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Tuesday, July 2, 2013 12:00 am

Tonight at Bar None: The Evolution of CornBread

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Cornfucius himself

Springfield was deprived of one of its most clever, charismatic and confrontational musicians when long-time hip-hop producer-rapper-instrumentalist CornBread (real name Andre Middleton)  recently relocated to California, where he is pursuing a degree from the Los Angeles Recording School. Cornbread is back in town this week for vacation and will be headlining his own 'Dojo Dungeon" show as part of Bar None's Torch Tuesday tonight. The bill extends from CornBread's long-time running partner Agent Orange, to Champaign's Doc Quinn (formerly I2K), and Grill Billyenz from Bloomington-Normal.

Those familiar with CornBread's previous persona of 'Corn the Coon' may be in for a surprise with tonight's performance. "It's kind of a re-branding," says CornBread. "Friends and family say I've been enlightened, so I'm callin' myself Cornfucius." He says his new material, some of which he will be debuting tonight, is a little more mature than the old stuff, which was sometimes alienating in its often humorous hostility."I don't wanna say the new stuff is less vulgar, because that's part of what got me here," he says. " Even though I personally love [the Corn the Coon persona] it just didn't translate into mass appeal. No offense, but white people aren't gonna buy 'The Coon.' I just want it to be a little more accessible." He plans to release a new EP for free download on or near his upcoming birthday of July 12. "As far as rap style and what I'm sayin', though, we're still goin' ass-to-mouth," he says, invoking one of his more vivid catchphrases, one he also had his mother read when she accepted his 2012 Torch Tuesday Award for Best Mix Tape . "She told me 'When I said that, it was like I told the funniest joke in the world. I didn't understand it, but it's not for me to understand,' " he laughs.

For CornBread, the last year or so has been all about expanding his horizons. Before moving to LA for his education, he spent some time in the Champaign hip-hop scene, which was much more varied and forward-looking than what he was used to. "Because of the U of I  you have a lot more open-mindedness towards new things, and there's both the campus scene and the townies - everything from frat boy rappers to your underground dudes like myself, even to experimental people." His advice to others would be to follow his example and explore the world. "It doesn't have to be Cali, if you wanna go to Amsterdam, go to Amsterdam," he chortles. "If I can do it, anyone can do it "

As for what to expect from tonight's show CornBread is eager to expand on the 'Dojo Dungeon' martial arts analogy. "First we're gonna do a little warm up, run some exercises, any questions we gonna handle after the class. It's mainly gonna be four dominant styles: Red Scare Tactics;  H2O Technique; my man Agent Orange does Gin Jitsu; and finally the art of Niggerate."

The show begins at 9:00 at Bar None (corner of 5th & Monroe), hosted by Uncanny with music by DJ YATTI DNY. Ladies admission is free before 10:00. 

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