Former Antipop Consortium instigator Beans lays down relentless, out-of-this-world beats with highly poeticized and simply mind-boggling lyrics. Leading the hip-hop underground along with such tweaked luminaries as El-P and the Def Jux crew, Prefuse 73, and the Anticon collective, Beans brings to hip-hop an ear for uncompromising experimentalism and intellectual wordplay. Raised in White Plains, New York, Beans (aka Mr. Ballbeam), was a member of the influential Brooklyn Boom Poetic Collective. He then found acclaim merging hip-hop with electronica as one-third of the influential N.Y.C. progressive rap outfit Antipop Consortium. The group, formed in 1997, released three full-lengths (culminating with the sophisticated and cerebral Arrhythmia on Warp Records) and then a collaboration with free jazz maestro Matthew Shipp.
In 2000, Beans gave the world the first taste of his solo work with the Nude Paper 12" on Mo Wax. But it wasn't until the breakup of the Consortium that he released his solo full-length debut. Tomorrow Right Now, put out by Warp in 2003, found Beans grafting Antipop's way-out B-boy surrealism to a true pop core. After a series of tours with acts as diverse as the Rapture, Out Hud, El-P, Prefuse 73, and Mike Ladd, Beans recorded his follow-up, the Now, Soon, Someday EP -- including remixes by Prefuse 73 and El-P -- released in January of 2004. The full-length Shock City Maverick landed that same year and was followed in 2006 by Only, a collaboration with avant-garde jazzers William Parker and Hamid Drake for the Thirsty Ear label's Blue Series. His 2008 effort, Thorns, found him handling his own production, while 2011’s End It All featured guest producers like Four Tet, Clark, and Interpol’s Sam Fogarino. The latter release also signaled a move to the Anticon label. Also in 2011, Beans reteamed with HPrizm, Matthew Shipp, and William Parker for the album Knives from Heaven. ~ Charles Spano