From left: Kentrell “Krispy” Lindsey and Alvin “Joey” Lindsey.
Old-school rockers often gripe that hip-hop is a bland blend of boisterous beats, empty bravado, and melodies cribbed from other people’s albums. But there is one group they can appreciate: The Knux, who deftly blur the lines between rap and rock, with a little six-string sting to go with the bling and singing to balance their rapping, as evidenced on their sophomore album, Eraser. It all seems natural given that their disparate influences include The Rolling Stones, Nas, Wu-Tang, The Stooges, The Clash, Nirvana, Jimi Hendrix, and Juvenile.
The duo—brothers Kentrell “Krispy” Lindsey (vocals and programming) and Alvin “Joey” Lindsey (vocals and guitars)—originally hail from the Big Easy but got displaced by Katrina to La-La Land, where they fell for the climate and have thrived ever since, bucking trends and making and playing music they love.
Some feel The Knux’s first album had a lo-fi rock vibe à la The White Stripes and The Strokes, but the ghost of Romeo Void rears its head on the new album’s track “She’s So Up.” “On this album we went New Wavy,” says Joey.
“We’ve always been fans of the post-punk stuff,” adds Krispy. “It was super open. Sonically I’ve always liked those Def Leppard mixes from the ’80s, all those Bob Rock mixes. They were super big. I always thought that if you could match the quality of the post-punk bands with those producers—think about that, man.”
With sex, rap, and rock ’n’ roll, it’s no wonder the siblings chose to do an NSFW video featuring a model for “Run” (featuring Kid Cudi). After all, they know models, so why not show the whirlwind life that one leads accompanied by song? “You think it’s cool to be a model?” asks Krispy. “My friend is a model, and she is out all day and night. She had to get up at 6 o’clock in the morning. It’s not a glamorous life to be a model unless you’re Kate Moss. I just wanted to show it from that point of view—a whole day of craziness. By the end of the day you need coke to stay up.”
Unlike the model muse in their video, the brothers have plenty of ink, including matching ladybugs on their right hands. But Joey definitely has more work. “He would hallucinate on drugs and then just go get crazy shit,” says Krispy, who is not kidding. “He’s been sleeved up for about six or seven years.”
Joey’s ink represents both freedom and his past. “It’s about all free mind, man, not being bound by the matrix,” he says. “That’s what all my tattoos mean.” His ink includes a bald eagle on his neck, an old revolver, Buddha, tribal tattoos, and a cherub. He has a few words of significance, including “Kill Your Idols” on his chest, “We Are The Indigos,” and “Free Mind.” His oldest tattoo is his name, which he got when he was 15. “My mom saw it and punched me in the arm,” he says. It’s since been covered up by a samurai cutting the head off of a dragon.
Krispy’s left arm mostly represents where he is from, while his right is more about his love, his passion. He’s got a Knux tattoo, Felix the Cat, “Le Chic Freak” (his old music label), “Krispy Creme,” “Rebel,” and an unfinished sacred heart. He’s planning to get his back done with a portrait of himself.
Anyone who meets the duo quickly ascertains that Krispy is the dominant brother. He’s the elder bro who does the teasing and bullying. He’s also a chatterbox. Joey is quieter, piping up only when he has something insightful to say: “A lot of rappers only consider themselves to be rappers and not artists. When you consider yourself an artist you invest in every aspect of your music. You want to be involved in everything. But when you think like a rapper, you’re like, Yo, give me something and I’m gonna put some words on top of it. … That’s not putting much thought into your creative process.” —Bryan Reesman