psycho les and jeru the damaja pose as the funky pandas
Photo: Kickstarter

Psycho Les and Jeru the Damaja Form Funky Pandas Duo

If fun is what you seek, fun(k) is what you’ll get.

Hip hop luminaries Jeru the Damaja and Psycho Les have joined forces to form the rap duo Funky Pandas, which will release its debut album, Certified Bamboo, later this year. Damaja, also known as Black Panda, and Les—Dr. Love Panda—made the announcement via a Kickstarter project, “Certified Bamboo: An Album and Film by the Funky Pandas,” with the stated goal of raising $50,000 to help them create and release the album.

“We set out to create an album that represents who we are now as opposed to who we were when we first started out,” reads the project’s mission statement. “Traveling around the world for so many years changes your perception. You look at things from different angles. You realize although the world is a serious place, you don’t have to take yourself so seriously.”

In the trailer above, both Funky Pandas can be seen walking through the street kicking rhymes, with hilarious bars like, “Once again I’m late for work/ But I don’t really care because my boss is a jerk/ Peter got fired ‘cause he likes to flirt/ And Paul got a baby ‘cause he love to squirt.”

Jeru the Damaja’s debut album The Sun Rises in the East—featuring the DJ Premier–produced classic “Come Clean”—is widely regarded as an essential building block of ’90s rap. He last released a project, The Hammer EP, in 2007, and has a collaborative project with Large Professor planned. Psycho Les enjoyed a great run as half of the Beatnuts, and one of only two Latino members of the Native Tongues hip hop collective. Both rappers are known well for their thorough artistry, though it’s important to note the diversity of their catalogs.

That said, Funky Pandas Jeru and Les, still at it, want to take the fun to another level. “When you learn to laugh at yourself you are able to accept other people and their differences, you realize that as different as we all are we are more alike than different.”

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