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CunninLynguists are an American hip hop trio from Lexington, Kentucky[1] and Atlanta, Georgia. The group currently consists of Deacon the Villain, Kno, and Natti.


The group's debut LP, Will Rap for Food, was released in October 2001, and was described by Pitchfork Media as "a solid, accessible debut, filled with clever rhymes and tremendously consistent production".[2][3] Their second LP, SouthernUnderground, was independently released April 1, 2003 on Freshchest Records. The album saw Mr. SOS join the group and featured guests including Masta Ace, Supastition and others, with production from Domingo, RJD2 and Kno.[2] M.F. DiBella of Allmusic commented on "a lyrical deftness and genuine feel for the music rarely seen in the bling-conscious rap of the latter-day era".[4]

The group landed a distribution contract with Caroline Distribution in 2004, and SouthernUnderground was the first project re-released after inking the deal with Will Rap For Food being re-released shortly thereafter in 2005.[2]

The group toured throughout the U.S. and Canada in 2003, 2004 and 2005, appearing onstage alongside acts like Nappy Roots, Cee-Lo Green of Goodie Mob and touring extensively with People Under the Stairs, Raekwon of Wu-Tang Clan and Brand Nubian. In 2003, Kno created his own remixed version of Jay-Z's The Black Album with The White Albulum.[5]

CunninLynguists released their third LP, A Piece of Strange, worldwide on January 24, 2006 via Caroline Records and Groove Attack Distribution. With Mr. SOS now having left the group and Natti joining,[2][6] it featured guest spots from Cee-Lo Green, Immortal Technique and Tonedeff and is entirely produced by Kno.[7] The release of A Piece of Strange saw the profile for the group rise, as they toured abroad multiple times[8] in support of the release appearing live alongside such acts as Kanye West,[9] Pharrell Williams,[8] The Strokes[8] and more. Hype gave the album a five star review describing it as "the best album of the last 12 months".[10] URB gave the album four stars, describing it as "a piece of beauty, a soulful and sweeping assemblage of cuts that ride a steady wave of infectious momentum",[11] while The A.V. Club commented on Kno's "masterful, adventurous production".[12]

CunninLynguists released their fourth LP, Dirty Acres on November 27, 2007 through a joint venture between their own label APOS Music and Swedish-based label Bad Taste Records.[13] Produced entirely by Kno, it features artists such as Devin the Dude, Phonte of Little Brother and Witchdoctor,[14] and was described by CMJ New Music Monthly as "a defiant album that questions everything, even the assumed standards of hip hop".[15] It was lauded by Michael Kabran of PopMatters as "easily one of the best hip-hop albums of 2007 and arguably one of the best albums of the past decade".[16] CunninLynguists made their way across the United States, Europe and Canada in support of the album, headlining the Dirty Acres Tour in 3 parts over the course of 2008.[17]

CunninLynguists have been covered in various media outlets including The Source, URB, Spin, XLR8R, Import Tuner, and The Onion.

In 2010, producer Kno released his album Death Is Silent. On December 21, the group released the artwork and March 22 release date of their upcoming album Oneirology on their Facebook page.

In 2011, CunninLynguists released their fifth LP, Oneirology, to critical acclaim.

In 2013, Kno formed a new group, Built to Fade, with vocalists Dane Ferguson, Zoe Wick and Anna Wise (of Sonnymoon). The band released their debut album To Dust on November 12.[18]

In 2014, CunninLynguists released their sixth LP, Strange Journey Volume Three, to critical acclaim. This year, CunninLinguists' lexicon was also found to be one of the richest among anglophone rappers.[19]


Kno (Ryan Wisler)[20] and Deacon the Villain are the founding and current members of CunninLynguists and have been found on every CunninLynguists album thus far since the group's inception in March 2000. Deacon and Kno met at Club Kaya in Atlanta, Georgia at an event for the now defunct Blaze Magazine that included various members of Atlanta's own Dungeon Family.[21] CunninLynguists would later go on to work with various Dungeon Family members such as Cee-Lo Green,[22] Big Rube,[22] Khujo Goodie,[23] EJ The Witchdoctor[22] and Killer Mike,[23] with the latter comparing CunninLynguists' sound to Dungeon Family "in its heyday".[23]

Kno, hailing from Georgia and currently residing in Atlanta, has been described as "one of the top loop-miners east of the Mississippi" by URB. He produced the majority of Will Rap For Food, SouthernUnderground, A Piece of Strange, Sloppy Seconds 2 and Dirty Acres and has also received acclaim in The New York Times, Rolling Stone, and other magazines for his remix of Jay-Z's Black Album, entitled Kno vs. Hov "The White Albulum".

Hailing from Versailles, Kentucky, Deacon the Villain is also an established producer. His beats have been used by the likes of KRS-One,[24] King Tee, and J-Ro from Tha Liks, as well as local Kentucky artists such as Rob Jackson and Bonafide Circle.

Kentucky-based emcee Natti has been involved in the group from November 2004 until the present (appearing on all material since Sloppy Seconds Volume 2). Natti has released his first solo album, Still Motion, on September 24 (September 30 in CD form).

