member conglomeration of vocals, trombone, sax, bass, guitar, drums, and percussion—defies genre-fication. “We play hiphop influenced by jazz, and funk more on the soul side,” says Billy Fox, the band’s drummer/manager. “Some people call it acid jazz, which is sort of a catchall phrase.” So far, only a two-song cassette bears testament to Beat Sugar’s range. The lilting “Heard Dat” is a Tribe Called Quest-y composition driven by bass, minimal drums, jazzy horns, and trombonist Cecil Washington’s conversational rap. Another offering, “Snake Monkey,” provides midtempo funk of the Luscious Jackson sort, and ends unexpectedly with electrified blues picking. The latter will be featured on the band’s first disc, due in January from D.C.’s Step Ahead Records. In the meantime, Beat Sugar plays every other Tuesday at State of the Union.