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Landing in the lesser-traveled intersection of rap and indie rock, Why? began as a solo moniker for rapper/songwriter Yoni Wolf but soon grew into a full band. Under Wolf's guidance, Why? crafted heady, literary albums that returned to themes of family, mortality, and neurotic responses to everyday life. The band reached a new level of critical acclaim and fan support with their much-lauded 2008 master stroke Alopecia. Bay Area rapper Yoni Wolf began performing as Why? sometime in the late '90s. A highly collaborative artist, Wolf was involved with the scene that would give birth to the Anticon label, and he was involved with Hymie's Basement, Clouddead, and other projects while he was beginning to work as Why? After releasing 1999's Part Time People Cage... or Part Time Key? and 2003's Oaklandazulasylum, he enlisted older brother Josiah Wolf, Doug McDiarmid, and Matt Meldon (all playing multiple instruments) and transitioned Why? from a solo project to a full band in 2004. The first full-length release from the band came with 2005's Elephant Eyelash, a hip-hop record heavy on melody, synthesizers, and jangly guitars. The band toured and recorded constantly in this time, releasing EPs and singles between proper albums and staying on the road for months at a time. In 2008, the band's second full-band album, Alopecia, arrived and became Why?'s first to hit the Billboard Heatseekers Albums chart. Featuring Mark Erickson along with Fog's Andrew Broder, Eskimo Snow arrived in 2009 and also landed on the independent albums chart. The title for their next effort, 2012's Mumps, Etc., was inspired by contracting the disease while in Europe, along with other "on tour" calamities. In 2013, the conceptual Golden Tickets EP materialized; the seven-song collection of personalized tracks was crafted by Wolf for seven individual Why? fans he'd Internet-stalked over the course of several months. For the group's fifth studio album, Why? moved to Joyful Noise, which had released the 2016 debut of Wolf's duo with rapper Serengeti, Yoni & Geti. Co-produced by Wolf and his brother Josiah, a frequent music collaborator, Moh Lhean was released in 2017. It was the first fully home-recorded Why? LP since the project's debut. Now stationed in Cincinnati, Ohio, Wolf regrouped quickly for their sixth album, 2019's AOKOHIO. The album was a deeply nostalgic statement, collecting short songs into six larger movements. The band embarked on tour in support of AOKOHIO and also tours where they'd play Alopecia front to back.
© Marcy Donelson & David Jeffries /TiVo


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