As of January 2006, the duo of Kno and Deacon have begun work as a production duo under the banner A Piece of Strange Music, currently producing for Devin the Dude, Lil' Scrappy, Immortal Technique and others.

Florida-based emcee Mr. SOS was a part of CunninLynguists from July 2002 to October 2004 (appearing mainly on SouthernUnderground and Sloppy Seconds Volume 1).


Studio albums

  • Will Rap for Food
    • Released: October 20, 2001
    • Label: Urban Acres Entertainment
    • Re-Released: January 25, 2005
    • Label: Freshchest Records
  • SouthernUnderground
    • Released: April 1, 2003
    • Re-Released: April 20, 2004
    • Label: Freshchest Records
  • A Piece of Strange
    • Released: January 24, 2006
    • Label: QN5 Music, L.A. Underground
  • Dirty Acres
    • Released: November 27, 2007
    • Label: APOS Music
  • Oneirology
    • Release Date: March 22, 2011
    • Label: APOS Music


  • Sloppy Seconds Volume One
    • Released: July 29, 2003
    • Label: Freshchest Records
  • Sloppy Seconds Volume Two
    • Released: May 23, 2005
    • Label: QN5 Music, L.A. Underground
  • Strange Journey Volume One
    • Pre-Release Date: March 24, 2009
    • Release Date: May 26, 2009
    • Label: APOS Music
  • Strange Journey Volume Two
    • Release Date: November 3, 2009
    • Label: APOS Music
  • Strange Journey Volume Three
    • Release Date: April 1, 2014
    • Label: Bad Taste Records


  • "So Live!"/"Thugged Out Since Cub Scouts" b/w "616 Rewind"
  • "Seasons" b/w "Sunrise, Sunset"
  • "Dirtay" b/w "Smoke Out" (Cashmere the Pro)
  • "Yellow Lines"
  • "Mexico" b/w "Wonderful"
  • "Never Come Down (The Brownie Song)"
  • "Cocaine"
  • "Don't Leave (When Winter Comes)" b/w "Nothing But Strangeness"
  • "Running Wild"
  • "To Be for Real"
  • "Imperial"
  • "Stars Shine Brightest (In The Darkest Of Night)"
  • "Hard As They Come (Act I)"
  • "Darkness (Dream On)"


  1. Hess, Mickey (2009) Hip Hop in America: A Regional Guide: Volume 1: East Coast and West Coast, Greenwood Press, ISBN 978-0-313-34323-0, p. x
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 Jeffries, David "[CunninLynguists at All Music Guide CunninLynguists Biography]", Allmusic, retrieved 2010-04-12
  3. Kallman (2003) "CunninLynguists Southernunderground", Pitchfork Media, May 18, 2003, retrieved 2010-04-12
  4. DiBella, M.F. "[CunninLynguists at All Music Guide Southernunderground Review]", Allmusic, retrieved 2010-04-12
  5. Johnson, T. Hasan: "The Black Album Remix Phenomenon", in Hess, Mickey (2007) Icons of hip hop: an encyclopedia of the movement, music, and culture, Volume 2, Greenwood Press, ISBN 978-0-313-33904-2, p. 535-6
  6. Strock, Owen (2005) "CunninLynguists A Piece of Strange", CMJ New Music Monthly, retrieved 2010-04-12
  7. Walker, Verbal (2005) "Cunninlynguists new projects", HipHopDX, June 3, 2005, retrieved 2010-04-12
  8. 8.0 8.1 8.2, [1] Retrieved on November, 2006
  9., [2] Retrieved on November, 2006
  10. "CunninLynguists A Piece of Strange", Hype, 2006
  11. Polowy, Kevin (2006) "Cunninlynguists - A Piece of Strange", URB
  12. Rabin, Nathan (2005) "A Piece Of Strange / Chain Letters", The A.V. Club, October 26, 2005, retrieved 2010-04-12
  13., [3] Retrieved on November, 2007
  14. YouTube CunninLynguists Dirty Acres
  15. Youssef, Emily (2007) "CunninLynguists Dirty Acres", CMJ New Music Monthly, December 2007, retrieved 2010-04-12
  16. Kabran, Michael (2009) "CunninLynguists, Alliteration, and a Strange Journey", PopMatters, April 15, 2009, retrieved 2010-04-12
  17., [4] Retrieved on November, 2008
  19. Daniels, Matt (2014), [ The Largest Vocabulary in Hip Hop]
  20. Wigney, Allan "CunninLynguists serve up southern rap", Canadian Online Explorer, retrieved 2010-04-13
  21., [5] Retrieved on March 27, 2006
  22. 22.0 22.1 22.2, [6] Retrieved on November, 2007
  23. 23.0 23.1 23.2, [7] Retrieved on November, 2008
  24. Michael, John (2008) "Cunninlynguists - Extraordinary Gentlemen",, January 1, 2008, retrieved 2010-04-12

External links

  • Official website
  • CunninLynguists at MySpace
This page was last modified 19.05.2014 01:48:51

This article uses material from the article CunninLynguists from the free encyclopedia Wikipedia and it is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License.