Jon Braman: Ukelele Hip Hop

Fridays And Saturdays

Fridays And Saturdays




"The 99" Video

Feat. MaG and Webbafied

NYC-based singer-songwriter Jon Braman carries and plays the ukulele everywhere he goes. His unique style of music, which combines Jon’s rapping and ukulele playing with a live hip-hop band, was born after listening to Outkast’s classic album ‘Southernplayalisticadillacmuzic’. With drums, bass, keys, horns, beatbox, harmonies and sparring with fellow MCs - the Jon Braman Band is a truly one-of-a-kind musical experience going down right now in NYC. Folkies and indie rockers vibe with the living-room aesthetic, hip hop heads and poets get hooked on the flow, and no one expects a ukulele to provide such a driving foundation. As one reviewer put it, “Imagine Outkast had a baby, and it was Jimmy Buffet.”

Dubbed ‘Father of ukulele hip hop’ in 2007 by the Washington City Paper, Braman hasn’t looked back. He has opened for ukulele world champion, Jake Shimabukuro at Gramercy Theater, is the resident songwriter for WBAI’s Artsy Fartsy show (99.5 FM), is a three-time Mountain Stage NewSong regional finalist and co-hosts’ monthly underground cross-genre musical phenomenon, 'The Melting Pot' at Pianos in NYC’s Lower Eastside. His most recent album, a special-edition of 'You and Me' was released in January 2013.


The ukulele is not a genre.

“It's just small and easy to carry around. Music is music. Hip hop isn't a brand name.”
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Picture the scene. It's Wed night circa 9 pm and you're in a dark lounge on the Lower East Side. On the poorly lit stage are about 6 or 7 people. Drums, bass, keys, sax, trombone. The guy in the middle has just started a pulsing, steady groove on what looks like a 4-stringed acoustic guitar. Then the bass and drums drop, and people at the bar who had been talking suddenly get quiet and turn around. The guy with the ukulele steps to the mic.

When the words start, that's when your heart starts. As the story is told, the harmonies and horns swell up like a wave around you. With a sudden flood of electricity, you understand all at once that the music, the city, is alive, coming to life right before your eyes. And you think: this is it. Read More