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Music, Performance & Film

Kassa Overall w/ Black Assets

Album Release Party

Wed, Jun 14th 7:30 pm in the The Theater

General Admission Tickets
Members Tickets
Virtual Streaming Tickets
Kassa Overall

Photo by Patrick O’Brien Smith, 2023

“One of modern jazz music’s most audacious futurists” Pitchfork

Seattle-based drummer, producer and emcee Kassa Overall premieres his new single “Ready To Ball,” the first release with his new label, Warp Records. Kassa joins a fresh generation of talent evolving the British label’s legacy of producing groundbreaking adventures in sound and vision. His limitless talents for rhythmic exploration, both as a virtuosic jazz drummer and as a visionary producer, make him a kindred spirit for the pioneering label.

Kassa’s solo work melds avant-garde experimentation with hip-hop production techniques to tilt the nexus of jazz and rap in unmapped directions. His message is equally as visionary, often speaking on his own mental health struggles and the turmoil within the collective consciousness.

Continuing in this vein, “Ready to Ball” is a meticulous collage that blends electronic and live, acoustic elements. The song is both infectious and internally conflicted, reflecting the two-sided coin of hustle culture. Written after Kassa returned to Seattle in 2020 after living in New York City for many years, the track follows a period of reckoning, with shadows lurking beneath the song’s anthemic, money-chasing hook. Kassa explains,

“On an emotional level, the song is really dealing with feelings of jealousy. It’s also an affirmation, to not get lost in the hustle of upward mobility. How bad do we want the shiny things? How much will we bend ourselves to get them? At times I feel like, damn bro, it’s so much of a struggle and a hustle to just keep it going that I don’t have time to make sure my mental health and my soul is cool. That’s basically the polarity right there.”

Prior to signing with Warp, Kassa released two studio albums, Go Get Ice Cream and Listen to Jazz (2019) and I Think I’m Good (2020). The two projects fused his various influences and musical lives into one groundbreaking sound that layered the virtuosic drumming, polyrhythmic rapping, and meticulous production techniques that he had been honing separately. His own voice began to crystallize too, as he learned to channel his revolutionary, poetic wisdom into critiques of the carceral system and anti-Black racism, while speaking on his own struggles with mental illness.

His projects are also a masterclass in curation and arrangement, drawing on his close community of friends and fellow musicians for contributions, including many of today’s leading minds in the jazz and hip-hop space. Previous projects have included contributions from Angela Davis, Vijay Iyer, Arto Lindsay, Cecile McLorin Salvant, and many more. A protégé of jazz greats like drummer Billy Hart and pianist Geri Allen, Kassa has worked with a diverse array of vanguard artists, including Yoko Ono, Jon Batiste, Francis and the Lights, and many others. “Ready To Ball” marks an exciting new evolution in Kassa’s already storied career with more to come soon.


“Kassa is a pre-eminent style bender and blender, successfully juxtaposing genres through his production expertise and use of melodic and harmonic forms that deftly integrate the new with the old.” –Terri Lyne Carrington for The New York Times

“It’s not another jazz-meets-hip-hop scrum: It’s the sound of whole new lanes opening up.”NPR’s All Things Considered

“[Kassa’s] artistic arc is increasingly taking him into creative spaces without easy categorization. It’s the sound of an artist raising his game. Powerful shit!” Afropunk

About Black Assets
Ashley Lakayla Yates, also known by the stage name of ‘Black Assets’, is a dynamic vocalist/singer-songwriter from Itta Bena, Mississippi, whose art is committed to reflecting the experience of Black people in the United States. Black later moved to Baltimore, MD, where her music career blossomed. Her southern roots combined with her Baltimore Charm molded Black into a Powerhouse Soul, Funk, lndie, Rock Songstress. Black Assets is Soul Personified and a shining example of how eliminating self doubt can transform a once negative perception into positivity. She’s captivatingly passionate and pure talent. Her most recent single, “Being Black,” is an eloquent display of her talents. She wrote the lyrics, produced the song, and designed the cover art. She is also the creator of The Living Room Social (TLRS), a platform for musicians and music lovers in the Maryland area whose purpose is to make and experience music together in the name of love, peace, and light. For the past 3 years, TLRS has curated over 75 shows, boasting loyal audiences of over 200 people per show. A natural leader, Black Assets’ music is directly rooted within her community and when she sings, she gives an on fire performance!

Thank You!

This engagement of Kassa Overall is made possible through the Jazz Touring Network program of Mid Atlantic Arts with support from the National Endowment for the Arts.

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